Why School Prepares People POORLY, to Succeed OUTSIDE Paid Employment

In 1992, I graduated with the highest ever C.G.P.A of 5.9 (First class was 6.0) in Agric. Extension from Unibadan. Then, in Guinness Nigeria, I earned senior management roles in less than 6 years from 1994.

However, as an entrepreneur, I looked like a TOTAL IDIOT – for years – after starting. Yes, IDIOT, in capital letters!

It’s taken a rare brand of stubbornness, and persistence (fuelled by what I learnt by studying people who had the answers e.g. Napoleon Hill, Robert Kiyosaki, James R. Cook, Burt Dubin etc) to find my feet in the real world(outside paid employment).

The above confirms the fact that our schooling systems prepare us to be employees – and NOT entrepreneurs or business owners.

Yet, without entrepreneurs and the businesses they build, jobs would NOT exist for employees to hold!

[NB: I end this article with the download link to a FREE chapter preview PDF of Robert Kiyosaki’s “Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students”. I think parents looking for “more” answers will find it a VERY useful read.]

The problem is that the qualities needed to excel in the real world, as entrepreneurs (especially creative and independent THINKING), are basically “beaten” out of people who attend formal schooling.

This is why those who spend less (or no) time in our conventional schools are often the ones left with the “creative instincts” to excel in the real world (outside paid employment) e.g. by being self-employed or starting businesses that recruit workers!

Thomas Edison had only a few months of schooling, but had over 1,000 patents to his name.

Many Nigerian graduates end up working for less well schooled (sometimes unschooled) “Nigerian” business owners.

These bosses sometimes cannot even make correct sentences in English. BUT they have amassed wealth via big time trade, commerce or other ventures.

[NB: True, some employ crooked means, here in Nigeria. But I have also met some who do straight forward business.]

The issue of speaking correct English, like well schooled people are taught to do so well, reminds me of an anecdote I was once told…about an unschooled Igbo millionaire businessman…

He reportedly made his fortune via import and export and other trading ventures.

One day, he bought a new Lexus, and proudly showed it to a graduate friend who was visiting.

The following conversation ensued…


“Nna…see my new Lexoos” (i.e. he pronounced the “U” as in PUSH).

His friend expressed admiration for the car, and congratulated him.

But he went on to say:

“Actually the correct pronunciation is Lexus”.

And the millionaire replied mockingly:

“No problem my brother. Na YOU know the name. Na ME get am!”


It’s ironic…how “Nigerian” society “celebrates and recognizes ” you when you get top grades in school (e.g. the kids who score highest in JAMB or get eleven A’s in WAEC etc…)

But when you step into the real world as an adult, you get a rude awakening that what it really cares about is HOW MUCH MONEY you have.

Especially in Nigeria, that’s ultimately what it boils down to!

My friend Chima Ejiofor’s recent Facebook post(which part-inspired THIS article),  and comments in response to it – screenshot below – confirm the accuracy of the foregoing statement.

Chima Ejiofor's recent Facebook post,  and comments in response to it confirm the point made in this article about the paradox of formal schooling's poor preparation of it's products for success in the real world outside paid employment

Chima Ejiofor’s recent Facebook post, and comments in response to it confirm the point made in this article about the paradox of formal schooling’s poor preparation of it’s products for success in the real world outside paid employment

To save your child such pains, YOU, the parent, should be your kids’ NUMBER ONE teacher!

Do not leave that position to ANY teacher or any school, no matter how good!

You are best placed, from reading articles like this, and those by others enlightened on the subject (such as books by Kiyosaki etc) to play this important role.

In 2000, I bought “Rich Kid Smart Kid“, and “If You Want to Be Rich and Happy, Don’t Go to School“, along with “Rich Dad Poor Dad” from Amazon.com, using my Netspend.com Virtual MasterCard.

They were shipped to me in a box. Of those 3 books, the first and the 2nd made the most impact on me.

 [NB: It continues to amaze me that most Nigerians have NEVER heard of the 2nd book – which was published BEFORE Rich Dad Poor Dad, and was an international best seller!]

