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Matt Damon, Why I Hate College, and The Secret to Success

This needs to be said…

In this video today, I share my thoughts on Matt Damon, Why I Hate College, and the Secret to Success.

And it was inspired by an episode of Kitchen Nightmares.

On the show, an award winning pizza place made a fatal mistake… and they were left on the brink of bankruptcy.

The harsh truth is, this mistake is a mistake that any one of us can make. Especially if we’re already comfortable with our level of success in life.

So go watch the video.

Why I Hate College (And The Secret To Success)

One of my favorite quotes is from Good Will Hunting, when Matt Damon says:

“You dropped a hundred-and-fifty grand on an education you coulda’ got for a dollar fifty in late charges at the public library.”


Because he’s right.

Now, I’m not saying that college is worthless because that little piece of paper serves its purpose in many scenarios.

But here’s what I truly believe: Whether you went to college or not…

What you learn in college is not nearly as important as what you learn after you graduate.

And that’s the truth.

No matter WHAT you specialize in.

I’m Derek Halpern, the founder of Social Triggers. And in this video, I’ll show you why some people get left behind in business and life…

…while others go on to become the world’s best, super rich, and live the world’s greatest life of luxury.

Okay, that was a little over the top. But watch the video anyway.

My man Jim Rohn says it best:

“Formal education will make you a living. Self education will make you a fortune.”

I’ll explain.

Now, I know I’m preaching to the choir right now. You’re watching this video because you believe in learning new things after you graduate from college.

But this video isn’t just about you. This video is for everyone. This video is for the people in your life who you think are not reaching their full potential.

I know I’ve got people in my life like that. I know you do, too.

This video is for the people who started their career and promptly stopped learning.

And whether you think it’s true or not, it’s more common than you think.

This video is for the people who should learn and don’t.

Let me share a quick story…

The other day, I was watching “Kitchen Nightmares.”

And it featured this one restaurant that was in business for more than 25 years. A pizza place.

Back when it opened, it was rated one of the BEST pizza places in the city.

Unfortunately, that was about 20 years ago. Nowadays, it fell off. And it fell off hard.

Gordon Ramsay ran a blind taste test. He had three pies of pizza: one from a competing pizza place, one previously frozen piece of pizza, and one from the pizza place that was once rated the best pizza in the city.

What happened?

The pizza that was previously rated the best was rated as the worst pizza.

SO, it might have been good 20 years ago, but the creator of that pizza was stuck in a time that was 20 years ago. He was resting on his laurels despite the market (and people) changing.

He refused to learn how to adapt with the NEW way of doing things. And that’s why his pizza place was struggling.

Now, what’s this have to do with why I hate college?

I have no qualms with college and the things people learn in college.

Sure, it’s expensive. And you’re forced to learn things that you have no interest in learning about.

And while that sucks, the reason why I hate college is this:

People think they need to go to school to learn how to do something new.

And worse, if they’re not in school, they don’t learn anything new.

Think about it.

I’ve got friends who haven’t read a book, attended a seminar, or done ANYTHING that helps them learn a new skill…

…unless they were in school or their employer forced them to take a class.

When times are good, that’s okay. You’re not going to reach your full potential, but at least you’re not going to go hungry.

But what happens when times are bad?

What happens when companies around the world lay you off in an economic crisis? Like in 2008?

That’s when you’re in trouble.


When you do the same thing for years, and you can no longer do that thing, you’re going to be falling out of an airplane without a parachute.

So, I don’t hate college because of what college stands for. I hate college because of the mass indoctrination of the idea that you need to go to college to learn something new.

So, what’s the solution? How can we prevent this?

Well, the answer is much simpler than you might think.

And since you’re watching this video, you’re probably already doing it.

There’s a new trend that has developed with the advent of mass content creation, social media, and the like.

It’s called the Rise of the “Personal Learning Network.”

Or a PLN.

This sounds more complicated than it is. In layman’s terms:

A PLN is the people you choose to connect with for the sole purpose of learning something new.

Kind of like why you’re subscribed to Social Triggers. Or other informal teachers.

You’re putting together a network of people that you wish to learn from so you can get ahead in business and life.

