Are Paper Qualifications Important?

When we were young, many of our parents exhorted us to study hard and find a good job. For most common people, the goal of life is to obtain a respectable income, work hard and then retire. For this plan to work – if it even works, that is – one has to obtain certification of the highest calibre possible. Failure to do so would mean a lower income and consequently a less comfortable life. However, industries are no longer looking for individuals with extraordinary academic qualifications. In fact, unemployment numbers are going up and it is common to be retrenched at middle age – commonly known as mid-life crisis. Clearly, relying solely on a high-paying job is not sustainable in the long run. This brings us back to the question: Is certification that important? Is it a crucial part of success? My answer to this is a resounding NO. In this article, I will the discuss the reasons for this viewpoint and attempt to convince my readers that a person’s learning attitude is of higher importance. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

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#1: A Person’s Learning Attitude Matters More

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Knowledge without wisdom is inherently useless. Without the desire to learn, to improve and to explore, your mind will be the prison in which you will rot. The world is advancing rapidly even as we speak. Those who do not embrace change will be swept and blindsided by it. In life, we will inevitably face many crises that threaten to turn our lives upside down, the most recent being the COVID-19 pandemic that threatened job security around the world. It is of paramount importance that we learn to adapt to our surroundings and learn a little of everything. Learning a little of everything refers to exploring all sorts of skills and industries with an open heart, regardless of your current biases. Thus, you will be better prepared to move from industry to industry. Those who master this skill will often fare better than those who have loads and loads of qualifications for a certain skill but know nothing about everything else. Those who are overspecialised face higher risks of becoming obsolete. For instance, a world-class pianist who loses control of his hands due to paralysis will not be able to earn as much as he used to. Furthermore, he has no skills that are valuable in other industries. In other words, placing all your eggs in one basket is not a wise decision.

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#2: Certification Is Nothing If You Lack Financial Intelligence

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Why is it that there are highly educated individuals who face money problems or bankruptcy? How is it that individuals such as Warren Buffett and Donald Trump, who may seem less educated and qualified, are able to build their wealth while others struggle? The difference between the upper and middle classes is financial intelligence. In other words, those who do not know how to control their finances will eventually find themselves controlled by money. How is this so? See, the difference is that the rich let money work for them, while the poor work all their lives for money. The poor work incessantly – our parents once told us to “work hard and get a secure, high paying job” – in hopes of a pay raise. Even after these individuals obtain their beloved pay raises, they still have no idea how to use their hard-earned cash. Often, they lose their hard-earned cash due to taxes and high expenses, which threaten to devour them alive. And when they find themselves without a job, they realise they have nothing left – assets – to rely on. Those who believe that the government care for them will also find themselves disappointed – there has been cases, not only in the US, where governments are unable to provide the money for citizens’ retirement. The rich on the other hand, spend their lives buying assets – stocks, bonds and real estate. Moreover, the rich lead frugal lifestyles so as to reduce their expenses and set aside more towards assets. Initially, time and effort is required in managing and growing these assets. However, after a period of time, the assets no longer need the care of their owners – these assets have become so extensive and self-sustaining that they are paying for themselves over and over. This is much like growing a tree – at first, extensive and regular watering is needed. However, after a while, the tree’s roots become so deep and extensive that they no longer need the support of their owners. In other words, the rich no longer have to work for money, as money works for them now. In conclusion, certification will not help you, in any way, to effectively survive the conditions of this world. You need to have the attitude to learn and diligently build up your financial intelligence.

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#3: Social Intelligence Plays A Bigger Part In Success Than Certification

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Every human brain consists of the left hemisphere, which is responsible for technical knowledge such as mathematics, and the right hemisphere, which is responsible for more abstract subjects like emotions and visualisation. Often, we focus on cultivating our left brains so much that we forget about the right. A scientist can make amazing discoveries, but without the skill to present it to others, his work inevitably ends up lost in time. No one is an island. Each and every one of us has to work with others one way or another. As the saying goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Without the help of others, we will struggle on the path to success – some of us may even die trying. On the other hand, with the support of our friends, associates and loved ones, attaining success becomes easier. That being said, developing one’s social intelligence is easier said than done. Cultivating it requires self-reflection and empathy. Furthermore, the building of trust between 2 or more parties requires time. While it is difficult, mastering the art of social intelligence will pay dividends down the road and make life easier.

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Conclusion

Moral of the story: Certification is not a one-way ticket to success. To achieve success, one must cultivate one’s financial and social intelligence, and possess the passion to learn continuously. The world is changing rapidly. We should embrace change rather than go against it. I hope that you found some enlightenment from my article. If you did find this article helpful, do consider giving it a like! Do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t done so! Thanks for reading!

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Further Reading

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Keys To Attaining Success

As the famous contemporary author John C. Maxwell states, “The secret to your success is determined by your daily agenda.” Our everyday choices and actions determine whether or not we will attain success in the future. Success is not something that falls from the sky, nor is it something that we can merely purchase with money. Success is a journey and it requires sacrifice – the sacrifice of one’s time, energy and mind to a cause. It requires consistency, motivation and most importantly, hard work. However, many give up in the middle of their journeys to success, citing numerous reasons and excuses such as “I don’t have time!” or “It’s too difficult! I simply lack the talent to succeed.” With this in mind, is it possible for us, mere mortals from different walks of life, to ever obtain success? The answer is a resounding “YES!!” In this article, I will discuss how each and everyone one of us can achieve success, even though it may seem impossible for many of us. Before you continue reading, do follow me and subscribe to my newsletter!

