Knowing A Lot Doesn’t Have Much To Do With Success

knowing-a-lot-doesnt-mean-a-lot-2013-1One time or another, you’ve had the thought running through your head that if you only knew more you would be more successful in life.

It’s only natural to think that. Most of the first 20 years of your life are completely focused on how much you know. And who you know more than.

So it’s only natural that you think knowing more will make you more successful.  Perhaps another degree, a conference, or a DVD business series is what you need to turn your situation around.

It’s frustrating.

Because the more you learn, the less you feel like you’re becoming successful.

That’s because, despite what you hear about success, it has very little to do with formal education. How much you know doesn’t really matter. It never has.

Some of the most successful people of all time did it without all the education you think you need:

John Glenn was a dropout from the science program at Muskingum College.  He went on to become one of the most important astronauts in American history.

Steve Jobs stayed in college for only six months.  His breakthrough inventions in mobile technology and movie animation are perhaps the greatest business marvel of the last fifty years.

Henry Ford had no college education at all and few years of formal education at all.  He went on to reinvent the manufacturing process and the entire automobile industry.

William Shakespeare dropped out of middle school.  He would later create almost 2,000 English words and write the most famous literary works of all time.

John D. Rockefeller left school as a young teenager to get a job.  He would build Standard Oil into a massive petroleum monopoly, ultimately becoming the richest man of all time (considering current inflation).

Mark Twain only had a 5th grade education. His Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is considered the greatest American novel of all time.

Horace Greeley had no schooling at all.  He would later become a Congressman, found the Republican Party, and today is considered one the most influential journalists in American history.

Albert Einstein was a high school dropout and failed his university entrance exams.  He came up with the Theory of Relativity, published 300 scientific papers, won a Nobel Prize, and is considered the greatest mind of the twentieth century.

Success isn’t really about how much you know.

To finish reading this post, head on over to Business Insider.
To finish reading this post, head on over to Business Insider.

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    • VanCan

      Einstein left high school at 16 to move with his family to Italy. A few months later, he applied to university. He didn’t pass all his entrance exams (you wouldn’t expect him to, since he was 2 or 3 years younger than most applicants) but aced the ones in physics and math. He then went back and finished his high school courses with flying colors and got into a top university math and physics program at 17. He knew a lot and it had everything to do with his success as a physicist.

      John Glenn left college because he was a licensed pilot and Pearl Harbor had just been attacked. He piloted transport planes, fighters, and bombers and won the Distinguished Flying Cross. He knew a lot and it had everything to do with his success as an astronaut.

      While an argument can be made that formal education is not all it’s cracked up to be, there’s no need to distort facts to prove your point.