Here’s the thing:

This behavior is common for me and you. It’s also common for business owners, entrepreneurs, and other people who are looking to make a huge impact in the world.

The problem is, the idea of putting together these Personal Learning Networks hasn’t reached the masses… yet.

That’s why you and I both know people who haven’t learned anything since they left college.

That’s why that poor pizza place was on the brink of bankruptcy.

That’s why people struggled to find jobs after they got laid off.

So, how can we solve this problem as a community?

We’ve got to show people that it’s okay to learn things after you graduate from college.

And more important, we’ve got to show people it’s okay to learn things that don’t necessarily directly relate to what they’re currently doing.


We need to BRAG about the things we learned after college… and how it impacted our life.

We’ve got to show people that informal learning is driving innovation and success.

And the best way I know how to do this is by bragging. The more we show people that it’s possible, the more they’ll be interested in doing it for themselves.

We’ve got to show people – and BRAG – about the things we learned after college and how it impacted our life.

I know it sounds silly. And simple.

But I have a sneaking suspicion we as a community can really get this idea to catch on.

So, here’s what I want you to do today:

Leave a comment below this video. In that comment, I want you to say this:

Who is one informal teacher in your personal learning network? What have they taught you that directly benefited you?

Then, think of 3 people who you can share this video with. And prompt them to brag by leaving a comment as well.

Why am I asking you to do this?

A few reasons:

I know you believe in self education. You’re here watching this video.

So, I want us all to show off the benefits of self education by bragging about the results of it.

Then, I want you to share it because I suspect the more people we get talking about informal teachers, we’ll have an exhaustive list of GREAT informal teachers people should follow.

Heck, I’m hoping you introduce me to a new informal teacher that may benefit me and my life. Just like I’m sure you’re hoping to find one as well.

And that’s it for today.

Thank you for watching this video.

If you’re new here, be sure to you subscribe to my channel, and hop on the Social Triggers email list.

In addition to weekly videos, I also share other great tips for getting ahead in business and life. Things like how to negotiate, networking tips for people who hate networking, and tips on building a wildly profitable and success business/a>.

So, do that now. And I’ll see you in the next video.

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71 comments Leave a comment
Charity Nicole

I love this video so much. I wholeheartedly believe we should be CONSTANTLY learning! Growing your skill set, in my opinion, is the only way to secure yourself in this millennium. With that said, I want to mention Star Khechara as one of my fave informal teachers. I have so many I could name, but I resonate with Star more than anyone else because of the things we have in common as well as her brazenness and street smarts. <3

Brian Lawson

You cannot saying the school is unnecessary but the fact that i am a self-made i learned by myself all the lessons that i need to be good in my profession as a web designer .


Although I got a degree from Uni, I believe I learned more after I finished it. Marketing was not something that was taught to me at college, I had to learn it through trial and error. I learned how to create a website, create products and which channels to market through just from hunting around the web for the information.


Awesome rant, Derek- you make powerful points! I am always amazed at how many ppl just don’t read and learn and continue to grow in their lives.
I learn a lot from Ryan Lee, Brendan Burchard, Tyler Garns, Seth Godin, and even this Derek Halpern guy.
Rock on!


Paula Pant, Sarah Peterson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Don Luis and his son Juan (shamans I met in the Amazon), all the business owners I interact with on a daily business at my current job as a municipal health inspector, all the locals I’ve met while traveling away from home, Jeff Goins, Eckhart Tolle, Taylor Marie Milton.

Mark Curtis

Hey Derek,

I enjoyed the video. And you’re spot on about learning. Knowledge is power. People who know me know that I repeat my favorite quote religiously.

It’s: “Not all education revolves around a building.”

Especially, in the world on online marketing, blogging, social media and the like. There’s no college degree for that.

Thanks for the post,



I have 3 college degrees and am lucky to get away with $30,000 in debt. College degrees are worthwhile for certain people.

For me as an entrepreneur, they haven’t been that helpful. They have raised my awareness to certain issues, so I don’t regret having gone to college.

One of my favorite things about entrepreneurship, though, is learning new things. There’s truly no end to it. And when it actually makes a difference in my life, I can’t get enough of that.

