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Should You Go To College To Be Successful?

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should you go to college to be successful

Should you go to college to be successful?  Should you invest the time and money to pursue a college education?  Do you need to follow the academic path in order to start a business?

Many people are starting to question whether college is really worth the money or time.  It is important to understand that college can be a great path, depending on what it is that you want from your life.  That is your starting point.  

Ask yourself, “What do you want for your career and your life?”  Depending on your long-term goals, there are different paths that you can take in order to get there.   

The question I am asked a lot is, “If you want to be an entrepreneur, should you go to college?”  My personal belief is, no.

Keep in mind that entrepreneurship is not an easy path to take.  Success requires hard work and persistence, over the long-term.  The legendary entrepreneur and motivational speaker Jim Rohn said it best: “Your level of success will rarely exceed your level of personal development”.  

According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs who start businesses fail within the first 18 months.  One of the many reasons why this happens is because they fail to invest in themselves, through training programs, seminars, books, mentors, coaches, etc.  

Today, more than ever, technology and the Internet continue to change every aspect of how we live, learn and work. Entrepreneurship requires that you are always open to learning new things and enriching yourself, in order to keep up with the fast-changing trends.  Find and seek out the people that have the results that you strive for and learn from them.

No matter what path you decide to take, make sure that you are doing it for YOU.  If you are struggling with making this decision, sit back and ask yourself, “Who has set down the expectations for your life?  Is it society?  Your parents?  Your teachers?  

The choice to forge your own path to success is not always understood by others; use that misunderstanding as fuel in order to motivate yourself to prove them wrong, because when you follow your passion and forge your own path, you become an inspiration for others.

After reading this, if you are still wondering whether you should go to college to be successful, ask yourself, “What is the most efficient and cost-effective way to live the life that you desire?  Before you can answer that question, you have to have the courage to believe in yourself and your vision.  

In the words of David Henry Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams and live the life that you have always imagined”.

Watch the video below:

(Click here to watch on YouTube)

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Video transcript

All right, guys. You’ve made a lot of questions lately about college and university. Should you go to school? Should you invest the time, the money? Get in student loan debt to pursue an education? Should you take the academic path to pursuing a career or starting a business or whatever it is that you want for your life?

I’m going to share with you guys my thoughts on college and university in this video. I know there’s a lot of guys that follow me that are at that stage of your life where you’re trying to find out what you want to do. Maybe you’re a little bit lost. Maybe you have some uncertainty.

Maybe you haven’t yet found your passion, your mission, your purpose in life. Maybe you feel peer pressure from society and your friends and family. Everyone else is going to school and telling, “You got to go to school as well.

You got to get an education” and you feel like you’re left behind, and you have pressure on yourself because you don’t want to be left behind and you want to do something with your life. Listen, guys, I totally get it, okay? I’ve been there before myself. I’m going to share with you guys my thoughts. What actually sparked this conversation is a message that I got here on Snapchat.

I’m going to read the question that I got from someone. By the way, if you guys yet aren’t following me on Snapchat, my username is @stefanjames1. Will be a link in the description, but make sure you follow me for a lot more content. The question is, “Hey, Stefan. I’m a huge fan of you and the free content that you put out help me grow tremendously. I have a question for you.

I am not currently going to college. I want to be an online entrepreneur. Do I need a college education to be successful in it? My family and friends keep telling me that I’m dumb for not going to college. I feel, though, I don’t need a college education to pursue my dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Please help me understand my situation. Thanks a bunch.”

All right. Great question. I’m going to share my thoughts. First of all, I got nothing against college or university. I think it’s great depending on what it is that you want for your life. That’s the first place you got to start. You got to get crystal clear on what it is that you want.

You’ve got to define a goal, a vision

You’ve got to have a vision 5 years, 10 years, 20, 30 years from now for the life that you want, not just with the career, but also the lifestyle. What kind of lifestyle do you want to have one day? Do you want to be successful? Do you want to be financially a millionaire or a billionaire? Do you want to be able to travel the world or do you want to be able to have freedom in your life?

Because depending on your goal, there’s different paths and different vehicles that you can take to get there and some paths aren’t going to lead you to where you want to go. If you want to be a multimillionaire, a lot of cases, getting a job and getting a traditional education, that’s not going to lead to being a multimillionaire.