#1: Discover and Follow Your Passion

What is it that brings you the most joy and satisfaction? Solving problems? Playing Chess? Writing? The point is, you must discover this passion and feed it. Of course, life is not as simple as it seems. For many adults and teenagers, with so many responsibilities and little time, chasing this passion may seem a rather daunting task. As a result, they will find their passions waning with time and eventually, these inner flames will die out, never to be found again. Meanwhile, many are not willing to give up their current jobs and careers, which they have taken up solely for the sake of financial sustenance, clinging to the belief that their passions will never be profitable or appreciated. The truth is, if you do not find and pursue your passion, you are doomed to suffer all your life. You will find life meaningless and find yourself bombarded by perpetual boredom, and when you finally realise, in hindsight, that you should have followed your passion from the beginning, it would be too late. So, I implore you, unearth your passion and follow it to the end. Learn to give up the limiting beliefs that plaque your mind day and night. Success and money will come in due time, as long as you dedicate your time and effort consistently. However, do note that this necessitates a degree of sacrifice. To illustrate this, let us study what Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, did to pursue his passion and achieve success. When Bill was a teenager, he found himself to love software and programming. He dreamt of a future where every home would have a computer and wanted to be at the forefront of this revolution. When he was 18 years old, he enrolled in Harvard University. However, he realised that it would only hold him back – he wanted very much to start a company of his own. Consequently, he made the most remarkable and astonishing decision of his life, and that was to drop out of Harvard, which in retrospect, would be the pivotal moment of Bill’s life. Now at this point you might be thinking, “Is Bill crazy or something? Harvard is so hard to get in and he’s just throwing it away like that?” First things first, this isn’t telling you to drop out randomly and spontaneously from university. In Bill’s case, he considered and concluded that his passion had to take precedence and that enrolling at Harvard would only hinder his path to success. What I am trying to say is that, you must be ready to make the bold decision to give up everything you have planned to make way for your inner calling. Do not let external factors and fear dictate what you should or should not do. Remember, the willingness to sacrifice anything and everything for one’s passion is what sets successful people apart. I assure you, only by doing so will you be free and contented.

#2: Work Hard And Be Consistent

Once you have identified and locked on to your passion, you must work on it day and night. There is simply no other way. This part of the journey is the hardest and many give up in the middle of this phase. Here, you might not see big improvements and every practice session may feel mundane. You must be careful not to think that you aren’t getting anywhere. The truth is, you are improving everyday, it’s just that you can’t see it! Let’s say everyday you improve by 1%. 1% might not feel a lot, but after 365 days, you would have improved 365%! Of course, your improvements cannot be calculated and even estimated by such crude numbers and percentages, but you get the idea. Everything will seem slow at first, but after much consistent practice, the law of accelerating returns kick in and you will soon find yourself improving much faster. Let me explain what this “law of accelerating returns” means here. In the early stages of learning a skill, your skill level is, of course, low. Due to a lack of knowledge and familiarity with the field, more time is spent on trying to understand the subject at hand and the durations of your practice sessions are limited. At this point in time, trying to practice for a few hours at a time will only result in you becoming burnt out and more confused. However, with daily practice and learning, your knowledge and skill increases and thus you are able to practice for longer durations and with much more focus. With this increased practice, your skill level and knowledge increases much further, and the quality of your practice sessions increases as well. This in turn gives birth to a never ending, exponential cycle of learning and improvement. Now, the aim of this phase is to reach the point where even hours of practice would seem inadequate and effortless. Reaching this sweet spot will allow your creativity to flow in ways you’ve never seen before and it is at this point that you will find mastery. (If you would like to know why you should never give up easily, check out my article here: https://bestofwrite.com/2021/01/14/never-give-up-easily/)

#3: Replacing Negative Perspectives With Positive Ones

Yes, hard work is important and all, but how do you sustain yourself through this journey? How do you control your emotions? It’s all about your perspective. Ask yourself what failure means to you. Is it the end? Does it mean that you are incapable? The answer to all these questions is a stark NO. Failure just means that you have to work harder. All you have to do is to switch your perspective. Robots and machines do not whine when they experience failure. Failure to them is just a sign that their database is not wide enough and that much more data is needed to increase their success rate. Even machines experience failure on a daily basis, let alone human beings. The only difference is that machines do not attach any emotional significance to failure – they just move on and become better with time. The cycle of learning and failure is the very foundation of learning, even in artificial intelligence. But of course, we are not machines and we are vulnerable to the negative thoughts that come from our very own minds. To overcome this, you have to change your mentality towards the field you are working on. For instance, instead of seeing a Chess match as a battle between two parties, a better way to view it is that Chess is a puzzle battle – the player which solves it the most accurately wins. Failure would not mean that you are better or worse than the other player. It just means that you did not solve the “puzzle” accurately enough! Whether it is you are a Chess player, an athlete, a writer or mathematician, it is essential to learn to work like a machine, celebrate like a human.

Conclusion

Success is no doubt a long journey that requires much sacrifice, hard work and grit. However, it is not impossible to attain. Whenever you experience failure, just be like a clock. Just keep moving.

Meanwhile, are there any other factors of success that I have not mentioned in this article? Do comment your thoughts below!

Further Reading