After reading Kiyosaki’s books, I decided to push my kids to develop income generating vocational skills and start their own businesses, BEFORE they finish school.

Today, despite my frequent travelling, and work load, I discipline myself to study each of my kids and deliberately challenge them with skills building tasks.

I often come home with some new practical thing to teach them, about the real world, and when I leave, they get an “assignment” of sorts that I follow up with them on phone.

This is why today, they are competent in making and selling their pineapple peel based drinks and cakes baked without ovens (See http://tayosolagbade.com/index.php/order-tayo-s-drinks-cakes)

My 12 year old boy now owns a shoe menders kit that he uses to fix things (shoes, bags etc) they used to pay up to N200 to have the itinerant shoemaker do for them in the past.

I simply bought the full roll of thread the metal needle for him. The 10 year old owns his own electrical kit, and conitues to fix things around the house, while building potentially useful contraptions (e.g. a rechargeable lamp box powered by my discarded laptop battery that he somehow revived!).

The purpose is not to make them become shoe makers or electricians. Instead, it’s to help them connect what they learn with the real world. And to see how income earning happens by doing so.

More importantly. these activities are powerful confidence builders, that make a child discover and BELIEVE s/he can do anythign s/he sets her mind to.

And that’s the key to making thre most of what one learns via formal schooling.

It’s the critical element missing from the “education” provided in most of our conventional schools. The reality is the providers may not be willing, or able to make needed changes to help your child.

That’s why rather than complain, the onus is on YOU to take up this role and play it well. Your child’s future success depends on this!

Some argue that I’m distracting my kids by doing all this…

I counter that there is nothing they are learning now that they cannot relearn AFTER school if needed. If that was not so, “adult education” schools would never have happened!

That’s not to say kids should not strive to do well in school.

I’m just saying I prefer to help mine strike an INTELLIGENT BALANCE, by teaching them other important things about the world they are to enter as adults, so they can roll profitably with any punches life may throw at them.

Years of painful – and embarrassing – experiences as a “well schooled failure” in entrepreneurship and other real world activities tell me this is the right thing to do.

Now, I offer real life stories about what I’m doing with my kids, not to brag or gloat.

Instead, I do it to demonstrate that it is possible – and encourage other parents to do same or better.

For those who may not know it, that is why I call myself a Performance Improvement Specialist. This is what I do. Click here to read more Parenting Articles I’ve written over the years.

That’s why I offer coaching for young people, and their parents, to help them develop and implement action plans/strategies, to break this mental barrier that school builds in their minds.

Final Words: A PDF YOU SHOULD DOWNLOAD AND READ – From Robert Kiyosaki

Click here to download the FREE chapter preview PDF from Robert Kiyosaki’s new book aptly titled “Why “A” Students Work for “C” Students

I strongly believe the story told in it, about a meeting of Henry Ford (the start illiterate billionaire owner of Ford Mothers) in his office, with some visiting academics who tried to use question to prove he was “stupid”, – only to get “educated” by him – REALLY says it all.

And if there’s one society where Ford’s quote in that PDF, about “THINKING” being the “hardest work there is” needs to be understood, it is NIGERIA!!!

Related Articles

1. Schools Can Kill Your Child’s Creativity – IF You Don’t Apply These Tips

2. Anyone – Including Kids In School – Can Achieve Success Via Part Time Entrepreneuring

3. A New Generation of Entrepreneurs PROVES That Our Schools Need To Offer a Different Kind of Education!

4. Involve Your Kids in Your Dream, and They’ll Succeed Too

5. When You’re Not Working, Create a Bigger Dream (Hint: New Product – My Pineapple Peels Based Cakes…Made Without an Oven!)

6. Are Your Kids Ready to Succeed in Your World?

[IMPORTANT: This blog's contents are being updated following the transfer to www.tayosolagbade.com from my former domain - Spontaneousdevelopment.com. As a result, some parts of it may not work properly for now. Quick Tip: If a link contains "spontaneousdevelopment.com", simply change it to "tayosolagbade.com" - and it should work. This applies to article links as well as image links. Work continues to update the links(in over 500 articles). Tayo K. Solagbade.]

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