Whatever money I have left after food, housing, and clothes, I learn on Coursera.
Education is an investment in oneself. I am not talking about a $120,000 degree from Cornell or Dartmouth, but what you learn and then put into practice. Education is an investment that can pay more dividends than anything you invest in. There are four reasons why I believe this to be the case:
Reason 1. You Make Better Decisions
We live in an increasingly complicated world. And there are big consequences when you make bad decisions. Most of the times, it does not matter how smart or talented you are, but how well you can make decisions.
One mistake can trigger anarchy in your life, like getting into legal trouble or choosing the wrong spouse, employer, or business partner. How can you make better decisions?
(1) Researching everything and doing your due diligence.
(2) By educating yourself talking to other people who have been in your situation.
(3) And then looking at the facts and making an informed decision.
Reason 2. More Opportunities
Since I have turned to education, I am agnostic on life. I am never afraid to say I am wrong, and I only look at the truth subjectively. It is very liberating. Education opens your mind and it opens you up to new opportunities as a result. Those who are closed-minded will never be accepting of these opportunities.
All my new business opportunities have come from an open mind.
“How do I get these ideas?” I get them when I learn new things.
For instance, I got my first investment banking internship after doing courses on Coursera related to investment banking, valuation, and M&A.
Reason 3. Learn More, Earn More
When we hire people for our portfolio companies, there are two types of applicants:
(1) One says: “You have a great Company. I have studied it. And I want to join your great company so I can contribute.”
(2) The other applicant says: “Your Company is doing well. But I noticed a few things that could be improved on. I have the skills to help you improve in that area.”
Number 1 is just an addition to your staff. Number 2 is a value-add. Which one would you hire?
There are also two types of entrepreneurs:
(1) One entrepreneur throws marketing dollars at a product and sees if anything sticks.
(2) The other says only creates exceptional products and services for a specific audience.
Entrepreneur 1 creates commodities. Entrepreneur 2 creates goods that are unmissable. How do you become number 2? You guessed it. Learn your product, audience, and be great.
Reason 4. Education is a Life-Long Investment
You can lose everything in life: your money, job, clients, reputation, and your relationships. But you cannot lose your human capital as long as you are improving them.
If I lost everything tomorrow, I know that I could make a million dollars in 10-years. I can confidently say this because, through my entrepreneurial journey, I have done this before!
That is why I also spend most of my spare time learning new things, going to new places, and meeting new and interesting people.
The main reason I invest time and money on my education is because it is a survival strategy. Education is a safety net for me.