Now, I’m learning from people who know how to build relationships because I’m good at numbers and logistics.


team treehouse, GABBY BERNSTEIN, Marie Forleo….These three people/ organizations combined have taught me WAY more than I ever learned in college!


Hey Derek I totally agree with you. I am on finishing line of my Engineering course, here we learn how to do paper more than do engineering actually. But formal teachers teach how to do things, so I could realize later one is more productive sometime. Its my personal experience.

There are many Formal Teachers who are nurturing my mind including you. Seth Godin is my favorite teacher.

Justin Stenstrom

Good Will Hunting – my favorite movie all time; it’s filled with loads of good tips and advice. Damon’s right about his library quote for sure. I feel like people learn a lot of crap in college and stuff that is useless and not applicable. By learning things via the library, internet, books, etc. on your own, you definitely learn things more practically because YOU choose what you actually want to learn. Good video man!


    Hey Derek, Dr. Wayne Dyer has been a massive teacher of mine for several years now, he’s helped transform my life as well as Don Miguel Ruiz, unbelievable teachings, and you’re right, all after University…that’s why we need to get kids involved in learning what they’re interested in and provide them with alternate forms of learning, and expert research. This is something that I’m currently working on and love it!


Hi Derek I really enjoyed the video. I know what you mean about people who stop learning once they leave the formal education environment. I love learning by myself since I’m really curious about how things work. It is fun to discover how things are put together. One of my goals is to get more books and read more because at the moment I’m watching too much YouTube hah


Hey Derek.

Some of the greatest changes in my life happened after I got the degree. I really started believing in myself, and I can actually look people in eye today. So, I agree with you whole heartedly. And thank you for speaking about something that is so important. I’ll be joining you and bragging about the power of self-knowledge to everyone.

You are amazing! Thank you.


Trenton erker

John Janstch, Frank Kern, Marie Forleo


I have many informal teachers – never really thought about it being a Personal Learning Network, though that is exactly what it is.
You (selling) are one of those teachers and Marie Forleo (sales) as well a Michelle Shaeffer (blogging) and Darren Rowse (writing).

The one thing I warn against is learning and not doing anything with that knowledge. You end up being in the same place as those who choose not to learn past college – maybe you’re worse off having the knowledge and sitting on it.

Katherine Copeland

Chris Brogan: don’t talk about why you’re qualified – talk to the people you’re helping about them and how you solve their problems. AND only schedule 40% of your time.
Kevan Lee at Buffer: everything I know about social media, other than what I learned from Jon Loomer about Facebook.
Seth Godin: everything I know about everything.


My biggest informal influences are Don Miguel Ruiz, Morty Lefkoe, Steve Pavlina, Jack Canfield, Paul Sheele. People, who are dedicated to balanced financial and spiritual development

Diego Lucero

I didn’t graduate from a college, but I have found that in many ways, that did not really matter to my success.

A few years out of high school, I partnered up with a friend of mine named Brandon Gradeless to help to run a small start-up residential window cleaning company. He taught me many things, but the one thing that really has helped me the most was his approach to selling and marketing — selling solutions instead of products and features.

The way he explained it, people always value solutions over products. With a solution, people know how the product or service would directly benefit them, because it would solve a specific need or pain-point in their lives.

He also explained that whenever people sell products and features first, they tend to try to persuade people to purchase whatever it was that they were selling.

So he taught me to first assess the needs of the prospect, and when that was done, I would recommend an appropriate solution that met their needs, whether or not it involved my products or services.

This way, I always provided value first, and the consultancy positioning would endear me as an expert professional that put his clients needs ahead of his own. It made me trustworthy, and therefore worthy of being referred to.

Imran Soudagar

I am in the final year of my college and I will be out within the next few months. One thing that I learnt from college is that self-education is best and that’s what keeps us employed.


Richard Branson is an amazing person to follow. ‘Like a Virgin’ is one of my favorite books, plus it’s an inspiring story!
Bill Baren is also a great one, he showed me how to use ‘premium packages’ to take my business to a higher level.
Jeff Walker, author of ‘Launch’, the book was quite interesting and worth the read. It shows what’s possible from doing a successful product launch and outlines the steps.
Many others I follow have already been mentioned.

