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Financial, Relationship and Spiritual Growth. Personal Development. Leadership.


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survival… Stability. Success! SIGNIFICANCE

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Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, part 3

Let me ask you a question. “How are you doing?” I await your normal, conditioned response.

Now, let me lean in uncomfortably close and lower my voice an octave and ask you again in a conspiratorial tone “How are you really doing?” Instead of just answering “fine, ok, not bad” I want you to place yourself into one of four categories.

Survival
Stability
Success
Significance

Now let me ask you again. How are your finances? How is your marriage? How is your health? How is your spiritual journey? How is your daily pursuit of joy and happiness?

survivalMaybe you feel like you are in Survival mode – fighting every day just to keep living. Either you claw, scratch and fight to escape from that condition or you’ve given up to despair and lost all hope. Nobody wants to stay in Survival mode. It’s unacceptable to the individual and unacceptable to society.

I think like most people, you’ll find yourself in Stability mode in most areas of life. That’s how we end up with the “fine, ok, not bad” answer. The vast majority of people in industrialized countries live in a state of Stability. Because that is the lowest acceptable level not just for yourself but for society. The trap though, is that once your life is in a state of Stability, there is no pressing need to keep fighting to climb higher. Only a small percentage of people take advantage of stabletheir blessings, their skills, their opportunities to move from Stability to Success. These are the go-getters, the achievers. And unfortunately they are rare. Even rarer still are those that seek to move into the level of Significance.

Most people do not seek out success principles to apply to their life because their lives are Stable. They are comfortable. They will not take any action to improve their life until after they are hit by some adversity that threatens to drop them back to Survival mode.

They begin digging their well once they see the drought is imminent.

And then their comfortable, complacent lives are disrupted. It’s like they suddenly forget that life goes through cycles; through good times, through bad; for better or for worse. And for those that spend their lives comfortably parked in Stability mode, downward pressure from circumstances – a low cycle – forces them into Survival mode. And humans are at their ugliest and most desperate when they are forced to fight to survive.

It’s like depriving someone of oxygen. We do not concern ourselves from day to day with whether or not we have enough air to breathe. If I hold your head under water, it might seem amusing for a few seconds. If you trust me, you may wait until 30 seconds pass before trying to push my hand away from your head. After 45 seconds you will begin panicking and struggling. After 60 seconds you will thrash wildly and be unable to think of anything except for breathing. After 90 seconds you will do anything humanly possible just to be able to breathe. You will kick, gouge my eyes, even take my life just to get some oxygen.

Humans are at their ugliest and most desperate when they are focused only on survival.

So for those of you who are “fine, ok, not bad,” I’m going to tell you a few things that nobody has ever told you before.

Staying in Stability mode is short-sighted. When the drought comes, those people that have spent their whole lives maintaining a stable lifestyle are the least equipped to claw their way out of the pit. Successful people bounce back quicker and Significant people help pull others less fortunate out of those pits.

Staying in Stability mode is selfish. If one day you are not thirsty, you know someone that will be. If you are just in Stability mode, you have just enough water for your own family. Stable people rarely can or will be able to help those struggling to survive. When you become a Success, the overflow from your bucket provides water for everyone around you. If you are a person of Significance, you have multiple wells that many people draw from.

successThat success overflows to others is obvious with financial prosperity but not limited to it. If you have a strong marriage, you are better able to help a friend that is struggling in his own marriage. If your marriage is only Stable you have less capacity to help. Usually the only thing you can offer is sympathy. If you have strong faith, you have a greater capacity to minister to someone that is going through their own crisis of faith. If you have a strong, positive attitude you are better equipped to bolster someone else that is depressed.

Or you can get by. Concern yourself with your own stability. Be “fine, ok, not bad.”

I end all my books with the same sentence. Be blessed in all things. By being blessed you can also be a blessing to others. When your needs are fulfilled and you have no worries about being able to continue to fulfill them, you can focus on the needs of others.

That’s my goal. To encourage you to move out of a place of Stability. To goad you towards Success and Significance. To force you to address the questions “why should I do anything different?” “why should I try to be a success?” “why shouldn’t I be content to be average?”

Because there is a drought coming.

There are two primary motivating forces in the world. Some people are motivated by positive and some by negative. The carrot or the stick. The dream or the nightmare. Most authors of motivational books focus on positive thoughts and statements to encourage you to chase your dreams. I am here telling you that there is a nightmare coming. I want to instill a sense of urgency into your life to compel you to action.

