The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Thursday, January 05, 2012

TAGR #4: Specialized Knowledge

The fourth principle of Napoleon Hill's breakthrough book, "Specialized Knowledge", is the absolute opposite of what most of us get in school: generalized knowledge. I often suspect that the actual intent of much of our public education is not to teach us "things" we will need to succeedd (although the most basic principles: reading, writing, and math are essential to survival in the modern world) but rather indirectly teaching us research, focus, planning, team-building, and the ability to follow orders whether we like it or not. I kid you not--these are useful skills.

But too many college graduates enter the business world with vast knowledge of some tiny area that will not help them at all in the search for actual employment, let alone the accumulation of riches. In a very real sense, a doctoral dissertation, the "gold" standard for education, is about becoming, temporarily at least, the world's greatest expert at some tiny slice of a field, so specialized that most people have never thought of it, or care about it at all.

Small wonder that many wags consider the six most important words for recent college grads to learn to be: "Would you like fries with that?"

The answer is to use the same focus and intelligence that you have been honing in college, and concentrate on the specific information necessary to achieve your goals in the real world. In terms of employment, for most people that means: "how do I make money?"

Here are some core thoughts to consider

1) A great question is: How do I support myself with dignity and honor, and have fun in the process?

2) Find people who have made money doing something you find interesting and positive. Study them directly or indirectly, and determine the actions, thought patterns, emotions and beliefs that have enabled their success.

3) When approaching a potential employer, don't go looking for a "job." Study their business. Understand the flow of their money, and come to them with a specific plan. Tell them you want to partner with them--you will take stress from their back and/or put money in their pocket, and document how you are doing it. To the degree that you can do these things, IF YOU CAN PROVE YOUR VALUE, you will find it easy to negotiate for a portion of the increased profits. If accumulating money is your intent, you MUST find a way to demonstrate the practical, economic value of your actions. Demonstrate that your books sell, and you can demand royalties. Demonstrate that you sell more X than the guy in the next department, and you can negotiate a raise.

4) If you are in a profession where it is difficult or impossible to "prove" your immediate financial contribution (say, a school teacher) then you will want to create a side business where you CAN prove it. Say...selling a booklet on increasing time efficiency for teachers, and then sell it to members of a national teacher's association. There are lists of such people, and ways to reach them. Again, you will be paid for the PROVEN, MEASURABLE value of your work. Only.

All of these things demand specialized, specific knowledge. You must define exactly what is needed to make money, and then acquire that. The generalized knowledge you gained on the way to your degree is fabulous...but what will really help you is applying the acquired metaskills to becoming the world's greatest expert on how a person like YOU can acquire financial freedom.

Be Magna Cum Laude in the school of You!


Your free copy of Think And Grow Rich:

1 comment:

Cialis Black said...

Napoleon Hill is my favorite book! Everyone should read it!