If you want to have a certain lifestyle where you’re making passive income and maybe you’re traveling the world and everything and escaping a 9:00 to 5:00 or whatever, then again, a job or a traditional education might not be the best path to get you there.

On the other hand, if you want to be a doctor, if you want to be a lawyer, if you want to be a dentist, an engineer, a school teacher, then yeah, you’ve got to get an education, you’ve got to go to school, you got to go down that academic path. You’re going to have to get your degree, you’re going to have to get the certificate or the license or whatever it is that you need to be a practitioner. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Again, it totally depends on what it is that you want. I’m a big fan of really getting clear on what it is that you want. If you don’t know what you want, man, if you don’t have a destination, that’s like getting in a car not even knowing where you’re going. You’re just going to drive around in circles and you’re going to get lost.

A lot of people, I can’t tell you how many people, they go to school, they get an education not even knowing what they want to do. They’re wasting time and money. I’ve got so many friends now, they’re an accountant and they have the education for that or they’re an engineer, they went to school for that and what they’re doing today as a career is not even relevant to what they went to school for.

Here they come out of school and they just went to school because everyone else is doing it, their family, their friends. They felt this pressure that they got to do something. They come out of it and they’re 30 thousand dollars, 50 thousand, 100 thousand dollars in debt and it’s pretty much obsolete because they totally changed their mind on what they want to do with their life.

I’m not a fan of that, man. I’m not a fan of wasting time or wasting money. Yes, there is value in everything. There’s still value in going to school. You learn a lot about discipline. You learn how to study and how to prepare for a test and how to read textbooks and understand things and memorize stuff.

You get some social elements where you’re going to be around friends and people, and meet people. There’s definitely value in that, okay? I’m not taking anything away from that, but I’d much rather recommend for someone to take their time. Don’t put that pressure on yourself because of society and everyone else.

Make sure that whatever it is that you decide, whatever path that you take you’re doing it for you. You’re not doing it for your parents or your friends or society and everyone else thinks that you got to do this and you got to do that, because then you’re going to go down this path and because you didn’t believe in yourself and have confidence in yourself and you’re just following someone else and what their plan is for your life, you’re going to get there, you’re going to be unfulfilled.

You’re going to be unhappy. Man, it doesn’t matter how much money you have, it doesn’t matter what your job is, but if you’re unhappy, if you’re unfulfilled, then you’re a failure.

Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure

You want to make sure you pursue a path that is right for you. I remember for myself, I grew up working in the family business. My dad always made my brother and my sister and myself work in the family business. I did this when I was 10 years old, man, going to work in the evenings and the weekends and in my summer breaks and all that sort of stuff, and I hated it. My dad had this dream for myself and my brother to take over the family business.

In his mind, he was preparing us. He was training us, he was guiding us. He took us under his wing to help us learn about business and to learn about the family business and stuff and to create discipline. He believed he was doing good for us. His whole dream was for us to one day take over the family business. I know for myself yeah, I would have made a lot of money doing it that way.

Financially it would have been good, but I just knew that I wouldn’t be happy. When I was 21 years old I decided, “You know what? I’m going to quit the family business. I’m going to pursue my own path. I’m going to start my own business. I’m going to pursue my passion in life. I’m going to pursue my mission” because I believed in myself.

I believed in my vision. I believed that I was capable of more. There was more waiting for me in my life. I’ll tell you what, guys. My dad wasn’t happy. My family wasn’t happy. That was his dream. He was crushed and it really hurt our relationship at different moments.

Everyone in my life, all my family, my friends, they all thought I was stupid. Why would I give up this incredible opportunity for success, my path paved for me? I got criticism for it, but it didn’t matter to me because, again, you believed in myself. I believed in my purpose. I believed in what I was doing and I went against that.

Follow your bliss

Sure enough, man, when you achieve success, you follow your bliss, you follow that passion in your life, you achieve the results, nobody can question that. Nobody can question your decisions and sure enough, people respect you in a totally different way because now you become an inspiration to others because you took the path less traveled.