Michael Mota @NTPNW

Another great post Derek
Informal Teachers Tony Robbons, Pat Flynn, and Robert Kiorsaki

Learnt more from them (& others) since leaving school

Steena Brown

I have learned a lot from Jeff Goins about claiming my work and professional identity even though I am not solely a writer (as he is). I went to school for business because I wanted to run my own business… What a joke! I never knew informal teachers for business and marketing existed until last year. Callan Rush was my introduction to the concept. What a relief to find out I am not alone.

Jen Hidalgo

AMEN!! This was such a great topic. Throughout the past 12 years I’ve been an informal learner of natural beauty techniques, self growth and nutrition. My informal teachers have been Dr. Gillian McKeith, David Wolfe, Nadine Artemis, Marie Forleo, Kris Carr, Gaby Bernstein – I could go on and on.

I graduated college with an accounting degree and worked in Finance for 10 years. I’m also recent grad from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

A few months ago I left the corporate world and decided to start a health coaching business. I plan to teach others what I have been been informally learning throughout all these years. YAY!

Thanks again for this video, I will definitely share it with my followers.



Thank you for the video!

Dale Carnegies book taught me the basics of human relations and persuation. Marie Forleo explained well how to adapt in real life situations that are stressful and seemed like out of control. And I thank them for it.

You taught me informaly why should I pursue what I wanted to do. And taught me the value of learning and expanding knowledge in life.

And lastly, my wife. She practically teaches me how to apply all those things I learned from my informal teachers. Sadly I have a hard time passing her standards. Lol!

Thanks again!

Jo Jo

Great video Derek
This is exactly why my children are home educated ( unschooled ) it makes for much brighter, self-motivated and passionate learners. I’ve unlearnt and learnt much more since I’ve left school.


Informal Teacher Taki Moore, Tony Robbons, Brendon Burchard, Marianne Williamson, Seth Godin, John Jantsch & Audible.com

Learnt much more from these (& others) since leaving school


great video as always.

the informal teacher i follow (other than you Derek) are Mike Vardy (productivityist), Laura Vanderkam, Josh Kofman (personal MBA). That’s only the english speaking ones (I’m French)

i’m also a fan and client of creative live. I have watch many great courses there.

i’m some how surprised that you didn’t mention the easiest way to informal education : reading.

the get in shape girl

I apply little from college to my daily life. The best thing I got from college that I implement today are my writing skills. I write a lot in my blogs, emails, etc and much of it is persuasive.

I also received “formal” education from my personal training certification, much of which I use today, but that did not require a college degree.

Taking B-School, subscribing to this newsletter, and going to your seminar helped me much more in my business than school did.


Awesome list of SMEs, inspirational types, and perspirational types (that pay their dues, making money the old-fashioned way – they earned it). Every day I add the best practices and tips offered by the greats. As the saying goes, we are the average of the five people around us (As well as those we follow, our face to face or virtual mentors, etc.)… So choose wisely, grasshopper.

That said, The Internet raging river of information can easily overload us. It’s just as important – scratch that – far more important to have quiet meditation time to assimilate how to actually implement all of the best practices, tips, tricks and traps in our daily lives and business world. Bottom line, either look in the mirror or look with them for your ultimate life teacher!

Lastly, as the saying goes – if you don’t blow your own horn someone else will use it as a spittoon. Once we believe in our self, find our “voice” and follow Gary Vaynerchuk’s principle (give, give, give, give – ask), we are on the road to success. Derek has always had a great voice, initially in his awesome blog post. And I am so pleased that Marie Forlio encouraged him to create these easily digestible videos to complement his textual posts. Derek’s style and voice exudes down to earth tip, confidence, inspiration, social interaction with a call to actions that are easily doable. As Amy Cuddy said it best in her TED talk, we don’t fake it until we make it – we think it until we BECOME it! Believing in yourself is a beautiful, miraculous gift to behold…

Dr X

In terms of business/marketing-related blogs, I love Ramit Sethi – enough said. James Altucher has some great articles on entrepreneurship and writing. Tim Ferriss has some good stuff too on business and success, once you get past his narcissism. Seth Godin has some interesting ideas too.