So, let me ask you again. “How are you doing?”

And if your answer is, “I could or should be doing better,” then let’s explore how we can do better.

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Top Lame Excuses For Not Being An Entrepreneur

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As promised last week, I’d like to address the main objections that people hide behind for not going into business for themselves.

It’s Too Risky
Perhaps you weren’t paying attention to my previous post (found here), but employment is far more risky. According to the U.S. Social Security Administration, of all adults reaching the age of 65:

  • 45% are dependent on relatives
  • 30% are dependent on charity
  • 23% are still working

98% of Americans reaching retirement age are unable to retire with any sort of financial independence. (Coincidentally, 100% of those people did not think that this would happen to them).

When harping about the risk of starting a small business, many people like to cite the statistic that 80% of small businesses fail within five years (and 50% of those fail in the first year). Frankly, I’d rather take the “risk” of business ownership. Worst case scenario is you lose all your starting capital and declare bankruptcy in one year. You have plenty of time to start over, rebuild, armed with some wisdom and experience this time. My other option is to work for 40 or 50 years and then go bankrupt as a tired old man.

I Don’t Know How

You know, most doctors didn’t know how to practice medicine when they were toddlers. If you lack knowledge: Learn. I spend a lot of time ragging on the public school system in this country. As far as I’m concerned, public school should last two years and have only one purpose: to teach our citizenry how to read. And statistically, they are abysmal failures at even this in the inner cities.

Once a person has the ability to read, they have the ability to learn anything they want to learn. Period. If kids are forced by law to sit in desks for thirteen years and learn something they have no interest in, then it is no longer “school.” It is daycare for good kids and kiddie jail for bad kids.

If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, perhaps in some field that I asked you to brainstorm about last week, begin researching. The internet has googles of free information. Books and magazines are easy to find and cheap. When you have begun arming yourself with some knowledge, enough to discern valid information from snake oil hucksters, you can actually enroll in classes, hire specialists, get yourself some quality specialized knowledge.

Anything that you want to learn, you can learn in this day and age.

I Don’t Have The Money

It takes less money to launch and operate a business today than at any other time in history. With the internet you have greater access to research and more marketing power than IBM ever had when they hit their first billion dollars in sales. A viral Tweet or Facebook post is worth more in advertising dollars than virtually any amount of print ads. With parcel delivery services you can distribute products to a near-global market without having to buy a fleet of planes, trains and automobiles.

Remember John Sestina’s advice from my column last week?

  • If you make less than $75,000 a year you should start a business because you need the income. If you make more than $75,000 a year you should start a business because you could use the tax benefits.

If you start a business out of your home, then a portion of your rent or mortgage becomes tax-deductible. The cost of travel and entertainment while traveling can be deducted from your taxes if you travel for business (and let’s face it, if you’re traveling somewhere, you can figure out some business to do while you’re there). So does your car, your cell phone, your internet service. The income tax laws are designed to provide incentives for people to start businesses. Your best way to pay less in taxes with a job is to earn less money.

I Don’t Have The Time

We will make the time for what is important to us. Most people could have had their business plan completely developed and ready to launch if they had spent one less hour watching television every night of the past year and invested that time into their future. I don’t want to spend a lot of time expounding on this point, because I may have written a book on this subject already called It Takes 15 Minutes to Change Your Life.

In Summary

Employment is a far more risky scheme than entrepreneurship. (Click to tweet)

You may have never thought about going into business for yourself; being an entrepreneur. You may have thought of all sorts of good reasons why you can’t do it. That’s why I wanted to dissect and decimate all these reasons and expose them as excuses.

The best definition I’ve heard of for an excuse is: an excuse is the skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.

Ultimately even if I can prove to you logically that it is better for you, your family, and your future family to be an entrepreneur rather than an employee, it doesn’t matter what your excuse is. “Any excuse will work. An excuse can be illogical, irrational, inane, insane, insipid, indistinct or even indigo; but it will still work if you let it.”

Stop looking for reasons why it can’t be done, start looking for reasons why it can.
Stop listening to the 98% that say it can’t be done, start listening to the 2% that have done it.
Stop coming up with excuses, start analyzing the lie that is stuffed into it.

