Learn More to Earn More

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Principle #36 in Jack Canfield’s book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” is Learn More to Earn More. It’s a repeating message. The more you learn, the more you earn.

From a basic education level, the U.S. Census Bureau has reported these monthly salaries:

  • High school dropout $1,920 ($23,040 annually)
  • High school grad $2,500 ($30,000 annually)
  • Bachelor’s degree $4,417 ($53,004 annually)

Note that these are median earnings using data from around the U.S. If you’re working in D.C., you may be making more. If you’re working in Bobtown, VA (population 211 in 2010), you may be making less.

However, it’s just as important to realize that learning doesn’t stop with a formal education.

“If I am through learning,
I am through.”

John Wooden, Legendary UCLA basketball coach

Learning More

There are multiple ways you can learn more after a formal education. This includes reading books (or listening to them), and attending courses, conferences, or retreats.

Many professionals regularly attend conferences to learn more about advances in their field. As an example, medical professionals are required to earn a minimum number of continuing medical education (CME) credits periodically. If they don’t, they lose their license. That becomes a strong motivator.

Similarly, people with IT certifications (such as the Security+ certification) have to earn a minimum number of continuing education credits to retain the certifications. If they don’t, the certifications expire. The underlying benefit is that they learn about new and emerging trends within their field.

Leaders are Readers

This principle overlaps with principle #20 – commit to constant and never-ending improvement. In that blog post, I mentioned how many leaders read as many as 5 books a month.

However, you don’t have to read that many books to learn. Just reading one more book than you currently read, can increase your knowledge.

One way to read more is to simply develop a habit of doing so. For example, you can set aside 20 minutes a day and devote it to reading. If you want it to stick as a habit, your best bet is to do it at the same time every day. This can be during the first hour after you wake up, as part of your lunch break, or even before bed.


If you have to commute to work, listening to books can be a great way to spend the time. You can borrow free CDs of books from your local library, or purchase downloads from Amazon’s Audible program. It works great whether you’re driving, or taking some other form of transportation such as a commuter train.

Attend a Seminar, Telesummit, or Online Course

Live seminars can also be a great way to learn more. The speakers are typically well prepared and provide a wealth of information. I’ve attended several over the years and remember my best experiences at Jack Canfield events. Not only did I learn a lot from Jack and his team, I also developed long-term relationships with fellow attendees.

In the past few years, many professionals have been hosting telesummits. These typically include multiple speakers and require zero travel. You can watch the videos from your home via the Internet.

Similarly, many experts have begun sharing their knowledge via the Internet with online courses. As an example, I took a course earlier this year titled Passion Success Coaching by Karla Marie. She hosted four weekly live events and regularly released videos, coursework, and papers during the course. While I didn’t become a romance fiction novelist, it did help me expand my knowledge in many current trends related to publishing.

Knock Knock – It’s Opportunity

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity
and not have one
than to have an opportunity
and not be prepared.

– Whitney M. Young,
Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient

Learning helps prepare you for future opportunities. You typically won’t know what the opportunity is until it comes though.

As an example, I remember being queried about the CISSP certification years ago. No one had a specific need or requirement, but personnel at Langley Air Force Base repeatedly asked if I could create or teach a CISSP course. I chose to get the certification even though there wasn’t a specific need and I had to pay for it myself.

Some time later, I was invited to be the technical editor for the CISSP (ISC)2 Certified Information Systems Security Professional Official Study Guide. Without the CISSP certification, I doubt they would have invited me. Then when one of the three original authors decided not to contribute for the next edition, I was invited to take his place.  I’m grateful to still be authoring the Official CISSP Study Guide with two other talented authors.



Learn More to Earn More Summary

If you want to earn more, learn more. There are multiple ways of learning more, but all of them typically require you to take action. You can read one more book a month (or year) than you currently read. You can attend a live seminar or an online telesummit, or even attend an online course.  Doing so will often help you be prepared for a future opportunity.

About This Post

I’ve been learning from Jack Canfield (of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame) since 2008. I credit much of my success (including authoring or co-authoring more than 40 books) to applying principles in my life that he teaches. I’m currently going through his book “The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be,” covering one principle a week.

Here’s a link to other musing’s on Jack Canfield’s Success Principles.

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