Someone here mentioned Bill Burr (awesome) – our spiritual leader in my men’s group has been a great balance in my life. I follow more than a few local and national experts and feed on their creativity and expertise. Calling them my own PLN is brilliant…


Pat Flynn (smartpassiveincome.com), Derek Halpern (socialtriggers.com), Sean D’ Souza (psychotactics.com), Perry Marshall (perrymarshall.com), Dean Jackson & Joe Polish (ilovemarketing.com), Jon Morrow (boostblogtraffic.com), and just recently Jason Leister (artofclients.com).

Through those people I’ve learned how to be a better marketer and business owner, WHILE leading with integrity and a sincere desire to help others.

With these guys there’s no boasting, no hype, no shiny objects that they’re constantly hawking, no over-the-top shenanigans… just simple proven foundation-building processes that they use everyday in their own businesses to get to where they are. They practice what they preach.

Unlike others in my email inbox, I actually read (and sometimes save), the emails that I get from these guys.

Jennifer Haston

Hi Derek!

Thank you for another on point post!! Four of my informal teachers are
Ryan Avery – great speaker such fantastic energy- http://ryanavery.com/
Chelsea Turner Avery- blog on what it means to be a wife-http://thenewwifestyle.com
Jon Acuff- real thought leader on inspiration and getting unstuck-
Christy Wright- Business Coach/Speaker -http://christywright.com/


This one is obviously only for men. I learned how to meet a woman who is just passing by me on the street from guys named Yad, Tom Torero and Andy Yosha.

If you are interested, you can watch their youtube videos here:


Ron Lum

I actually learned all the knowledge I now know in my current career (web development) on my own. Truth be told, there isn’t really a college curriculum for web development, so a lot of crash courses aka bootcamps are popping up for web developers everywhere, where people can develop marketable skills in 2-4 months time. A typical college degree meanwhile, takes 3-5 years, mainly because there is a lot of useless filler.

My college education was in accounting. Despite having a bachelor’s and going through 3 accounting internships, I actually do not have any practical accounting skills. Even when I was being paid $20/hr in a public accounting firm as an intern, I was really not learning anything at all.

Marina De Giovanni

I never went to college and it was through self education that I was able to be successful in my career, and at a young age too. I was paid more than my colleagues who went to college and were still paying off college debts…

Informal teachers? I’ve got about 30 which are all the obvious leaders in informal teaching. Lately though, I’ve asked myself quite often; ‘what would _ _ _ _ _ do’. Sometimes it’s ‘Derek’, sometimes it’s ‘Ramit’.


I took away 3 things from my college education.
1. A diploma
2. A different way of thinking
3. Life long friends

A college education is worth less today than it was even ten years ago, and it comes at a much greater cost. The curriculum has not kept pace with the world, i.e. the internet at what it has to offer.

I read a lot, books, blogs, journal articles. I have always had a thirst for knowledge, and there is so much knowledge and not enough time to absorb it all. I personally know people that have read only a handful of books in their lifetime, sometimes I have a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that they have absolutely no interest in learning new things, but to each his own.

If sitting on the couch or your favorite armchair with remote in hand searching for something to watch makes you happy, I’m okay with it.

Joseph Richard

I’ve learned through books from people like Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawkins and Toney Robins to mention a few.


Hey Derek

You were my first informal online teacher!

Then I have learned from Jeff Walker, Andy Jenkins, Frank Kern, Mike Filsaime, Lewis Howe, Amy Porterfield and many others.

It’s good to be a part of this community 🙂

Zita Vasilisinova

Great episode. I have a young daughter and I don’t even think it is necessary for me to save for her college fund. I do foresee the idea of higher education changing a lot in the near future. However personally, I feel like I have learned a lot in college, I studied what I really loved (film and philosophy) and received some really good basic information. However I don’t think it was worth the price. It would be awesome if college could be made out of internet courses like yours.

Steven Davis

Andy Bounds book Jelly Effect.

Adam Martin

For me, there are a few:

Michael Hyatt, Jeff Goins, Pat Flynn, John Lee Dumas, & Jamie Tardy.

Owen Marcus

Growing up with dyslexia, I was forced go beyond what and how I was learning in college. What was a struggle became a gift.

