Defining Real Education

The whole object of education is…to develop the mind. The mind should be a thing that works. – Sherwood Anderson (1876–1941) American novelist and short story writer.

Many people give a lot of importance to school education.  Because nowadays, it is believed that having a diploma and certificates represents a key that which can open many doors of great possibilities and opportunities to success.

In order to guarantee success and to feel secured, most people invest time and money to study in prestigious university.  After graduation, they aim working on top fortune 500 companies.  And then later on, they will strive to climb the ladder of the corporate world.

But if school education is the key to success, why is it that many educated people are unsuccessful in life?  Why many professionals are struggling financially, physically and emotionally?  On the other hand, why is it that the worlds richest is dominated by people who didn’t even finish school education?  They are called drop outs and undergraduates.  People like Bill Gates (founder/CEO of Microsoft), Mark Zuckerberg (founder/CEO of Facebook) and Steve Jobs (founder of Apple/CEO).   In my country, Philippines, the richest man is a business tycoon who owns a big retail store and malls in Asia.  His name is Henry Sy and he owns SM Malls.  Mr. Sy didn’t finish school education either, yet he became really really successful.

I’ve once asked myself these questions, why is it easy for uneducated people to attain success in life while educated people are struggling?  That triggered my interest of learning the attitudes, habits and mindset of successful people.

It was in 2008 when I’ve started to think about the real definition of education.  Graduating from one of the top school in my country and becoming a certified public accountant gave me an edge to climb the corporate ladder of success.  I had the privilege to work with a Big 4 accounting firm, multinational outsourcing firm and the central bank.  But I felt unsuccessful in a lot of areas in my life, financially, physically, emotionally and mentally.  That moment taught me an important lesson in life, and that is:

“School education won’t get you too far in life, its real-education that will”.

Having a number of high credentials from school education doesn’t guarantee success; it only gives you a good start or an edge in this competitive world.  It’s real education that will get you closer to success.

I have observed that there are two kinds of people in terms of attaining school education.  There are people who let their educational attainment get into their head that leads them to expect too high recognition and promotion from their boss or employer.  They want the society to treat them the way they want to be treated, like with respect and honour. This kind of behaviour tends to make them appear arrogant which causes emotional stress to themselves and the people around them.

On the other hand, there are those who suffer from misery and hardship even though they have a remarkable school education. They become victims of mistreatment and they find it hard to be successful because of their choice to stop learning and improving in different areas of life.  Their lack of improvement causes them to become average or uncompetitive in a very competitive world.  They blame or complain their lack of progress to their boss, the government or other people, except themselves.

Both kind of person are unaware to the importance of real education.

What is Real Education?

Mark Twain, an American Writer, have once said I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.

The truth is real education is hard to define because its meaning is subjective.  However, I’d like to share with you my definition of real education.

“Real education is ultimately achieved once a person has attained professional and personal development.”

Components of Real Education

There are two types of education: professional and personal.

1) Professional education (or School Education)

It is gained through study of technical terms in school or at work. This type of education mould the professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, accountants, inventors, teacher, etc.

However, unlike what most people believe in, attaining professional or school education is not enough to reach success, you must also strive to grow your personal self.  Which leads us to the next type of education.

2) Personal education (or Self-Education)

It happens when you are able to reach a high level of emotional and mental maturity that which composes the right character and attitude towards life.

Personal education can be attained through learning personal development that which teaches individuals with wisdoms and life lessons useful in daily interactions.

When you attain personal education, you have an independent mind to make the right choices, you have emotional maturity that protect in times of difficulty, you can communicate and relate well to people, you are able to find your passion and purpose, and also, it helps you develop appreciation and anticipation over people and life.

Importance of Real Education

I’ve discovered that the secret to success and happiness in life lies on our ability to attain real education.

Life is not perfect, it’s not even fair, so don’t expect it to be perfect or fair.  Do not fall to the same trap that most smart yet unsuccessful people fall into. Take charge of your life, oftentimes, you have the control over it.

One of the important ingredients in living the good life is real education.  Because when you achieve both professional and personal growth, you become unbeatable.  You have the professional and technical skills needed in your endeavour, plus, you’ve developed high level of maturity and right attitudes in your daily actions.


  1. Lessons from life are equally important if not more where you apply what you learn from “real education” to reach your best self.

  2. HI joveck, yes, i agree. once you’ve applied the principles of real education, you will be able to become a much better person. probably, the best you can become 🙂

  3. Yes, and being the best you could be should always be a priority then it will be an inevitability. BTW, congrats to you and to Jay. 🙂


  4. The educational system we have today is design for a career in the work place an industrial mind. our Education was design to prepare the youth to find a career job. To take the real mining of education that is to teach and mentor not to stuff you with facts but to help you discover your uniqueness, to teach you how to develop it, and then to show you how to give it away…. Sad to say even if you maybe the greatest writer in the world with out a collage degree you can not enter collage to teach.

  5. ashish bihani says:

    read about vivekananda’s vision of education. he said “Education is the manifestation of the perfection already in man”. .

  6. Hi Arnold, I agree, most people look at college education as the only determinant of success. I personally think that college education is still important, as i’ve mentioned in the article, it will give you an edge to get started, however, college education is not enough, you have to educate yourself too in other areas of life, like self-improvement and personal development. Because it will help you build more confidence, direct your decisions and actions, have an open-mind to innovate and seize opportunity. However, I kinda disagree about getting college degree to teach in college. Because I know college dropouts who are able to teach in prestigious schools, like Bill Gates (founder of Microsoft) and Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook). They don’t have college degree but they have achieved and mastered self-education (not college education) that led them to be one of the most successful people of our time. And since they’ve achieved success thru self-education, not having college diploma wasn’t an issue anymore.

  7. Hi Ashish bihani, thanks for sharing. I’ve got to read it, and i agree that education is when we’ve achieved self-mastery which we get from self-education, not in formal school education. When one discovers his/her inner self and uses it to fulfill his/her life purpose.

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