In 2013, the year after my matriculation, I gained access to a book that would change my life forever. I recently came across a post on Facebook that asked ‘which book was it that you read that you believed changed the course of your life forever?’ and I instantly thought of this book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, by Robert Kiyosaki. You may be well familiar with this read, and if you aren’t getting your hands on a copy ASAP. It is actually one of the books that I have read that I will never say is overrated. It has lifelong lessons and information that we could all resonate with, especially if were born into a lower, middle, and missing middle-class household. It teaches us the fundamental differences between a household where there is a spirit of winning, becoming rich, and gaining generations and generations of wealth. It also highlights how the rich continue to be rich if not richer and why the poor stay losing.
It was just after high school when my friends were jetting off to university where they would religiously study into a course that would pave the path for the rest of their lives. I was very confused, and maybe a part of me can say that I didn’t spend too much time thinking about which course it was that I wanted my life to go. Not only did I have an idea once I read this but I knew that I certainly wanted to be rich, like not just rich but “rich rich” and this was something I definitely wanted to pass down to my children and grandchildren, that kind of mentality. Not the mentality to be rich, but rich dad’s mindset. I became aware of the fact that what separates the rich from the poor is simply the way we perceive situations. Rich dad sees an opportunity in everything even if it may be considered as disastrous to some, rich dad always looked at a life filled with endless possibilities and poor dad was the opposite. When poor dad sees a situation that is extremely unplanned for and seems impossible to overcome, poor dad saw a dead end.
The best advice I got from this book is learning how to mind my own business. No, it’s not as it sounds. Most of us who have entered the working world, where we have to fight on a daily to make ends meet, are caught in that 8 to 5 job. Not everybody hates this by the way, but they do encourage us to want more from life. There is absolutely no shame in wanting more than what life has giving you, but you have to go and claim what you want to be yours, hence the concept of minding your own business. If you do find yourself working at that 8 to 5 job, be grateful for it of course, but also create time to work on your own, just like they have you working on their own right? The idea is to take what you are learning at work and apply it towards your business idea and concept. For an example, if you work in IT or are a marketing coordinator at any respectable company, what you learn from and do for your boss is exactly what you apply and do for your craft. Mind your own business. Get home from work every day, take some time to enjoy with your family, unwind, relax, take that night shower, and work on your baby.
Robert Kiyosaki talks about the Rat Race. The rat race is the idea that your whole life has been narrated to you and what you have been taught is basically a trap within a very vicious cycle. Go to school, they said, you better get the best grades, go to university, graduate at the top of your class, find a good-paying job, that comes with benefits, work hard, they said, get that promotion, etc. you get the idea, this is the cycle that keeps you in a position of constantly serving others and doing right by others just so you can survive. A key aspect of all of this is the idea of working smart and not hard. Not that you shouldn’t push as hard you can for your dreams but if you get people to do that for you, all you have to worry about is working smart, like thinking of creative solutions or strategies in which you can outcompete your competitors, but those are rich dad problems. But the first step to getting out of this cycle, and refraining from becoming a John Smith for the rest of your life is by Minding Your Own Business until you are strong and have enough ground to believe that you can stand on your own. It is actually just a safe and smart way to get the ball rolling for your journey towards becoming a successful somebody one day.
So that brainstorming meeting you had at work today, play around a bit more with it and see how you could apply it and other creative ideas towards your own business. The marketing strategy that your supervisor approved, test it on your brand. Play around by asking questions that are also related to your brand that somebody of better and longer experience can share with you, whatever you do work on and mind your own goddamn business!
Most things in our lives are based on traditional values and systems or modus of operandi. The same can be said about our conventional ways of attaining recognizable degrees from prestigious and well-acknowledged institutions of higher or tertiary education. In the same breath, it can be said that the world is also shifting towards the unconventional. With the digital space simply booming, a lot of what was undermined in the past is gaining traction and value more so than ever before. The exposure to this phenomenon was revealed by a lot of what happened during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s not to say that access to educational material was nonexistent prior to this, but it kind of hit like a revelation, that people could actually work and study at home. To some, it may not be the ideal way to pursue their work and studies but for most, it is not only a matter of convenience but a lifestyle that can fit into some people’s lives.
For students who had already committed to self-study programmes, like those from the University of South Africa, this is just a walk in the park. But I guess the majority of students have had to learn the discipline that comes with such a practice. This has also been an opportunity for more people to take the time off and admit and apply themselves to learning opportunities that are available for all want to be students all over the world. We all face different and demanding circumstances in our lives. You may find that attending school at a physical institution was just not part of your life plan, maybe due to financial constraint, but attaining an education, of any kind, was always an achievement you sort after. Hence, taking up online courses may be exactly what could work in our favour to bag recognizable degree knowledge even if for no degree purposes.
Udemy has easily become a favourite, with over 100 000 courses to choose from, and with over 50 million students, and 57 000 instructors across the globe teaching courses in over 65 languages, there is actually no excuse as to why you are not fulfilling your educational desires. Get with the times, it’s honestly okay if you don’t find the load leading your life to traditional institutions, the question is what do you do with that and what are the means are you taking to empower yourself. It is true when they reiterate the term that students never stop learning, not because you are required to finish that Ph.D. to be recognizable human in society, but because there are increasing channels to pursue growth and education. Yes, a Ph.D. is honorary, but so are other milestones in your educational career. The only requirements for winning with online courses is the amount needed to sign yourself up for these courses, which are usually at a reasonable cost, a secure internet connection, and dedication. What’s even great is how quickly you can get through the course work and the material at hand. It should be noted that even when attending university, many students find that watching the recorded lecture, with the lecture’s material is a preferred way of studying, especially for students who have other commitments such as family or even work.
Here are some of the recommended online ‘schools’ that you can sign yourself up for, some are even free of charge:
1. Udemy – as mentioned this is a favorite that is aimed at professional adults and students. With tons of courses to choose from, with lecture videos, study material, quizzes, and more, it gives you the nearest experience to the real-life school experience. In the 10 years that Udemy has been operating, there has been a recorded 295 million course enrollments.
2. LinkedIn Learning –also targets professional adults and students who are looking to upskill. They offer online training courses for creative, technology, and business skills. These are fundamental skills that could really set you apart from the rest, as the world currently holds more opportunities for people who possess these skills.
3. Udacity – offers Nano degree programmes aimed at advancing one’s career with online courses in programming, data science, artificial intelligence, digital marketing, and more. This school is a for-profit educational organization with about 200 free courses.
4. Google – holds a variety of learning programmes and online courses that are highly acknowledged outside of the digital space. Some of the best and free Google courses &certificates for 2020 include Coursera, Google Digital Garage, Google Developers Training, and Google Analytics Academy Courses. These programmes include tutorials, training, class, and certificates.
5. Online School – if you are seriously bent on the idea of receiving a certificate from a prestigious university in or outside of your country, you may want to check out the courses that they offer online for students all over the world. Most institutions including Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge University, and the likes offer a range of certificates for their online courses and can be attended from anywhere.
The classroom idea is great for those of us who prefer traditional ways of attaining an education, however, there are now more opportunities than ever to gain an education just as significant as traditional degrees online. Whichever you choose, there are no longer that many excuses to give for your lack in anything really.