 


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If You Want Some Respect, Read Paragraph 9

ImageYou can tell a lot about a person by where they choose to spend their time and treasure. That’s why it’s hard for me to get a handle on people with jobs. The majority of their time is spent in a place not of their choosing: at work. And most people in this country are living paycheck to paycheck so they don’t have enough spare cash to put their money where their heart is.

My last few posts I’ve been railing against jobs. It’s not that I think jobs are completely bad (full disclosure: I still have a job), but a job is an antequated system of earning that is not good for employers, employees or the economy in general. (see my last post).

The reason this is fresh on my mind and the subject of so many posts is because I’m refocusing my efforts on my entrepreneurial roots: teaching and training small business owners.

A gentleman by the name of John Sestina, who years ago was voted the #1 Financial Planner in America made this statement back in the 1980’s:

  • If you earn less than $75,000 a year at your job, you should own a second business because you need the extra income. (adjusted for inflation, that would probably be closer to $150,000). And, if you earn more than $75,000 a year at your job, you should own a second business because you could use the tax breaks.

So, by my reasoning, you are only exempt from starting a business of your own if you make exactly $150,000 a year at your job.

If you’ve never thought about owning your own business, then for crying out loud: Think. Think now. Think hard. Think about the possibilities. First of all, you could have a cool boss for the first time in your life. You can be a producer for the economy rather than a cog in someone else’s well-oiled machine. You can be paid for your productivity rather than your presence. You can spend your hours generating an income-producing asset rather than just trading hours of your life for dollars. You can earn income based on how much service you provide to the world rather than how long you ride a desk. And if you decide you’ve had enough and no longer want to run a business you can either hire someone to manage it or just sell it.

The income tax system in our country is designed to help and promote business owners not employees. Our country’s economic system is based on the idea of business ownership not benefits. Yet, most of our children are never taught anything about entrepreneurship and most teachers only talk about the free-enterprise system as something that is evil.

According to a focus group by Frank Luntz, a “small business owner” is the second-highest-respected vocation in this country, after a “member of the armed forces.”

Rather than getting another job, why don’t you start giving some people jobs?

Prior to the industrial revolution circa 1900, 90% of Americans were either self-employed or in an apprentice position being trained to become self-employed. Today that number has been flipped upside down with less than 10% of Americans owning a business.

I expect that pendulum to swing back in the other direction drastically over the next few decades. We are entering a new age of entrepreneurship. Generation Y is looking for options. They see that the existing job system may have worked for their great-grandparents that they never met, but none of their living ancestors seem able to make it the same way. Want to have fun? Ask any generation X person (of which I am a member) whether they think that life will be better for their children than it was for them. Almost universally, their answer is “NO.” And we were the first generation in this country where the majority of us felt that way.

So rather than just plodding along doing the same thing day after day, do what I implored you to do back in paragraph 7. THINK! Every day for the next week, spend 15 minutes with a paper and pencil, and brainstorm what sort of business you would like to own. Don’t filter your ideas with such nonsense as whether or not you are qualified or capitalized. Just brainstorm. Every day. 15 minutes. Go!

Why should you invest the time into this tiny thought exercise? I’ll ask you directly: Do you think that life will be better for your children than it was for you if they follow in your footsteps?

Next week I’ll address the main reasons why people do not go into business for themselves.


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Your Problem Is You Have a Job

ImageI cringe whenever I hear someone say “You’re lucky you have a job.”

I am not against jobs. I think they are a temporary, necessary evil that you should be involved in for a limited amount of time for you to finance your own business. With very few exceptions, your job is probably responsible for 95% of your problems in life.

Not enough money? Job.
Not enough time? Job.

What other problems do you have?

If you take an inventory of every problem in your life, I would wager that nearly all of them are due to a lack of money or lack of time. If your problem is that you have a shaky relationship with your spouse or kids, I’m guessing you spend more time with your boss than with your family. In other words, your problem is you have a job.

Most jobs work on the basis of exchanging your hours for dollars in reimbursement. This entire model of employment is a losing proposition for everyone involved.