My recommendation, particularly for men is to learn how to feel, express, and act from an emotional congruent place. As men, we are more limited by how we are taught to be emotional than we are by any other phenomenon.

My list of where to learn these out of book skills is extensive. So rather than leave a long list here – check out this resource on by blog: http://owenmarcus.com/resources.

Doug Weir

My favorite, based on all the books of his that I’ve read, is Robert Kiyosaki of Rich Dad fame.
He’s right I didn’t learn financial literacy in school.
And guess what, after toiling more than 14 years as a Phd scientist, I just got laid off. So now is the time for me to follow in the foot steps of Pat Flynn.



I dropped out of high school half way through my junior year, got my GED and did go on to get a bachelor’s degree, but I’m a big proponent of informal education and also the idea that traditional college is NOT for everyone.

Amazing informal teachers who have helped me grow: you, Darren Rowse, Ramit Sethi, Marie Forleo, Gala Darling, Bob & Susan Negan of WhizBang Training (back when I thought I wanted to run a retail store), Megan Auman of Crafting an MBA, Jena Coray (Modish), Tara Gentile, Regina Anaejionu, and so many more…


Pat Flynn (smartpassiveincome.com), Cliff Ravenscraft (podcastanswerman.com), Sal Khan (KhanAcademy.org) and of course Derek Halpern!

Derek– awesome video! I especially liked the part about how so many people only learn what their job forces them to learn.

To add to your point– many people think that their college major has to be very closely related to their future job. It doesn’t. I currently work as an airline pilot and notice that most pilots who were aviation majors in college, have very little to talk about. They also have almost nothing to fall back on in an industry with a long history of job instability.

I had an uncle who was a college history major and a medical doctor. People should study what they want to study. They’ll be more successful, interesting, and happy.

These “one-subject” people also miss out on seeing how methods from one field can apply to another, the way checklists that reduce errors in airplanes can also reduce errors in hospitals.

I wonder if this “one-subject-only” mindset might stem from our origin as tribal creatures that don’t like to venture into another tribe. 🙂

Sarah Jordan

You are so right, Derek. Oh man! It always cracks me up when people tell me, “I’m in college because I want my own business.”

Informal teachers who taught me the most include: you, Marie Forleo, Denise Duffield Thomas, Star Khechara, Lisa Sasevich, Leonie Dawson, and many others.

I’m sharing this video with my list of 1000+ people/customers when I send my newsletter next week.

Zoe Neill

Ramit Sethi of www. iwillteachtoyouberich.com
He’s an amazing, inspiring, talented, growth-mindset psychology teacher. I’ve got 7 years of university education, a couple diplomas, and a few certificates, but I learn so much from him from his 1K on the side course that it gave me the courage to leave my partnership and go freelance. And as for actually being a doctor, I only started to learn what I needed to know after I left med school and started working with real people.


Also, I always say that if the founders of the first Universities could be resurrected and brought here for a month of a leisurely field trip into our time, they would say, “Why do you still have the same type of colleges that we did? We didn’t have an abundance of books so scholars were vital to sharing information. This thing you have now called ‘The Internet’ removes that problem! It’s time to re-think your education model.”

Olivier Lambert

Hereck Dalpern is in my PLN…




I am a waitress. I write about service. I care immensely about teamwork, hospitality and creating good culture. So…

My teacher is Joseph Coleman, the owner of the first restaurant that I worked at. He started as a waiter at an internationally well known hotel and wanted to have a restaurant with the best service in town. He made a big sign and attached it to his ceiling that said something to the effect of, “OWN YOUR OWN RESTAURANT. MAKE IT AWESOME.” It was the first thing he saw when he went to bed and woke up.

He convinced people to lend him money for his restaurant. (It must have been a lot of money. It’s a decent size restaurant, funky and a wine list of 700+ wines including some of the states only DRC’s.) He paid back all of his investors in one year. He waited tables. He built his service team whcih I eventually was hired into. Holy crap, talk about a beating. I have never had expectations to deliver on that were so high, I have also never had the support and training to get there.

