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7 Insightful and Timeless Quotations on the Importance of Knowledge and Education

All through history, great thinkers from all areas of society have spoken on the importance of having a good education, but recently the importance of a good education has been under attack. Critic’s claim it’s gotten too expensive and has very little value compared to its costs.

History as well as the current geopolitical circumstances proves that the long term cost of an uneducated society can be even more disastrous. With so many nations developing at a frantic rate, the need for a top notch education system can’t be overestimated. In order for us to remain competitive we need people with the knowledge, skills and discipline for the next century. Many developing nations already recognize that their most valued asset is their young. In some countries after a person graduates from high school, they’re required to either join the military or go to college, cost free. Both are part of a continuing education that helps impart critical thinking skills, discipline, and life skills. Some countries even recognized that education is a right and not a privilege as some claim.

After years of researching and collecting quotations for my books as well as motivation material for my sales force, I’ve compiled an extraordinary amount of wisdom on the importance of having a good education. The amount of wisdom that I’ve compiled is too large for an article of this size, so I’m only listing several of my favorites. Some of my other articles are about the profound wisdom passed down the ages, but without a solid education and good critical thinking skills they lose most of their insight.

If you think that education is expensive, try ignorance.

- Derek Bok 1930 -; American lawyer & educator.

A proper education is now mistakenly thought as a business rather than an investment. We don’t live in a bubble and a society with a sub-par education system will feel its effects for decades to come in all sectors of society. The fact is that in the long run, education pays out dividends far more valuable than money or wealth.

Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people.

- John Adams 1735 – 1826; American Politician, 2nd President of the U.S., a founding father of the U.S., diplomat, & first Vice President of the U.S.

People from all nations, in all areas of society; instinctually know that education is essential, if people want to keep their freedoms. An uneducated population is susceptible to manipulation by the powers that be, who can use various techniques to influence one or thousands of people into action or inaction. (See my other article on communication)

Let’s trace the birth of an idea. It’s born as rampant radicalism, then it becomes progressivism, then liberalism, then it becomes moderate, conservative, outmoded, and gone.

- Adam Clayton Powell Jr. 1908 – 1972; American politician & pastor.

One of the facts of life is change and most change comes with the birth of new ideas. At first people are suspect of new ideas because it challenges the conventional thinking, interferes with their current beliefs, will require people to make changes that many have gotten used to, or interferes with the benefits that most people derive from the current system, even though the current system cause a tremendous amount of problems for the vast majority.

As more and more people get used to the idea and see the benefits, it moves along its life cycle. Until finally, due to enormous other changes occurring in the world, the idea is no longer feasible because it’s incompatible with the changed world. Eventually needing to be replaced with newer ideas.

It’s useful to take away 2 things in regards to this quote. One: Change is always needed and constant. Two: The life cycle of an idea as well as where that idea is in its life cycle. Communism for example would be on the outer edges of “Outmoded” just about to cross over into gone.

New ideas are always needed but they also need to be critically scrutinized as to their costs and benefits without regard to the challenges they provide to the current established ideas. Emotions need to be taken out of the equation. Done properly, idea’s like Communism would never have taken hold and rightly so, didn’t in most parts of the world. Due to constant change cause by flood of new ideas, we need people with proper knowledge and education to critically evaluate every aspect of these new ideas.

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.

- Confucius 551 BC – 479 BC; Chinese teacher, politician, & philosopher.

Nothing substitutes for experience. Knowledge and education are incomplete without experience. You can learn the concepts but to gain understanding, you have to put those concepts to practice or full use. This is why internships and apprenticeship programs are so essential.

Those that know, do. Those that understand, teach.

- Aristotle 384 BC – 322 BC; Greek philosopher, polymath, & one of the fathers of Western philosophy.

This quote has been butchered in recent times to “Those that can, do! Those that can’t, teach!” Nothing can be further from the truth. Why would someone that can’t do something, teach it? We need to honor our teachers and not degrade them. If you know a thing or two, spread the knowledge if you’re able.

The ignorant are always prejudiced and the prejudiced are always ignorant.

- Charles V. 1500 – 1558; Holy Roman Empire Emperor.

Ignorance and prejudice go hand in hand. Prejudice usually grows out of ignorance. Most of the time people are prejudiced because they don’t have full knowledge or understanding of the other person or idea. They haven’t taken the time to acquaint themselves with the other side. Once you fully understand another person or idea, only then can you fairly judge. One of the perks of a good education is realizing how limited your knowledge is, which is why education should be a right.

