Is There a Relationship Between Education and Income?

The popular belief going around is that you need to go to college to become successful. Now success can mean many things, but in this case I want to define success in terms of income. Is there a relationship between education and income?

Well, let's have you decide that for yourself and then I'll give my opinion on what needs to be done for success.

Successful People Without Education

Most of the people you see below are widely known. Obviously it would be impossible for me to document every known success without an education. Also, one's relationship between education and income is highly debatable. At what income determines your success?

The point is not to become analytical. What I'm trying to show you is that the widespread, limiting belief that you need an education to be successful or earn lots of money could be false. Let's dive in and take a look at some successes with limiting education right now.

  • Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, became an entrepreneur at the age of 16 and has no college degree. He has an estimated net worth of 2.5 billion dollars with over 350 "Virgin" company brands. If you read up on Richard Branson, one of the things he is quoted for is that he doesn't start a business for the money, he does it because of the fun and adventure.
  • John Paul DeJoria, CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, runs an industry leading hair care products business. John doesn't have an education in college and started out selling greeting cards. According to Forbes, his estimated net worth is 4 billion dollars.
  • Mukesh “Micky” Jagtiani, Chairman of Landmark International (Dubai), is in the retailing business. He is a billionaire developer who dropped out of accounting school as a teenager and has no formal education.
  • David Oreck is founder of Oreck vacuum cleaners. He has no college experience and enlisted in the army during world war II.
  • Walt Disney dropped out of high school at age of 16. Disney experienced the bottom of the barrel then to huge success. He had to of been one of the greatest visionaries and entrepreneurs in history. His company today is worth over 35 billion dollars that Walt built from the ground up.
  • Debbi Fields is famous for her cooking, has no college education and was a 20 year old housewife.
  • Henry Ford is founder of Ford Motor Company who didn't finish high school and at the age of 16 left home to apprentice as a machinist.
  • Milton Hershey was successful with his Hershey Chocolate company and only received a fourth grade education.
  • Steve Jobs only attended one semester of college and went on to create Apple Computers. His net worth is around 5.1 billion dollars.
  • Rachael Ray has no formal training in culinary arts and became a huge success in the food industry and network TV.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright surpassed all odds when he became the most influential architect of the twentieth century. Frank didn't even graduate high school.
  • John D. Rockefeller, founder of Standard Oil and richest man of his time, was said to be a high school drop-out. He became the first American billionaire and was heavy into philanthropy.
  • Bob Proctor is a corporate and personal success magnet. His company is Life Success and he serves millions and millions of people across the globe in personal transformation. Bob didn't graduate from high school, was a fireman, a cleaner, worked for Earl Nightingale and then launched is own personal transformation company.

Successful People with a College Education

There are many people who have a secondary education and beyond (PhD) that are very successful. Probably just as many as the individuals who are major successes without an education. Listed below are some successes who graduated from college and even higher.

  • Stephen Hawking is a great author and physicist. He graduated with a B.A. in England at Oxford University and his Ph.D. from its longtime rival school, Cambridge. Stephen is a leader in “How things work in this universe”, from a scientific perspective. He wrote the book, “A brief history of time” and despite his severe motor neuron disease he has become a huge success with many awards in physics.
  • Sergey Mikhailovich Brin, co-founder of Google who has an estimated net worth of 12 billion dollars and is the 26th richest person in the world. Brin graduated from the University of Maryland and went on to attempt his PhD at Stanford University. Brin and co-founder Larry Page, started a massive data mining system and built a superior search engine to find websites for the growing internet. This superior search engine is known as Google.
  • Warren Buffet graduated from Columbia University and owns the major successful company Berkshire Hathaway. In 2008, he was rated by Forbes Magazine to be the richest man in the world with a net worth of 62 billion dollars.
  • Donald Trump is a billionaire real estate developer. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. What's unique about Trump is his resilience in the face of adversity. He filed for bankruptcy three times with the most recent in 2009. Even after all that, Trump is continuing business as an entrepreneur and creating more value to the world.

What About Everybody Else?

Unfortunately, the people (categories in general) above are only a small percentage of the population. I once heard that only 3 percent or less of the world's population earns 97 percent of the income. So, what does that mean for the other 97 percent of the population? What's their relationship between education and income?

I couldn't find accurate or easy-to-find information for the world population, but I did find some interesting stats for individual income in the United States.

About 36 percent of the population in America earns between $25,000 and $50,000. Sixteen percent of the population earns between $50,000 and $75,000. Finally, only 17 percent of the population earns above $100,000. I suspect the percentage gets way less above $250,000-- probably lower than 10 percent.

