Have you found your chain of knowledge?

When I was a kid I knew about college. My parents both went to the University of Minnesota (and I still turned out okay). Dartmouth College was across the street from my high school in Hanover, New Hampshire. Everyone from Hanover High School seemed to go to college. There was never a question of whether or not I would go to college. It was just a matter of where. And whether or not I would get kicked out.

UW-Madison

After high school I went to the University of Wisconsin. I earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and psychology. Following college I had many friends who did even more schooling. They got master’s degrees, went to law school or medical school.

I did none of those things. Instead I began to self-educate. I began reading books, not just for entertainment, but for knowledge. I subscribed to various magazines and devoured them monthly. Eventually I learned that devouring reading materials does not mean that you actually eat them. Once I discovered that I began enjoying reading materials significantly more.

There’s Something Happening Here

I started noticing an interesting phenomenon. When I read a book, article or blog that I found valuable there would be a reference to another book, article, blog, vlog or podcast. I would add that new reference to my list of materials to explore. Then, not only would I find great value in that material, I would find another reference to other worthwhile material to explore.

One Thing Leads To Another.

I began compiling a rich list of books, authors, blogs and podcasts that continuously linked me to even more valuable new material. Like the required set of coursework you must take to earn a college degree, my self-directed readings began creating a unique and valuable path forward. Like my own yellow brick road.

Chains and Change

As I followed this chain of knowledge it changed my life in profound ways. I didn’t know it at the time, but my chain of knowledge created my coursework for entrepreneurship. Some of it was inspirational. Some of it was instructional. But each link added profound value.

Boarding The Entrepreneurship

In 2015 I began planning the launch of my own advertising agency. My readings and self education prepared me well for the process. I didn’t need an MBA. Or a business coach. I just needed my own self-directed chain of knowledge. And action.

The Weaponry

In the spring of 2016 I launched my own business called The Weaponry. At the same time, I launched this blog to help others build their chain of knowledge.

I have discovered that to accomplish great and difficult feats you don’t have to go back to school, like Rodney Dangerfield or Billy Madison. You simply have to keep adding links to your own chain.

Here are some sources that have provided strong links in my chain of knowledge. 

Books

  • Rich Dad. Poor Dad.
  • The Alchemist
  • Think And Grow Rich.
  • The E-Myth
  • Traction
  • TheCash Flow Quadrant
  • 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  • Everything by John C. Maxwell
  • Everything by Jim Collins
  • Everything by Daniel Pink 
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things
  • Talent Is Overrated
  • Delivering Happiness
  • Call Me Ted
  • Pour Your Heart Into it
  • The One Thing

Podcasts

  • How I Built This
  • Bigger Pockets
  • Side Hustle School 
  • Open For Business
  • Startup

Magazines

  • Inc.
  • Fast Company

Key Takeaway

To become the best You that you can be build your own chain of knowledge. Direct your own education. Add to it every day. It will empower you to do great things. Things that you alone are uniquely qualified to do. And please share what you discover with others. Because like Billy Madison, I still have a lot left to learn.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this story, please share it with them. 

Why you should dedicate more time to self education.

When we were kids in school we took standardized tests to see how we stacked up against other kids our age. I remember taking some sort of Iowa basics test and some type of California standard test. Despite the fact that I never lived in either of those states. Then there were the PSATs, SATs, ACTs. I remember filling in all those little circles. And I remember thinking that number 2 pencils sounded like poop pencils.

Flash Forward

I have not had my knowledge tested against others in my age group since high school. But I would love to be tested now. Because I do more than most of my contemporaries to gain knowledge and increase my intelligence every day.

IMG_7321
Some of the books I am reading now.

Example

Yesterday was a fairly typical day of self education.

  • I read chapters in multiple physical books. #letsgetphyscial
  • I listened to 1 hour of an audiobook while driving. (Indianapolis)
  • I listened to 2 podcasts totaling almost 2 hours while mowing the lawn and doing cardio work. (How I Built This and Bigger Pockets)
  • I read several articles in a magazine while waiting for a football scrimmage to start. (Fast Company)
  • I read a blog post on leadership.

I am constantly seeking new knowledge, insights and philosophies. As a result I add significant knowledge to my collection daily.

Test Me Bro

That’s why I would love to be tested again. I want to see how my knowledge stacks up against other men and women in their mid-forties. Because I think I would do very well compared to my peers. Many of whom stopped studying when their formal education ended.

Slowdown and Ramp Up

I admit that my deliberate education experienced a slowdown during my rip-roaring 20s, after I graduated from the University of Wisconsin. But I ramped up my self education in my early 30s. Today, I consider self education one of my core interests and hobbies.

Traction
I’m always trying to become a smarter business owner.

Learn Something New Every Day

Without continuing adult education it’s a bad situation. #HallAndOates  But if you are reading this post you are probably into self education too. If so, you are in the minority. We’ve all heard the saying, “You learn something new everyday.’ But the average adult learns by accident, or because of their lack of baseline knowledge. Not through deliberate self education.

Putting Education To Work

I study, absorb, read and learn like I did back in college. None if it is required. All of it is self directed. Because I want to know all I can. It gives me an advantage in life. I put my knowledge to good use for my business and my family. In fact, I am certain that I won’t experience sustained success as an entrepreneur if I don’t continuously educate myself.

Key Takeaway

You grow through education. It is how you become a smarter, stronger, more capable resource. It is how you make more money and make more of a difference in your community. Unless you are willing to accept continual mental decay you can’t coast the rest of the way to the grave. So once your educational requirements are met, make sure to stay ahead of the curve through your own elective learning.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this post, please share it with them.

See also:

A quick review of the 15 books I am reading right now.

9 killer books that will motivate you to be an entrepreneur.

What this entrepreneur is suddenly afraid of.