Introduction

Who is this book for?

Dropouts.

Who are we?

We’re purposeful, and know that everyone has a purpose and we sure as hell know our own. We know why we do what we do. We’re great communicators and strong influencers. We relentlessly learn whatever we can from anyone we can, recognizing the deferred gratification that learning provides throughout the course of a lifetime. We’re hustlers, and we win every minute that we spend alive. We see the world as it is and dedicate time to understand the occurrences around us. We’re defiant in the best sense of the word, and we’re not only reluctant to, but we refuse to accept the status quo and we challenge it in a chase for the simple idea of better”. We practice great equanimity and recognize our power to change the small things today for big change tomorrow. We don’t just want to change ourselves—we want to change the world.

However, there’s no degree program for changing the world, and success has nothing to do with educational institutions or pieces of paper. That’s why we’re dropouts in the first place.

This is no remarkable discovery. It simply doesn’t make sense to believe that we are all doomed without an educational institution to lead us to the promised land. For example, Warren Buffett graduated from the University of Nebraska, and as of 2017 is one of the richest men on the planet with an estimated net worth of over $80 billion. Surely, if you want to become a billionaire, you need to attend the University of Nebraska.

Yet just in the last 10 years, millions of college graduates have tried just that, and very few of them are billionaires. Maybe the university is the wrong place to search for Warren Buffett levels of success.

That such an institution, merely by way of having graduated Warren Buffett, can guarantee his level of success is preposterous. Yet it seems as though the vast majority of parents, teachers, and even students themselves believe that success lies not in understanding the principles of success, but in attending the best schools and obtaining the fanciest titles. Guess what: the prestigious degree and pretentious title don’t mean a damn thing.

In fact, your failures and bad grades in high school don’t mean much either. Just because you didn’t have the grades to get accepted into a big-name university doesn’t mean it’s all over for you. Though it’s true that if you were a really successful autodidact in the 9th grade, maybe all of your classes would have been a piece of cake, and you would have coasted through high school with no problems all while maintaining a long-term vision on the true success that you were chasing outside of school. That doesn’t matter now. The best time to start applying yourself was four years ago. The second best time is now. So, take your circumstances and forget about them right now. You won’t be needing them in this book. (Or ever.)

While it’s possible to succeed without any paper evidence of a formal education, this book is not meant to encourage you to drop out and make it any more difficult for yourself, nor to abandon a career path that may well require a college education (doctor, lawyer, etc.). Throughout this book, I want you to learn what truly leads to success, no matter where you think you’re going in life.

So…

What if I told you that you don’t need a degree to be successful? Or a high school diploma? Or even a GED? The fact is that there have been plenty of wildly successful people that dropped out of college, high school, and some that barely received a formal education at all. They discovered the secrets to success outside of institutions. Abraham Lincoln, Coco Chanel, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Wolfgang Puck, and Bobby Fischer were all dropouts to varying degrees. It is true that these people are the exception and not the rule, and that imitating their life course won’t guarantee you success any more than a degree will. However, we can and will learn from these remarkable individuals to find out what it takes to succeed with or without degrees, or a formal education at all.

No matter our position or status, whether or not we’re in college, high school, or even in a dead end job, we all have to think like dropouts. The dropout mentality—that of doing the real work that creates great people rather than relying on an institution—is the only route to success. The paths that the great men and women in history took reveal this fact, as we will see throughout this book. Even if you do receive a valuable” piece of paper at an institution, you will still have to emulate these principles in order to achieve similar feats. We are all dropouts, and these are the things that we do to succeed.