Over the years I’ve studied the lives of many great achievers the world. I have read many biographies of successful business men, politicians and spiritual leaders.
I have learned so many things about factors that made these people successful while their mates are failure. Some of those factors are vary from one person to another but one remains constant… they are all educated men and women.
Now when I mentioned education, so many people will think that I’m talking about school.
What is school if not a necessary evil? What has school got to do with success if not just to secure a good image from the eye of the public? Take your time to study the lives of today`s rich and successful people, you will find out their real secret… education… not school.
I remember reading the autobiography of Bill Clinton (former US president). One major thing that inspired me about his life was how he read 300 (non-academic) books in certain two years when he was a young man.
Clinton continued in this crazy act of reading and that was a major reason why he achieved greatness in his political career.
If you decided to sleep in the same room with Abraham Lincoln, you have got a problem because Lincoln would wake up at night and start reading aloud.
Jimon Ibrahim is a Nigerian millionaire who gave his wife a funny rule, “don`t knock whenever I enter library”.
When Bill Gates built his mighty mansion some years ago, his library stands at the top of the house.
Obafemi Awolowo was one of the most influential Nigerian politicians. I was privilege to read a newspaper written in the year 1987 when he died. Awolowo was a lover of book, till he died (in fact, he still bought a book about three days before he died)
Awolowo was of the opinion that anybody who intends to be great in life must be reading great books (not academic books please) at least, 4 hours a day.
I know your day may be too busy to allow that, but you can create time within your week.
I`m betting it with my blood. No one has ever succeeded in life, either in business, politics or spiritual ministry, without being a great reader.
You may ask me, Stephen, but why?
Thank you. Let me explain.
Either in politics, business or in any other career, what makes you stand at the top of others is exceptional knowledge. By the time you know far more than people around you, they have no choice than to bow for you. They will beg you with leadership.
I think I have a practical experience of this.
By the grace of God while I was on campus, my usual annual goal was to read 30-50 self-development books each year. These books equipped me with many knowledge my mates could never have.
I remember reading “How to make friends and influence people” and then made more friends than most people in my class. I remember reading Art of public speaking and whenever I stood before my class to speak, everyone would keep silent.
I remember reading so many other books and result would be that whenever I had encounter with my friends or political competitors, I would beat them, hands down.
At a point, one of the most prestigious clubs on my campus wanted me to be their leader. While many people were contesting for that office, I felt it was too small for myself. My mates were struggling to be chosen, the stake holders of that club wanted me.
Why? Because, by God`s grace I had mental strengths to lead that club to great success.
Fast forward to when I was about to leave school. I had read many good book about business and financial success that I wondered why on earth I would be poor.
This mathematics is very simple if you understand it.
If you`re a politician and contesting with me, we are actually contesting with knowledge. The more you know, the better you can sell your manifesto to the electorates.
Sometimes when I walk around with friends or see some political posters, I would comment on the pictures or the words use in the bill. I would suggest how they would have been done better.
Political tactics are more or less marketing strategies. It doesn`t matter what your products are, a poor marketing will kill your business.
Knowledge is the source of strategies.
In our most famous book, 10 secrets school didn`t teach you about business and how to make money I revealed how I entered a competitive business market and had a little success, even when people who had been there years before me failed.
Now, to the point I’m making. There is a great conspiracy about the real source of knowledge. While we can all agree that education is the secret behind all success, what most people call education is school.
Take my word as true because I’m telling you what I know with every certainty. Nobody has ever become a great success in life simply by having certificate or by attending the best school.
Most people you see today and can call success are men and women who rule the world with great knowledge they have acquired in the libraries when their mates were sleeping all watching football matches.
But they won`t tell you. Nobody has time to tell you their secret, except some of us who are angry about it and shouting aloud.
Anthony Robbins in his book, Unlimited Power said, no wonder there are more failures in the world than successes, since most people don`t read meaningful books and most people who even pick books to read only read the first two chapters.
This is the truth nobody cares to tell you: you cannot be successful beyond what you know.
Your knowledge is the number one strength of your life. If you want to succeed in business, it is a MUST you read business books. If you will ever succeed in politics, it`s a must you read books and biographies on politics and history (not the kind school forced you to read)
If you ever dream to succeed in life, you have to acquire specific knowledge (much of it) about your field and what it takes to succeed there. You also have to acquire general knowledge about life and success.
He who has ear let him hear what Stephen is telling Africans and the world… knowledge is the master key that opens the door of success and you have to take responsibility for your education if you want to be (truly) educated.