You went against society and what society believes is the way and you forged your own path and you did what very few people are capable of doing. You did what many of the failures would never dare to do because they’d much rather pursue the path of certainty. They’d much rather pursue the path of comfort.

They’d much rather be a follower in their life instead of a leader. Everybody that you see who’s massively successful, worth millions of dollars or billionaires, many of them went against the grain. Many of them had critics and people in their life that said that they’re making a mistake.

Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook, dropped out of Harvard. Thomas Edison, dumb-ass his entire life, got fired from every job that he ever had. Everybody thought that he was stupid, he was done. Everybody wrote him off. The teachers said that he was slow and that he’s holding back everyone else in school, everyone in the class, but this guy, he just believed in himself.

He believed in his vision and he kept at it and boom, the guy invented the light bulb and electricity. He was one of the most famous inventors of our time. If you look at Elon Musk, if you look at Richard Branson, he was dyslexic.

You look at Steve Jobs, you look at Bill Gates, plenty of examples of people who have achieved massive success because they didn’t listen to everybody else. They went against society and that comes down to having belief in that vision, in that mission. You got to know what it is that you want.

I’m a fan of taking your time, man. There’s no rush, there’s no pressure. When I graduated from high school I took my time. I tried different things. I traveled a little bit. I tried different jobs. At one point I worked at a car dealership and I tried some sales. I remember I wanted to pursue real estate at one point and be a realtor.

Then I remember at one point I went to Kwantlen University here, Kwantlen in Vancouver. I took the introduction of marketing in the evening class. I remember going to this class, man, and I was learning a little bit about business and marketing and then halfway through the class, I dropped out. Decided it wasn’t for me. Failed the class. Wasted my time. Wasted my money.

I was going to this class and I’m, “I’m learning marketing and business from someone that’s never even run a business and it’s never even started a business before.” It just didn’t make sense to me and so I went my own path.

Learn from successful people

I decided, “You know what? I’m going to learn from people that are more successful. I’m going to learn from people that have the results that I’m after. I’m going to learn from people that have been in trenches. I’m going to read the books of Richard Branson. I’m going to read the books of Elon Musk. I’m going to read the books of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart.

I’m going to read the books of Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. I’m going to read the books of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. I’m going to learn from people that have the success, that is giving me the real world advice on business and marketing. I’m going to the seminars and hire mentors and coaches.” Man, I’ve invested just as much as anyone that’s been to college or university, if not more, but I just decided to take a different path.

If you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, etc., yes, you got to take the academic path. If you want to be an entrepreneur, should you go to school, should you go to university? My personal belief is no. It totally depends. I know there are business programs, I know there are marketing programs.

You can learn Internet marketing and stuff and take different classes and whatnot, but again, you’ve got to ask yourself, are you learning from someone that has the success and the results that you want in your life? That has the lifestyle that you want? Is what you’re learning going to actually be applicable in the real world?

Can’t tell you how many people I know, they have all the theory. They got all the textbook knowledge. They know how to create a business plan and all this sort of stuff. They have no idea how to actually implement it. They have no idea actually how to run a business.

If I had 10 thousand dollars to invest and you ask me, “Should I go to school, invest that in an education?” or should you take that 10 grand and maybe invest in a training program or maybe learn how to sell on Amazon or learn how to private label or market online or search engine optimization or publishing online or whatever it is, I’d much rather take that 10K and invest part of it into a course or training program or a mentor or a coach or a seminar and then take the additional money and use that to actually start my business.

Use some of those expenses to market and create my product or whatever it is to run the operations. Maybe to hire someone that can help me get started. You’re going to learn so much more, man, just by going for it cold turkey, going through the trenches, the trials and errors, the tribulations, going through the failure, the ups, and downs than you ever will from a classroom or a textbook or a book. I can promise you guys that.

That’s almost like, “I’m going to learn how to play basketball, so I’m going to go to school for 3 years and at the end of the 3 years I’m going to know all the theory about how to play basketball and how to shoot the ball. Then I’m going to get my certificate and my degree, and then I’m going to go play the game.” It’s ridiculous. You’re going to learn so much more by getting on the court.

