Path to Freedom – Part 3 Action and Knowledge
The toughest part of the path is to become complacent in your craft. It is quite common once a professional becomes an expert in his/her field and become confident. Such confidence generally leads a person to accept status quo. That is, do not rock the boat or stick to the proven formula.
The sad part of this story is that the professional loses sight of his/her Achilles heel. When you are the best, you have over achievers or hustlers gunning to de-throne you. Therefore, it is critical for you to keep learning, monitor the competition, and get better every single day. We live in a world driven by technology and innovation.
I recalled back in the mid-1990s when tech professionals preached that you must constantly learn the new codes in order to stay relevant. I thought to myself, “Boy the work never stops!”
At the age of 18, I opted to study business during my undergraduate career. I figured I can easily escape the rat race in terms of constantly learning. I thought I can remain complacent and be happy with a 9-5 job. Not so fast. I graduated in 2010 during one of the toughest economic times relative to job creation and job opportunities. It was a smack to my face that I was incorrect. All of sudden the job candidacy market was filled with professionals from different ages, experiences, and depth of knowledge. Boy, I was in a real uphill battle for that job.
Luckily, I was priced efficiently upon graduation. I recalled my first job right out of college as an entry level stockbroker making $33,000 per year. It barely covered my rent in the Los Angeles, CA area. I rented a room in Orange County and it was one miserable experience. Talk about cup noodles, McDonalds, and sandwiches every single day.
I remembered sitting there in the office. It was about 4:00 P.M. The market was already closed and I noticed trading volume and foot traffic into my branch was slow. It dawned on me. Technology disrupts and I must find a job that is irreplaceable. What jobs are out there?
I sat there on my desk and decided to Google those types of jobs. I realized that professional services that caters to institutions are irreplaceable. Next, I took the leap of faith and picked up books to learning about investment banking, management consulting, and sales. To be quite frank, I was bit a lazy in school and thought that work ethic would take me places.
That was false. Work ethic translates to actionable results, but without knowledge, it is the blind leading the blind and you relying on sheer luck. I worked too hard to rely on luck; therefore, I had to learn. I made it an effort to read the news every day one book once a month. This way, I can expand on my intellectual capital at the interviews and working with clients.
Before I digress further, let’s get back to my point as I was sitting in my branch searching for jobs. I applied to over 50 jobs in order to find a career change. I managed to get into consulting due to the books (i.e. knowledge) and work ethic that I had. I outworked the competition once in the work force and never stopped learning.
It is quite interesting in the corporate environment because many of your competition will work a typical 9-5, clock in, and clock out. They are like robots trained to the job. In order to establish good habits, you need to take it a step further. I would dedicate 30-60 minutes after work to learn more about my industry and business. Further, I took initiative to identify areas of improvement in terms of what was missing in my team. For example, I hated sales, but opted to take on a business development role because I knew if I can bring in new clients, it would propel me to the top. If I failed, at least I learned something at a very young age.
You see, knowledge does not mean just reading books and getting smarter. It means taking risk and action in the corporate or entrepreneurial environment. This way, you learn through hands on experience coupled with textbooks. I challenged myself to never, ever, ever, and ever pick up a fictional book again. All the books that I read were self-help to get me to the next level.
I was able to incorporate these habits early on in my career. This was six years ago. As a result, I was able to accomplish all my goals before age 30. I recalled I wanted to buy a house and make six figures before I was 30 years old. I was able to accomplish all these goals by age 27.
Action and knowledge should be applied to your job, career, investments, and most importantly, financial freedom plan.
I will leave you with this quote, “Always outwork your peers and competition. Train like your opportunity will end tomorrow. Keep learning. Keep working hard. You will inch and finally sprint closer to your goals”.
What are your thoughts? Do you feel learning and work ethic adds to your success?