Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Why a Self-Education Beats Todays Formal Education

I’m a student, heck, it’s even in my bio. But, I don’t think a formal education is needed today.

Sure, we all need the fundamentals of an education; how to read, how to write, the basics of math, and a general knowledge of history, geography and science.

Being surrounded by people who understand these basic concepts makes the whole world better off.

Said Seth Godin,

“Sure, education is expensive, but living in a world of ignorance is even more expensive.”

The introductory levels of education do a good job in teaching these skills, and I have no problem with that.

The issue lies with higher education. It’s failing time and time again and nothings being done about it.

What’s Wrong With Formal Education?

The general consensus in society is that a higher formal education will set you on the path to getting a good education, a good career and healthy paycheck.

A lot of the things that have been labeled as highly valuable in life.

So, the process of going to college isn’t really questioned, it just seems to be the natural path to life. Everyone’s taking it, so the rest do the same.

Heck, I’ve even done it.

But, this path is a lie. It will fail you, and it won’t set you up for greatness.


Let me share with you a quote by Orison Swett Marden:

“If a man is not superior to his education, is not larger than his crutches or his helps, if he is not greater than the means of his culture, which are but the sign-boards pointing the way to success, he will never reach greatness. Not”

That’s what’s wrong with formal education. It is nothing more than an education on crutches.

Sure you might a choose a subject, but you’re not studying what you want. The information is put in front you and then your tasked with assignments that outline your process — Answer this question, look at that these resources, do this.. blah, blah, blah.

Never is the student asked “Do you want to learn this? Do you have an interest in this? Do you really want to do this for the rest of your life?”

No — the student is instructed to follow instructions, the instructions of his teacher and the instructions of the very education he is learning.

If you achieve a top grade, that shows nothing of your knowledge. It shows that you can follow a set of instructions, and that’s exactly the purpose of formal education — to teach people how to follow instructions and sit still long enough to be able to work a 9–5 office job.

You’re not going to find greatness that way.

Parents will tell you can, and I don’t exactly blame them for that, when they were growing up it was true. But times have changed.

“If you do a job where someone tells you exactly what to do, he will find someone cheaper than you to do it. And yet our schools are churning out kids who are stuck looking for jobs where the boss tells them exactly what to do.” -Seth Godin

No ones going around saying “Give that guy a raise! He’s the most obedient person to have ever worked here.”

That’s not how it works today.

“We’re in an idea-based economy and a skill-based economy, not a certificate based economy” -James Altucher

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

Why Choose a Self Education?

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” — Jim Rohn

Seth Godin is in the know of how to fix education overnight. And that solution is: “Don’t wait for it. Pick yourself. Teach yourself.”

We can already see this working today. Just look at some of the richest men alive; Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, all these individuals dropped out of college and pursued their passion — self-educating themselves along the way.

You’re not hearing about the guy who went to Harvard, graduated with straight A’s and is now working a 9–5 corporate job.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with that path, but it doesn’t need to be taken. You’ll find that path is easier, yet harder to take.

It’ll be harder because that path is overcrowded. Everyone who graduates with a formal education in your field is trying to get that same office job or that same doctor position because that’s what they’ve been trained for. Their best option is also hundreds of other peoples best option.

“It’s lonely at the top. 99% of people are convinced they are incapable of achieving great things, so they aim for mediocre. The level of competition is thus fiercest for ‘realistic’ goals, paradoxically making them the most competitive.” -Tim Ferriss

But at the same time, that path will be easier to take. If you go through college, come out the otherside and don’t land your dream job or even a job at all, that’s not your fault.

You can blame on it the institution, you can blame it on the teachers, you can blame it on the other students. Hell, you can even blame it on the employers.

But to go off that path and choose yourself, that is claiming responsibility for what happens next. Who are you going to blame when the path your following is your own?

If you teach yourself all you can by reading books, finding mentors, taking online course and learning from the best in pursuit of your passion, there is no fault to be blamed for your failures because everything turn you take, ultimately leads you to finding your own destiny.

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

In Conclusion

“Learning is not done to you. Learning is something you choose to do.” -Seth Godin

There’s an abundance of information to be sourced outside of university and an abundance of career paths to be taken that don’t stem from a Formal Education.

It’s frankly not needed.

Self education will 1) set you up for greatness, 2) let you learn what you’re interested truly in and 3) save you money.

Why pay thousands for a formal education when you can educate yourself for a fraction of the cost?

This is a realization I should have reached two years ago. Thanks for reading.



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Reece Robertson

Reece Robertson

Viral Blogger and Freelance Content Writer | 1 Million+ Content Views | Connect with me @