Paying for hours is a bad deal for the boss, because it wastes dollars by paying for non-productive time. If you have been at your job for any length of time, you could probably finish all of your work in two hours. But, since you are required to stay there for eight hours, you slow your pace to fill up your shift or you waste time sending tweets from your office computer. The traditional job model encourages waste

Exchanging hours for dollars is a bad deal for employees, because it consumes your life. Time is an irreplaceable commodity, yet we trade it for money which is always temporary. In fact, most people have already spent their next paycheck and the bank is just waiting for you to pay off your indentured servitude. The traditional job model costs you your life. If someone complains that their job is sucking the life out of them, tell them “Well, yeah, that’s what you signed up for.”

Management and labor have diametrically opposed goals. The goal of employees is to earn the most dollars for the least amount of time. The goal of management, or more accurately, the owner, is to get the most work out of the employees for the least amount of money. The traditional job model has strife built right into the system.

So, if I’ve summarized this accurately, by it’s very nature the standard model of employment is a lose-lose situation that promotes an antagonistic relationship between management and labor.

And yet, that’s the primary method of earning for the masses in this country.

Let’s look at a different model for generating revenue.

Imagine that you hire a contractor to renovate your kitchen. You offer him 50k to complete a home remodel in seven days. If he finishes it in three days, who wins? The customer is happy, because the job is finished sooner than expected. The contractor is happy because he lost less of his life. It is a win-win situation.

Employer-Employee relationship. Lose-Lose.
Owner-Customer. Win-win.

If you want to at least have a chance at being in a win-win situation; if you want to have an opportunity to be paid based on your value not on your seniority; if your job is causing a multitude of your life’s problems; you should go into business for yourself.

The only reason most young people started working at a job in the first place is because no one ever presented them with an option. Entrepreneurship, business ownership, is the foundation of the U.S. economy. I posted last week that 98% of people that reach the age of 65 are unable to support themselves financially. What all those people had in common is that they had a good job that their friends and family members told them they were lucky to have.

It’s way past time that you start looking at a “Plan B.”

There is only room in any one business for one dream. If you are not the owner of that business, then you are working to fulfill someone else’s dream. And you are probably a headache for your boss.

What is holding you back from going into business for yourself?


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Statistically Speaking, Your Life Probably Sucks

ImageLooking at some of the numbers that I’ve collected in my years of research (ahem), it’s easy to state authoritatively that according to our best testing, your life will suck.

If I were to ask you what the greatest day of your life was, many people would point at their wedding day. But according to US statistics, you have anywhere from a 50% to 76% chance of getting a divorce depending on whose study you read.

Perhaps having a child is your greatest day. And having that little person look up to you as the greatest person in the world certainly can brighten your life. But a look at the statistics show that while 95% of children at age 5 say their parents are their heroes, by age 15 that statistic drops to 5%. There is also a 75% chance that their new replacement hero is a drug addict.

Most people lead those lives of quiet desperation that Thoreau talked about. They spend the majority of their waking hours working at a job. Some people call it a career to feel better about it. Here’s some statistics to put that into perspective. The number one killer in this country is heart disease. The most likely time and place you will have a heart attack, is Monday morning at your place of employment. Which makes jobs the number one killer in America.

So we spend the best years of the best hours of our life at a job that is likely to kill us, but it will all be worth it in the end, right? Well according to the Social Security Administration, all Americans that reach the age of 65 have only a 2% chance of being able to support themselves financially.

Depressed yet?

Here’s the good news.

Your success or failure in life is not based on chance. It is based on will. You can determine for yourself whether you will be a statistic or an anomaly. And frankly, all it takes to be an anomaly, a freak, a rebel… is to not follow the masses.

If you don’t want to be a divorcee, then don’t treat your spouse like most people treat their spouse. Don’t treat your wife like your softball buddies treat their “old ladies.” I like to tell people all the time, “You have the spouse that you deserve.” Whether you think that is a compliment or an insult is a pretty good gauge of the health of your marriage.

If you don’t want to die of a heart attack while working at a job you hate, then don’t do what the rest of your beer drinking buddies are doing. Stay out of debt, live below your means, start a business of your own and take advantage of the free enterprise system in this country. “Isn’t starting a business risky?” I hear you cry…

98% chance of being broke at age 65. What exactly are you risking?

Take responsibility for your life. Exercise your own will to direct your life. Do not be a slave to statistics, a product of probability. The only way you will fall onto that wrong side of a percentage range is if you drift with the current and let life push you around. Once you will yourself to stop following the ruts in the road that everyone else is in, to stop agreeing with the masses, to stop blindly following the flocks of sheeple… then the statistics no longer apply to you.