You’re going to learn so much more just through the trial and error and actually going for it. That’s just my opinion. That’s the path that I took. Man, I don’t even know how to create a business plan. I don’t even know a lot of this business stuff that you’re going to learn in school, but it doesn’t matter, man. I’ve built a 7-figure business. I’ve achieved a lot of success.

I know things, I have the discipline, I have the qualities, the mindset, the psychology that most people that go through 5, 10 years of schooling don’t even have anything close from. Looking at the path that you want to take, the results that you want, the lifestyle that you want. Whether you want to make money online, whether you want to travel the world.

The world has changed

You got to understand that. A lot of your friends, the society, your parents, they have the old school mentality. They haven’t adapted to how the world has changed. There are jobs and opportunities that exist today that never existed before, 10 or 20 from now. When your parents went to school, that was the way, man.

That was the path. I totally get that, but now the Internet has come along. The Internet, the way that we learn has changed. We have access to information. We have access to training programs or seminars. There are books and resources of people that are successful that are sharing their strategies, their step-by-step plan that you can model and learn from.

That never before existed 20 years from now when your parents were … 40 or 50 years, when your parents or your grandparents were your age. The world has changed. There are more and more opportunities. A lot of these jobs, they’re going to be obsolete. Technology is changing the world. When you become an entrepreneur, you learn skills and qualities that make your financial success, your future in your hands.

You can create anything that you want just with an idea. You can take an idea, turn into a reality. You’re not dependent on a boss having to tell you what to do. You’re not limited by your education. You have to always be evolving and learning and in bettering and improving yourself to be successful with anything that you want in your life. My man, the question is, do you have to go to school? The answer is no.

Do they have the result and success that I want?

The question is or the challenge is, is the pressure that you feel, your friends and family telling you that you’re stupid, society telling you that you got to do this and that, always ask yourself, do they have the result that I want? Do they have the success that I want? Why would you listen to society? Most of the society, man, 99% of people in the world are broken, struggling in their life.

99% of people in the world are in debt. 99% of people in the world are at a job that they hate. They’re not happy, they’re not fulfilled. 1 in 2 marriages ends in divorce. 1 in 3 people dies from cancer. 1 in 2 people dies from heart disease. Most people are depressed. Most people are on medication in their life, some sort of prescription drug.

99% of people, man. Why would you listen to 99%? Not unless you want to be one of them, but if you want to be in the 1%, you got to do things differently. You got to go against what everyone else says. You got to learn from the people that are doing it, the people that are in that 1%. I only learned from people that are more successful than myself, people that have the results that I want.

I find and seek out this people, and I learn from them. It’s like, would you take advice from someone who’s overweight and try to give you health and fitness advice even if they have a certificate? No, because they don’t have any credibility. They’re not congruent with the advice that they’re giving you because they haven’t done it themselves.

You can’t learn business and marketing from a professor or a textbook, when that person’s never even started a business, run a business, operate a business, never had any success in their life? If they did have success, then they probably wouldn’t be a professor at a university. Now, I’m making a generalization. That’s not all professors, but most of them, yeah. My man, hopefully, I shared with you, my thoughts. Again, I got nothing against it.

It’s just, what’s the fastest path that’s going to get you to where you want to go? What’s the most efficient, cost efficient way to achieving the result, living the life that you want? You’re going to have the courage to believe in yourself and believe in your vision. Hopefully, this question has been able to help you in your life. Hopefully, it gives you more clarity in your life. I love to hear what you think. Leave a comment below. That’s it for this video, guys. Thanks for watching and I’ll talk to you guys again soon. Take care.

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Should You Go To College To Be Successful?
4.86 (97.14%) 7 votes
  • Kenneth Dean Melendez

    This is one of my favorite videos. I went to school and got a degree in Exercise Science and Sports Management. I used it to become a trainer at a couple different gyms until I realized…I was unfulfilled. I knew deep down I was capable of achieving more. Building an online business is something that I have true passion for and I KNOW it will bring me and many others freedom. Thank you Stefan for continuing to pump out your value-packed content. I am looking forward to seeing your new course this week.

    • Awesome Ken, glad you could relate. Super happy to hear this.

  • Nice post man!

    This reminds me of James Altucher’s ‘I was blind but now I can see’. In this book he talks a lot about why you should rethink college (and much else). He’s also got some great articles on that on his blog.