This article is dedicated to students who are still in high school, and undergraduates in the higher
institutions of learning. For those who are privileged to have access to formal education, there is this
long time belief that higher education would guarantee one financial security, fame and success in life.
Hence the common advice parents give their children is “go to school, get good grades and a high
paying job is guaranteed”. The reality is that this belief and strategy of surviving in the real world is
now outdated. Graduates who see the acquisition of a degree as a means of surviving in the real world
only get outside there to find out that they were not ready for life at all.
To survive in a 21st century world, you must equip yourself with the following
(1) SKILL: One thing you are going to need badly after school and for the rest of your life is money,
that is why you still see men in their 40s, 50s even 60s still riding okada and driving taxi to earn
money. The truth is that immediately you become a graduate your parents or those who were
responsible for your training will stop supporting you financially. They will assume you now have all it
takes to survive, so the collection of pocket money will stop, and you will have to start solving your
financial problems with your own earning ability. What this implies is that you will have to look for job
with your certificate, and most often you will likely be underemployed, meaning you will not be paid
what you are worth. The consequence of this is that you will end up not having enough financial
resources to actualize your goals. Solving your financial problem will become difficult, and definitely
the need for money will rise, because you will start thinking of getting a place for yourself, so that you
can be on your own, getting married, going for a master’s program and so on. As this happens,
psychological problems such as frustration, depression, self-pity, low self-esteem will start setting in,
and if you are not careful, you may get demoralized to the point giving up on life.
To survive or avoid this you need a skill. Skill is the ability to do something very well. In the real
world, people don't pay you for your certificate, they pay you for what you can do, and that's is the
only legal way of getting money in the society, if you do otherwise, you would be called a fraudster, a
thief or an armed robber. For example if I know how to repair phones anyone who has any problem
with his/her phone will always come to me , and by the time I help him/her to solve the problem, the
individual will pay me for that service. Now the question is what can you do? How can you render
direct service with your current course of study?
The point here is you must have a skill. If you have none yet, enroll in a training center and start
learning something. There are so many things you can learn within three months, and that would earn
you nothing less than $1,000 per month.
Never look down on any skill, just consider your interest and what you love doing, and then acquire a
skill in that area. When you do this, you can easily become your own boss after school or even before
you graduate. If you are a graduate already reading this article and don’t have a job yet I recommend
same. With an extra skill, you can increase your income. Never put your hope on getting a job that is
not certain. To be forewarned is to before armed.
(2) INFORMATION: There is a general believe that knowledge is power, and that is very true. The 21st
century world is information driven, and you need to consistently update yourself with the latest
information in the areas that are critical to your survival. Sometimes people suffer because of
If you must meet up with the latest trend, you have to develop the habit if continuous learning, you
must be an ardent reader and an unrelenting information seeker. Try as much as possible to know
everything you need to know that will help you to maximize your potentials. Always remember that
what you don't know is more powerful than you. Keep yourself informed so that you will not be
Besides the acquisition of information, one other critical thing is the application of the information you
have obtained. Having information without using is meaningless. Strive as much as possible to know
all that you need to know about moving to your next level and take action at the right time.
(3) GUT: According to oxford advance learner dictionary, gut is defined as the courage or ability to do
something difficult or unpleasant. The truth is that life is not fair for anybody, and definitely you are
going to have your own share of life's difficulty in your quest for success. If you must succeed in the
real world, gut is a necessary factor, because without it you will lack the courage to take action when
things are not favorable, and that will keep you long in the valley of mediocrity. You may be very
intelligent while in school, but after graduation you will discover that so many of your classmates who
were not as intelligent as you were back in your school days are getting ahead, the reason is simply
because they have the gut to try their ideas and that's what is getting them going.
To develop this quality, all you have to do is to cure yourself of every known fear. Experts in the field
of personal development have identified certain fears that contribute to people's failure in life. Such
fears include, the fear of death, fear of loss love, fear of ill-health, fear of criticism, fear of physical
pain, fear of old age and so on. I assure you that if you can master these basic fears, you are going to
have enough gut to try anything. Action is what produces result. You will never succeed if you don't
try and to try all you need is gut.
(4) HARD WORK: In all of human history, hard work has been a critical tool of success, nothing can
replace it. For you to survive and excel in the real world, you need an unwavering ability to take action,
and persevere until you succeed. Most persons fail in life due to idleness. If you want to be poor all
you need to do is be idle, and before you know it poverty will overtake you. A wise man once said that
“where talent is lazy, hard work overtakes it”. No matter how knowledgeable, gifted and talented you
are, if you refused to be hard-working, you will definitely be a failure. Always have it in mind that hard
work is the only way. Never forget to always blend your hard work with strategic planning and
persistence. Hard work combined in this manner will produce success.
(5) NETWORKING: Networking has to do with your ability to connect with people that will help you in
getting to your next level. Niyi Adesanya, a personal development expert based in Nigeria once define
individual competitiveness (in my own word, your capacity for success) as ‘’what you know + how you
express it × by who you know and who knows you’’. I completely agree with his definition. The caliber
of people you know and people who know you has a way of facilitating your success in life. As the
world is today, the people we know to be the best in certain field are not actually the best. There are
so many people who would have out-shined them if they are brought out of obscurity, but because
they are not known by those who can position them to receive the honour they are worthy of, they
remain irrelevant in their cocoon. If we must fully maximize our potential and remain relevant, our
ability to network and connect with people who can help us get to our next level is critical.
Author: Taiwo Emayosanlomo, Success coach and Personal development expert.
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