Or you can just go with the flow. And be a divorced, penniless, dead man at the office who never hears from his kids.

What is one thing that you are doing right now, either with your family, your finances or your life, that is different from the average person?


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Success is Based on Luck, Just Ask Any Failure

luckResponsibility is a sign of maturity, and taking responsibility for your actions or inaction is the first essential step towards any sort of growth. As long as we blame our lives on circumstance beyond our control, we are living the life that someone else has designed for us. Once you accept that your life–and everything else in the universe–is a result of cause and effect, you can start initiating the causes that trigger the proper effects.

If you continue to blame other people, other conditions, the alignment of the stars on your problems, you are not only denying yourself the ability to improve your own circumstances, you’re also denying the basic physical laws of cause and effect.

Remember: change, growth, healing, success. All these things are easier if you have the universe on your side instead of working against you.


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Be the 5%, Do the 5%

  • Overall, about 5% of people work in management and 95% work in labor.
  • In the typical church, 5% of the congregation account for nearly 95% of the tithes and volunteer hours.
  • Roughly 5% of Americans are entrepreneurs while 95% are employees.
  • Only 5% of people ever set life goals for themselves (and fewer than that ever write their goals down).
  • Only about 5% of people in the U.S., the most prosperous country in the world, describe themselves as “successful.”

I want to focus on that last point for now, and encourage you to be one of those 5%. The self-proclaimed successful people in life. Decide for yourself, right this moment, “I am going to be one of the 5%.”

The way to do that, is to do the 5%.

“What does that mean?” I hear you cry.

In church this morning the pastor explained the 5% rule:

  • 85% of what you do in your life could be done by anyone.
  • 10% of what you do requires some kind of training or expertise (probably your job stuff)
  • 5% of what you do in your life can only be done by you.

What did he include in that 5% category? Developing your faith, your marriage, your family, and your own personal growth.

When I say that you should do the 5%, I mean that you should expend your mental energy and creativity on the important things. Invest your time and effort into those things that only you can do. You will have a much more rewarding life, and become more successful not by the world’s standard of success, but by your own standard.

Develop a stronger faith, marriage, family, and self. Live with the 5%

What are some of the 85% things in your life that you can get rid of to make room for the 5%?


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The Stanford Marshmallow Experiment

A few years back magazines, businesses and psychiatrists were all abuzz about the concept of “Emotional Quotient.” Whereas “Intelligence Quotient” or IQ measures a persons memory, logic, and problem-solving skills; Emotional Quotient or EQ was supposed to be a more advanced indicator of how likely a person was to actually succeed in life.

Years later, it is now called Emotional Intelligence (EI) and I can’t even find an agreed-upon definition of it.

One aspect of EI (or EQ), is self-regulation (depending on who you talk to I guess). Here is an experiment performed with children that was supposed to measure one aspect of their EQ (aka EI).

Each child is given a marshmallow.
They are told that the marshmallow is theirs, that they can eat it right away if they want to and that there is nothing wrong with that.
However, if they waited until the adult came back, and they still had their marshmallow, then they would be given a whole plate of marshmallows.

I never got to watch the experiment (and apparently this was a rerun of an experiment originally performed in Stanford in 1972). But the video was described to me by a doctor (well, a guy who quit during his residency). But it sounds like an episode of Kids Say the Funniest Things, hosted by Bill Cosby.

Some of them wolfed it down the instant the adult left. Some agonized over whether or not they should eat it. Some sat in the corner and would not look at it to remove any temptation to eat the marshmallow.

I don’t know about EQ, EI, or any ground-breaking paradigms of success psychology. But this to me sounds like a test of an ancient and simple idea: that of delayed gratification.

If you have the ability to turn down an immediate small reward, in exchange for a greater future reward, you are probably more poised for success than those who can’t or won’t. You have greater discipline, greater impulse control.

Unfortunately, many adults are like a four year old child scarfing down a marshmallow the instant the adult leaves. In our world of instant everything, the ability to delay your short term desires probably seems not just unnecessary but undesirable.

Is delayed gratification a desirable trait in today’s world?