So, what does all this mean? What's the true relationship between education and income? There is none.

Thinking you need an education or college degree to become successful is a limiting belief that's probably holding millions of people back from tapping into their highest potential. Normally the A and B students in school work for the C students.

I agree that basic education is needed to develop communication skills and intellectual skills. However, what does most of the educational system teach us to do? It teaches us that success is in a piece of paper you receive, so you can get a job. According to our traditional educational system, if you don't have a degree you won't be as successful as those who get a degree. In most cases, getting a job helps the economy keep running, but doesn't help you become financially wealthier.

If you can ditch the limiting belief that you need an education or a degree to become successful, you'll release that limiting block with-in and create a space where you can tap in and express your own creativity.

The first step is to investigate the truth.

  • What's your current financial situation right now?

  • Do you love what you do?

  • How do you react when you believe that you need an education or degree to be successful?

  • Who would you be without the story that you need an education of degree to be successful?

Answering the above questions will reveal the truth to what's holding back your potential and heal any limitations for the relationship between education and income. Now, let's move on to what's needed to become a success in any form and any area of your life.

The Tools for Success

Success is not in what you do, but how you do it. In other words, the only relationship between education and income is the identity that you define for that relationship.

If you define yourself as an impatient and bad driver, you'll express your identity as an impatient and bad driver, then create the fact. My girlfriend is always saying that women can be such bad drivers in New Hampshire. Almost every time we are out together we see a situation where some woman driver makes a crazy driving mistake out on the road. Are women really bad drivers up in New Hampshire? Or does my girlfriend just have a belief that women are bad drivers in New Hampshire and her belief makes her notice all the bad drivers?

Whatever you believe, you'll judge and notice. And if you judge it, then it's part of your reality. I don't believe women are bad drivers in New Hampshire. Therefore, I never judge and notice bad driving done by women in New Hampshire. I believe everyone is a bad driver. (haha, that's joke :)

However you define your experience, the “I am”, is the identity you choose to take on for yourself.

So if “How you do it” is the only contributor to your success, how do you do “how you do it?”

Walt Disney, Richard Branson, the Google founders and Henry Ford all became successes with imagination and the will to follow through.

All things are possible in the imagination, aren't they? You can imagine yourself being a great author right here and now if you wanted too. However, many of us think that just because we can imagine it doesn't mean it's real. And because of that the dream is lost.

Walt Disney held the picture of Disney land and being a great animator for God knows how long. He even went bankrupt seven times before his dreams hit. Disney believed that his imagination was real and he followed through and acted upon it day in and day out. Disney even quoted, “If you can dream it you can achieve it.”

The masses do not use their imagination wisely. It's not their fault because I don't ever recall teachings done in school on how to use your imagination. This is how we were trained. We need to retrain ourselves and that begins now.

Begin to really contemplate and dream about the life and contribution you want to make. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. Just lay down and get comfortable on your couch. Close your eyes and begin seeing what your ideal life is all about. Define who you really want to become and start imagining those details.

I use to get out a sheet of paper, draw a small stick figure in the center and write “Who is Nick” above the figure's head. Then, I would draw little bubbles and inside write all the qualities, experiences and characteristics that I wanted to become. I wrote things like “courage, a great giver, valuable, leading entrepreneur, healthy and fit, an author” and so on.

I became very detailed on the life I wanted to experience and who I wanted to become. Doing this shaped my context and a new reality for life began to form.

Imagination by itself is useless. You must have the will to follow through on the pictures and ideas you have in your mind. Without will, all you have is wishful thinking. Bill Gates didn't just stumble into Microsoft. There is no way such a complex system can be stumbled upon. He wasn't in the right place at the right time or he wasn't just lucky.

I'm sure Mr. Gates had a vision of him creating this technology that could make life more enjoyable for anyone that uses it. Bill Gates trusted himself and trusted his vision. He expressed his will to succeed and took action upon his idea. Now, we have computers available for home use and the technology just gets better and better. Maybe Mr. Gate's first piece of action was dropping out of Harvard.

The only relationship between education and income that I see is the education of knowing yourself. Do you use your imagination to picture your dreams? Can you visualize your ideal life and contribution to this world? Are you acting upon the dream in your imagination? Do you have the willpower and courage to make it happen at all cost? Even if it means dropping out of Harvard?

I hope so. All success starts in the imagination. And all success received is in your will to follow through upon the images in your imagination. There will be challenges. There will be bumps. But the reward has to be greater than the challenges so you see it to the finish. Fall in love with an idea and see it to become a reality.

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