Look around you, not just at your desires

Friday 12 October 2012, 9.28pm HKT

“Formal education will make you a living,
self-education will make you a fortune.”

Jim Rohn (1930–2009), American rags-to-riches entrepreneur,
author and motivation speaker

A FRIEND of mine has just started doing (more accurately, redoing) something that I’m pretty sure will end up blowing up in my friend’s face a few years down the line.

Let’s not mention what precisely that activity is. The details are irrelevant to our interests. We’ll get to read about it in yet-another fun-filled, award-winning ’10 things this week’ post at the end of this week. Promise.

Formal education is important. Even if it isn’t important, at any rate formal education is inescapable for 99% of us.

Money is important too. With money, they say it’s a better kind of misery than without.

At any rate 99% of us spend 99% of our waking hours trying to make 99% more moolah than we do now just to make ends meet. The remaining 1% of us spend 99% of the waking hours actually looking for more ways of making more moolah.

When a person is in his or her mid-20s, it’s high time and low hell to start at least thinking about setting up some plans for a career — or, at the very least, get a steady job.

People are hypnotised with the idea of scrounging getting money, and people in Asia (locals and expats alike) are sine qua non examples of this self-hypnotisation.

Entrepreneurship is STILL a buzzword. Schools teach it. Colleges teach it, especially for a right royal sum. Go to a job interview and chances are the word ‘entrepreneurship’ will be mentioned 15 minutes in. And 20 minutes in, you find yourself fibbing all over the place because you actually don’t have a clue about it in real life.

I don’t know how they (meaning formal education) can ‘teach’ entrepreneurship. If you want to learn to be an entrepreneur and bury your nose in books, that in itself spells a fundamental misunderstanding.

Read a book! Become an entrepreneur! Yeah, riiight…

Want to be an entrepreneur? Join a multilevel marketing (MLM) company and hope to learn the ropes there through being abused by colleagues because you aren’t abusing your clients hard enough or long enough.

The operative words here being ‘hope to learn the ropes’: MLM people are not terribly fond of revealing their tradecraft. Ever.


And they talk back more often than you can stand…

Here’s a galling fact: If you love money, you have to be an employer.

An employer in the sense of a business owner. Someone wet behind the ears or moist down the trouser legs with a job title like “manager” and some hire-and-fire authority doesn’t count.

In all my years as both a ‘salaryman’ (サラリーマン sararīman, salaried man) and a business owner in many different countries, I can now say to a moral certitude that the best way to becoming an entrepreneur is to just start a business, make a few mistakes in the early days, and make sure commonsensically that your mistakes never outnumber the right things done — and save some years wasted on learning theory.

Really. Your mistakes to right things ratio should be 1:4. It’s a proven fact in accounting. It’s certainly proven in my own personal experience.

Believe it or not, that philosophy of mine actually hits a raw nerve with most people and don’t exactly go down well with them. When crunch time comes to get down to brass tacks, fly or no fly? No fly!


The truth is… “It’s all becuz of the Certificate” LOL

Certs only useful for jobs (i.e. making a living).

As a financial printer, I get to see these people on a daily basis. The guys running businesses good to go for public listing, they’re ALL self-taught (or at least not many of them have the mainstream run of ‘certs’). The bankers, lawyers, etc, supposedly helping them to list, all the certs … but none of the real money. QED.


Employers in [name your favourite locale] require certs.

I know, man. So’s 90% of the world. As an employer myself, I too look at certs, you know.

But have a look at the employers themselves first.

The way your employers ‘got there,’ the hows and whys of your employers becoming employers, the things they do (with, for and possibly to you) to remain employers — these facets still speak volumes about employers, and about becoming one.


Well, who cares about the employers as long as
they are employers already.

Well, who cares, right?

Who cares about employers as long as you’re out to grab as much moolah as possible?

Who cares about employers — even though becoming a business owner remains the only practical way of getting maximum moolah since the Industrial Revolution.

You don’t get it.

Those who hanker to get more money don’t pay enough attention to look for ways to become employers — because they often got mighty distracted by the dried-up crap in their commerce studies textbooks.

They don’t pay enough attention to their employers and their needs and expectation of employees like yourself — because they got distracted by the dried-up crap from books.

They don’t pay enough attention to why employers do whatever they do whilst employing employees like yourself — because they got distracted by dried-up theoretical case studies couched in feel-good, dynamic-sounding language.


Come on, that’s WORLD.

Captain Obvious is obvious…

My beef is that the people are not looking where they should be looking … and not closely enough if they did look.

I mean, we all have to operate on some realistic level, don’t we?

The certs are needed, fine.

The employers want stuff they themselves mostly don’t have, true.

But people seem to be living in their own little bubbles thinking they could hit the grand parade because of some dried-up crap says this or that is the path to personal fame, fortune and security. Like I said, we all have to operate on some realistic level…



I spend my days (and nights) in the company of moneymakers and market-makers. I can’t say I’m raking in it myself, but I do know what makes or breaks The Money Machine in people.

Forget about those Top 10 Traits of a Successful Entrepreneur we read about all the time. They don’t work, and they can’t ever work. Rum tale and good entertainment for a couple of minutes, that’s all they’re worth.

Read this instead — it’s got it down pat the 10 traits you can’t afford to have as an entrepreneur:—

Ten Traits To Reject If You Want To Become A Successful Entrepreneur


My friend needs to do this … and stop fantasizing about the future



© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2012. (B12353)

Images: Pile of books via Ray Garton’s Blog at Goodreads.com | Mover Shaker Risk Taker via BreakingOut.net | Books Don’t Work Here via booksdontworkhere | Brian Tracy via GoAfterDreams.

9 Responses to “Look around you, not just at your desires”

  1. Guus said

    Yes, absolutely love this rant! Education of the formal type is heavily overrated!


  2. Ed Hurst said

    Good words, Robert. Even for someone like me, engaged in a business which ignores money, self-employed is where it’s at. Every other kind of payoff requires entrepreneurial zeal.


  3. Guus said

    As much as I agree, I wonder though how many people will take heed, though.

    You’re either in the formal education camp, or you’re out. Those who are in, have likely invested much (ego, time, money) in it and are unlikely to change their views.


    • Excellent observation about investment of one’s ego in something. It is true that many people actually take heed of the advice/maxim insofar as when they hear it. Otherwise, when it comes to actually carrying out that maxim, they don’t seem to heed it. In other words, counsel is to be taken, not to be congratulated. Good insight, Guus, really good.


  4. […] My last post mentioned a less-than-crystal-clear-minded friend of mine decided out of the blue to redo something highly likely to blow up in my friend’s face several years from now. […]


  5. […] Look around you, not just at your desires (thenakedlistener.wordpress.com) […]


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