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Money Does So Make You Happy

I know this might rub some folks the wrong way, but it’s true. Those people who say that happiness comes from within are wrong. See, happiness comes from the same root word as the word “happenstance.” Happenstance by definition is a result of chance or fortunate circumstance. Therefore, happiness cannot possibly come from within, since it is based on outside circumstance.

I know, I know, it’s really just a semantic argument, but next time try saying that “joy” comes from within. Or contentment. Or beatitudes. That way you can avoid an argument and focus on explaining what beatitude means to your friend.

But back to the subject of money.

Most marriage arguments are over the subject of money (specifically a lack of money). Jesus talked about money more than any other subjects except the Kingdom of God. While its true that money alone is not the only ingredient to success, happiness, and personal fulfillment; It is an important part.

Not because the things that you buy with money necessarily bring you fulfillment. But because lack of money often causes you stress and discomfort and circumstances that detract from your fortunate feeling (unhappiness).

If you don’t have two dollars in your pocket at this moment and you walk by a hot dog cart while you are hungry, chances are that would make you slightly unhappy. Now, let’s say a millionaire is also at that same hot dog cart and that he happens to have no cash on hand. But he is so hungry, he offers to trade you his Porsche for two dollars to buy a hotdog. I think that you would be extremely unhappy that you don’t have two dollars in your pocket right at that moment.

Maybe it’s true what they mean (not what they say), that money doesn’t make you happy. But would it be fair to say that lack of money sometimes causes unhappiness? Or even that having money will eliminate many of the things in your life that cause unhappiness?

Most people have a poverty mindset when it comes to money. That acts as a barrier to acquiring it and keeping it. Here are some tips about money to help you acquire a prosperity mindset. These are all taken from a great book by Andrew Matthews called Being Happy.

1. Decide to be prosperous and put in the necessary effort.
2. Save first and spend what is left.
3. Observe wealthy people.
6. Spoil yourself occasionally.
9. Always carry some money – for three reasons.
10. Don’t blame your parents, the weather, the economy, the government, your job, your education or your mother-in-law for how you are doing.
12. Recognize that poverty is a mental disease.

“Almost half the list is missing!” I hear you cry. Actually, 99% of the book is missing, and I recommend you read it. (Mental note: Create a recommended reading page). (Mental note 2: Wrap up this blog post, Matt).

Of course, having a prosperity mindset doesn’t generate cash on it’s own, but it will keep your own brain from hindering your ability to get it.

How important is it to first have a prosperity mindset before acquiring wealth?


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Lessons To Unlearn From School, part III

graduation

“Education is the key to success”

Most of us were taught from an early age that to succeed in life you need to go to school, get good grades, so you can get into a good college and get a good job.

According to one study, the average college graduate over the course of their entire life will earn roughly one million dollars more than the average high school graduate. In another study, it was reported that if the high school graduate set aside the amount of money they would have spent on tuition and invested it at a modest return, they would end up earning roughly an extra million dollars at the end of their life.

In other words, college has zero influence on how much income you will make. Is this true? It has to be, Grissom from CSI said so.

There are of course exceptions. Some high-paying fields with specific education requirements like doctors and lawyers earn much higher salaries than average. But I also happen to know high school graduates (barely) that make millions in businesses of their own or in professional sales.

Higher education is big business. It is a multi-trillion dollar industry like coal, and oil, and automobiles and all those other industries that they teach you to hate in public schools. Like all other businesses, they sell a product. To increase sales, they create the false premise that in order to succeed in life you require their product. They created such a huge demand for their product, that the cost of it skyrocketed well beyond the pace of inflation. Thank God the government stepped in to ensure that it’s easy to get a student loan. The net result? Hundreds of thousands of young people with a college degree, $30,000 to $50,000 worth of debt, and entering the workforce four years behind the kids that decided not to pursue a degree.

Let’s pretend you are a business owner. Who would you rather hire, a young man with four years of work experience or one fresh out of college with a four-year degree in Sociology? It seems to me that most people would prefer the high school grad to the college boy who probably expects to be paid more because he has that degree. There is such an abundance of degree-carrying young men and women today, that a four year degree doesn’t even begin to distinguish you out of a crowd anymore.

The next time you stop at Starbucks, ask your barista what his degree is in. (I had a BA in Art while working at Starbucks).

Of course, the answer if you ask those multiple-billion dollar education factories is simple: Go back to school and get your masters degree.

Question: Are you working in the field that you received your degree in?