One of my favorite quotes is by American entrepreneur Jim Rohn who says, “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.”

I think it’s true. Formal education is increasingly vocational training to climb the corporate ladder. Self-education is the single most important activity you can invest your time and money in if you want to do more meaningful work and live a fulfilling life.

Did you know that it costs about $12,000 a year to educate a student in an American public school? The numbers are similar in other highly developed OECD countries. In University, this cost per student nearly doubles to $23,000 a year.

Now, what could you with that money if you had the freedom and opportunity to design your own education? What would you choose to learn and focus on?

I think this is an important question to ask because in our knowledge-based economy the process of deliberate learning can’t end with formal, government-run schooling. While the government clearly sees your education as a good investment, do you think you invested anywhere near $12,000 last year in your self-education?

In a knowledge-based economy that is changing at hyper-speed, the best investment you can make is in your own continuing self-education. While investment advisors recommend you save 10-20% of your income and invest it in your retirement fund, my advice for anyone early in their career or on the entrepreneurial path is to spend at least 10-20% of your income on your self-education.

This is how you become a master of your craft and get really good at the things you love to do, which will pay dividends not only in more income in the future but it will also make your life much more meaningful and enjoyable.

Isn’t that why we are here in the first place? To live creative and meaningful lives? Thorugh self-education anyone can create a purpose-driven life that makes a positive impact in the world.

My Best Advice For Pursuing Self-Education:

There’s a lot of talk on social media these days about biohacking, smart drugs and accelerated learning.  I’ve experimented with lots of these shortcuts with mixed results but I have found one method that has dramatically accelerated my learning curve and transformed my mindset.

The fastest way to learn I’ve found is by seeking out what I call “practicing masters”.

These are people you admire that are actually in the trenches running businesses and practicing their creative craft. Practicing masters are the creative leaders who are already doing what you want to do. You want to learn from them and model their success in your own way.

You can start out by reading their books, watching their videos and following them on social media. However, if you really want to accelerate your success, you need to build a relationship with them.

The challenge is how do you build a relationship with someone who is busy? If you’re just starting out, you can pitch them on the value you could provide to their organization and offer to work with them as an apprentice. If that’s not practical, you can hire practicing masters as a coaches, mentors, attend their retreats or join their online programs.

We weren’t meant to do things in isolation. To reach a higher level of success and mastery, we need role models, mentors and coaches. The best athletes and entrepreneurs in the world don’t merely rely on their natural talent, they have coaches that guide them along the path to greater mastery.

The fact is that most people struggle with being only accountable to themselves. When you seek out learning communities that rally around inspiring creative leaders, you will learn much faster and be much more likely to persevere through the hard work and adversity that is necessary to succeed.

So, who do you want to model and learn from? Seek them out and invest your time and money in learning from them and I can guarantee that your self-education will make a fortune.