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Listening to success stories of how a certain rich man like Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs or Ibukun Awosika made it to wealth is thrilling and bring great enthusiasm.

You will notice that everybody wants to know HOW HE/SHE MADE IT to be sure they are on the right track and taking the right decisions.

You would hear questions like;

Which school did he attend?

Did she attend a university or was she a drop out?

Which course did he study?

Am I doing the right thing? etc. , etc.

The popular question; “Is Education The Key To Success? “; also bothers the poor, rich, old and the young alike, while in the pursuit of their career and lifelong goal.

At some point in your search, you can get the answers to the question and become accustomed to the phrase that “Education is the key to success”. So after University, you walk the street of your villages and home town with the mindset that you are “MADE” since you have acquired education and it’s time to eat the fruit of your labour.

However, the question is this – Does it really work this way? Is Education truly the key to success?

Let’s Understand What Education Is….

As defined by Wikipedia, Education is the process of facilitating learning or acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs and habits. Education can be Formal, Informal and Non-formal.

The Formal Education is planned, organised and conducted in a school setting, training centre or skill acquisition centres.

The Informal Education is most times unplanned and occurs when we observe a need to have knowledge about a concept or a way of life. It also happens when we desire to impact knowledge to our child, a close friend or a relative. This form of education is continuous and a lifelong process. An example is learning how to ride a bicycle, learning a native language or teaching your workers how to attend to visitors.

Whereas the formal education occurs in a school setting, the Non-formal education can occur at any location apart from the school. The Non-formal Education is more practical and real life based and can also include adult or Vocational Education. The non-formal education can also come in inform of learning a professional skill like Copywriting or Earning and Learning (internship) or even Learning a Trade.  Training Fees and Certificates may not be applicable in this type of education.

Which Type of Education Do You Have?

Wisdom comes not from age but from education and learning says Anton Chetov.

The 3 types of education work best and one person can have  the 3 types in a life time. The education, which is the acquired knowledge you have furnishes you with the right knowledge and sets you apart from the competition in the world.

In Nigeria and some African countries, the place of formal education (in a school setting) is being overrated which leave individuals to chase certificates, ranks and forget about the knowledge they acquired, their skills, talents and the impact they can make in the world.

In fact, all I was told before I gained admission into the university is that IF YOU STUDY HARD, YOU WILL GET GOOD GRADES, GET A WELL PAYING JOB and BECOME SUCCESSFUL. Here, it was assumed that going to a university is the only way to attain success and personal fulfilment.

I can not dispute the fact that going to a University is the best thing for a youth in a 3rd world country like Nigeria. Second, in Nigeria, there are more opportunities of achieving your dreams and goals if you have attended a university.

However, due to the trust and hopes placed on formal education in a school setting, 70% of graduates in Nigeria become extremely disappointed when they can not achieve massive success and their big dreams after the four years in school.

Alternatively, youths who did not make it to a university and were opportune to acquire some education in a skill acquisition centre feel inferior thinking they cannot attain success and reasonable height with the education they had through vocational training or learning a trade.

Is Education truly the Key to Success?

A group of 5 young men where all handed a key to unlock the door to their houses, each house (block of flats) has some unique features. Some of them have several loads stacked up from the entrance to the rest of the rooms and would require time and effort to unpack them and get the house arranged to their taste while few other houses are properly organised with the best interiors.

All 5 young men unlocked their separate doors and the following scenario occurred.

A.        The first man had his flat filled with full pack of loads; it was so much that he was discouraged and had the feeling to return the key.  On a second thought, he quietly entered the house, took his time and was gently unpacking the loads.

The guy was so slow that in two years down the lane, he would not be able to unpack all the loads.

B.      The second guy opened his door and met no load, everything was arranged and the flat organised. He happily made entrance into the house and began to enjoy the flat. At some time in the year, he would perform some daily cleaning and maintenance of equipment within the house to ensure the house continued to meet his taste and standard.

C.       The third man opened the door to his house and was shocked to see the kind of load in his flat. He quietly locked the door back and left saying, “I cannot come and kill myself.”  At some point he even lost the key!

D.          The 4th and 5th man opened their door and were extremely eager to quickly get the room fixed up, and tried their possible best to arrange the house within the shortest possible time and…


It was all done. They made entrance into their houses and continued to do daily, weekly and monthly cleaning in their flat so it will not be outdated nor gather many dusts.

The story of the 5 young men who were given keys to open the doors is analyzed below to give you an idea of what Education does;
  1. A key was handed to all 5 Men: The 5 young men had the opportunity to get a key to the house of beautiful flats. Most people never had the opportunity to even attend secondary school let alone obtaining a university degree neither was it even possible for them to learn a trade or get a vocational skills in an organised skill acquisition centre; therefore, it’s a great opportunity to get any type of Education. Here, being educated simply means that a key has been handed over to you!.
  2. They all had a unique experience when the door was opened: After University, some people end up living a life of regret because their colleagues have a good life and enjoy themselves after school while you are still walking around aimlessly, you do not even have an idea of which part to take, you do not know whether to continue with marketing or to start teaching or even join your colleagues in mining bitcoin. If you read through the story of the 5 young men, you would observe that when other people opened the doors with the keys the whole place was set, whereas some other people did the same and had to overwork themselves  simply because we are unique and would have our unique experiences.
  3. You may need to do extra work or acquire more skills: When you learn a trade, for instance fashion designing and graduate after 1 year. The next thing in your mind will be how you will get a new shop and become the best fashion designer in town. Of course, it works for several people but at some point, you may have to get some skills at least in marketing so you can properly understand your market and niche down to a particular audience.  A skill in marketing also helps you to understand the needs of your target market and serve them better.   
    A graduate of Computer Science (CS) will need either programming skills, networking skill or any of the CS specialisation to position himself as an expert in the chosen career. As a CS graduate,  you will be able to get a job or build  business where you can add value with your acquired degree. You also need to be aware that 50% of your mates whom you envy and think they have their life all figured out may have paid their price while you were all in school. Maybe all those while you get yourself worked up on just how to pass your exams, they quietly ran out, collected the key to their apartment (learnt valuable skill), arranged their house and set it up so they do not have to work extra hard after school.
  4.  You Need People:  The truth is that you need successors and people you meet every day who can serve as your mentor to guide you on how to get your life right and unpack your load may be faster or better. The person will inform you the part he took to arrive at the destination he is and how you can manoeuvre your way around to have a smooth sail in your pursuit of a better life. He can also advise you if you should get more valuable skills.

Finally, I can confidently tell you that Education Is The Key To success;  Education hands you the key, you decide what to do when you unlock it.

Some unlock their doors and try getting things fixed in their life to position them for greater opportunity and success. Others unlock theirs and everything is  fixed up while some unlock theirs and lack the patience to get it fixed up and then loose hope (even go as far as committing suicide).

Also note that formal education is not the only key to success, some people never saw the four walls of the university, they got a different form of education, unlocked their doors, unpacked their loads and became successful.

Whatever form of education you acquired, make sure you never stop unpacking and getting things fixed ( learning valuable skills and gaining experience) as it positions you for greater opportunity.

Education is not  Succeess itself rather it is getting a “KEY” to success.

Please share your thoughts at the comment section.

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