Now, 17 years later he is like frickin Monopoly. He’s bought up the entire block. A church next door, a house, and an old abandoned elementary school. He turned the school into a funky cocktail bar, and a deli and bakery so he can get great product for his restaurant. They hold weekly meetings for entrepreneurs. …

This guy is the shit. Here’s why I love him and a lot of people don’t. He gave a real shit. If he smelt on you that you didn’t like the hospitality industry, he would take you for a walk, find out what you really wanted to be doing with your life and fire you saying, “You need to start taking steps to live your dream. What the hell are you doing wasting my time and yours here?” And he would offer help and support to those that had a vision. He isn’t soft, he is purposeful.


When I was young, 18-ish, I was rather, um, …I didn’t stand up for myself very well. I really respected people that didn’t put up with bullshit, spoke honestly, had integrity and didn’t let fear guide them, ever. So I faked it. I found two people who emulated those characteristics. When a situation arose in which I was intimidated or fearful about, I slipped out of Jennifer mode and pretended I was one of my two role-models. What would they do, feel, think and say right now? And I did, felt, thought and said exactly that. Now years later I don’t have to slip out of Jennifer mode to be that, I stay comfortably in my own mind and skin and am exactly who I want to be. BOOM!


I now write every morning. Blah, blah, blah in my notebook. I have found through that dedicated habit that I in fact am the best educator for myself.


I have learned a great deal of valuable knowledge about business, finance, and leadership from my personal development training. I’ve had great mentors such as John Maxwell, Darren Hardy, James Malinchak, Napolean Hill, Dale Carnegie. Self Educating myself through books, CD’s, seminars, coaching and getting access to multi-millionaires that have made a tremendous impact on thousands of lives. This has resulted in increasing my income every year and having control of my results that I want for myself and family.

I think formal education is still a necessity and many industries, but it’s what you do with this education that’s important. Also, having a mindset that you are always learning and growing.

The key to success is always going from Peak to Peak and finding a new challenge to take on and grow from. This is what makes life interesting and you get to meet other winners that have a common goal of success.

The Birth Lady

In growing by business as a maternity advocacy specialist (I teach women how to navigate the maternity care system and I work to improve the system itself) I have learned from many birth advocates and I read and keep up to date about the subject matter for the work I do. But, growing a business is a whole other ball of wax! I get a lot of great info from Steve Harrison, who specializes in publishing and publicity for experts in their field, and I’ve gotten great client attraction info from Fabienne Frederickson. And I love watching your videos, Derek!


I completely agree with the premise of this video (and to add to it, think a lot of people go to college to get a degree and not actually learn anything…)

But I want to add that I think many of the people like us who read/learn constantly were the ones ALREADY reading/learning outside of our assigned reading/learning while we were still in school. Was that true for you, Derek? (Not just college, but all the way back to elementary school for me 😉 )

So personally, I’d stress the importance of reading/learning period for having a richer (in every sense of the word) life, because many people don’t even equate college with learning but simply the means to a label they can put on their resume and forget about…

Bryan Fisher

Great video!

I learned from Amy Porterfield, Pat Flynn, Cory Huff, Michael Hyatt, Derek Halpern, Gary V, and more.

I’m trying to list my entire education after college about making video games here – http://lionroot.com/indiedev-education/.

Karen Cordaway

I like anything by Seth Godin. He was recently on a podcast and I find anything he says valuable to career/success. I don’t know if links are a faux pas, you can edit it if this seems spammy. Here’s the podcast. http://farnoosh.tv/interview-seth-godin/


This reminds me of the read “Power of Pull”- gaining more access by reaching to the fringe of our networks and of our knowledge base. Reach beyond your defining line and become redefined. I bet some people are so repulsed by the word “brag” those people need to relax… or they can sub it out with the word “broadcast”…RL

Kate McCombs

Thank you for a fabulous video, Derek!

I teach sex education to adults and I’m often talking to people about the importance of adult learning – in both the personal and professional areas of our lives. I’ve noticed that many adults have resistance to learning because they have to be beginners at something. That can be scary and humbling.

Here are a few of the experts I love learning from: Karen B.K. Chan, Zhana Vrangalova, and Lauren Marie Fleming.


AWESOME video Derek! I cannot begin to tell you how grateful I am for your message today. The power of informal education is UNSTOPPABLE! It’s why I do what I do. When I was 16, I went to a “summer camp” that taught me about MENTORS. “Ugh, sounds like some disease, I don’t want, no thanks”…is what I remember thinking. Today, and many mentors later, I run this summer program. We basically teach high school and college age students in a week what you said right here in this video: It’s all about experience, baby! Seeing my peers go off and create their own (SUCCESSFUL) companies in their early 20’s and stay in touch via informal mastermind groups over the years has been the driving force in showing me that this stuff works.

Now, I love education (I have a Master’s in business and am a school nerd, through and through)…so don’t think I’m only blowing one horn here. But education can only get you so far…it’s the experience, the mentors, the networks you build that take you to the next level and put you on a playing field you can’t qualify for with just education.

Let’s keep the informal education train chugging along! We have lots of ground to cover still.


    Agree completely Maria. I just did an interview about the business of art, and my number one advice to artists just starting out is to build a solid network because in so many arenas it really isn’t what you know but who you know, and you never know what they’ll teach you!



      Absolutely! We need to make sure we are looking beyond the classroom for knowledge leaders, and looking instead to experience leaders…some teachers/professors can give you both, but not always.


I couldn’t agree with you more, if you are not going to college for something specific like Doctor or Lawyer etc … it’s so not necessary. I learned marketing in college … this was pre-social media … so clearly I couldn’t stop there!

My best learning experiences came from outside the classroom.


    I so agree with you Laura! I also have a marketing degree. I often tell people I’ve learned more in the last year listening to podcasts than I did in 5 years of college.


I recently joined a local Toastmasters club to follow both their leadership and communications tracks. It is an excellent organization and lots of fun. After spending a million hours online as a distance worker, I truly cherish meeting people face to face and building 3D relationships and experiences while learning and practicing new skills and ideas!


One of my favorite informal teachers is Robert Kiyosaki, author of the Rich Dad series. His books completely changed the way I viewed the world and the way I think about money. As a result, I now feel more confident in my ability to manage my own finances.


Michael Tuteur, the CEO of Votenet Solutions, Inc., invests heavily in his staff by providing world class trainings, webinars and books on topics ranging from effective leadership and team building to how to be a better communicator, and overall, more loving and less fearful. He focuses on nurturing and cherishing both staff and customers, and learning resources are a big part of that. In my professional experience, Michael stands out as the most uniquely committed and visionary CEO regarding ongoing education.

Catherine | Fit Armadillo

LOVE this video! Ever since I’ve been an entrepreneur, I’ve been trying to convince everyone and anyone I talk to that they should follow my lead. I go on and one about how we’re so lucky to be living in this time where we can contact those big thought leaders easily, learn so much online, and share our ideas, message, and passion with those who need it the most.

Some of the people who have taught me the most on my online business journey are Rebecca Tracey of The Uncaged Life, Chantelle Adams of The Courage Revolution , and one my online business buddies, Nicole Liloia, who has helped me maintain a balance in my life as I grow my business.

But, I’m always looking for more so I’m pumped to come back for more inspiration in the comments later today!

AND what’s SO cool is that I was able to interview both Rebecca and Chantelle a video series I created. Simply love this crazy online world where we can be inspired and then inspire others together.

Thanks for the video, now onto part two of the challenge 🙂

Dr Carney

Hey Derek
How are you.
In answer to your question joel bauer a good friend of mine has taught me a lot about speaking. He’s a master at persuasion and when he is in front of a group of people he can captivate you hold your attention then get you to pull out your wallet and give him money!
Oh I have to tell you this. Your out takes make you one of the best videos to watch sling with your content. Keep up the good work and keep helping people. You are a real person who really is trying to help the world be a better place.


I had a friend I was working with teach me how to fly helicopters. A Vietnam vet while I was in the navy taught me what combat was like for him. And now a friend is teaching me web development. Thanks for the great work Derek.

Alison Elliott

Informal Teachers I love and follow (and recommend regularly): You, Esther Hicks and Susan Hyatt

Simon Green

Informal teachers that I’ve learned from: Brandon Lucero, Pat Flynn, James Wedmore, Lewis Howes, Comedian Bill Burr, and coincidentally, a close friend who I met in college.

– and Matt Daaaamon

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