Sell (or give) a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man how to fish, he eats for the rest of his life.

- (Possibly coined by Karl Marx. Often attributed to Chinese philosophers Lao Tzu 6th century BC; Chinese philosopher. (A.k.a. Laozi, circa 5th century BCE) and Confucius 551 BC – 479 BC; Chinese teacher, politician, & philosopher. Although sometimes attributed to Jesus Christ, this proverb does not exist in the Bible’s New Testament.

It is better to teach someone to self-sustain rather than sustain them indefinitely. This is one of the primary reasons for a good education system. A person with a good education will not only survive in the real world but depending on their level of education, can thrive. Thus creating opportunities, exemplifying creativity, and discovering new knowledge that benefits all of humanity.

Bonus

Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward.

- Chinese Proverb

Sometimes, the only way to get good experience is to get in there and make your mistakes. Take your lumps. Failure isn’t failure but lessons toward success.

5 Sources of Financing For Small Business Growth

In the experience of many small businesses over the years, one thing is certain – no matter what type of business you start, it is going to require money from somewhere. Although many entrepreneurs are one-person companies, raising sufficient money is often overlooked seriously by many new startups. The word sufficient here is defined as the amount of money that will really make this business succeed through practical and aggressive means.

Most of the time, the passion of starting a new business overtakes common sense and a real clear idea of the startup and operating capital needed is lacking. So it is advised that when you consider shopping for money to start your business, that you do so after completing some form of a business plan. Even if you take money out of your own pocket or borrow on the equity on your home or from your credit card, it is essential that you know ahead of time that it will be well spent.

Let’s take a look at the most popular options for financing small companies.

Credit Cards

This is the easiest type of money to obtain. According to the Small and Medium Size Business Survey of 2007 by the National Small Business Association (NASB) credit cards are the number 1 financing choice of 61% of businesses of 0 to 4 employees. Frequently, the instant that a small business is formed, the owner takes the EIN number to the bank and starts a checking account. Oftentimes, these small business owners are encouraged to sign up for a credit card and offered favorable terms (sometimes 0% financing) for the first few months.

The problem with credit cards is that the interest rate is often very high at 15 to 20% + and according to the NASB, 71% of small and medium-sized businesses are carrying balances from month to month. This has grown from 64% in 2000. The amount of interest expense carried thus obviously affects profitability and cash flow. If credit cards are used as the principal source of financing, the situation is even worse because the amount borrowed is often higher in this case.

The advantage of credit cards is that there are no barriers to this form of borrowing. This is easy money to obtain. There is no system of checks and balances to ensure that the purpose for which the financing is being carried out is qualified by formal business planning and review.

Earnings of the Business

This may seem a bit obvious, but plowing cash back into the firm from earnings is a form of financing. It is important to keep that in mind, because the cash that becomes available from operations could alternatively be used as a distribution to owners or shareholders. Some of these owners may require that they receive distributions. Depending on the stage of the business, this could have deleterious effects on the business, with respect to growth.

Putting money back into the business should be done consciously, with a clear idea for what specifically the money will be used. If the money is getting put back strictly to grow inventory, it may take a much longer time to grow the business. However, if the money is getting put back to invest in systems and people that represent critical choke points in the current business operations, that is a much better plan for higher growth.

Line of Credit

This could come in the form of a business asset or home secured loan. This means that the bank will utilize the company’s property (equipment, building, accounts receivables) or personal property (usually your home) to ensure that they will obtain significant value in the event that you default on your loan. This is also a much easier form of loan to obtain however is best used for incremental financing not a major infusion of cash.

Bank Loan

One of the best strategies early in the business is to establish good relationships with a community bank in your area with assets around $100 to $200 million. Ideally, their investments in the sub-prime mortgage business are limited so that their interest in lending in general is not tainted. Discuss your business and forthcoming lending interests with the individual that has the final say so on the loan approval. Unsecured loans will be the only option for new businesses and usually have serious limitations on the amount that can be financed and usually comes with higher interest rates.

Private Equity Firms

These are venture capital or private investors that will invest in your business in return for some direct control (or say so) into company matters so that they can extract the return that they expect from your company. This requires that you carefully choose from people/firms with whom you develop a good rapport and that are familiar with your type of business.

Private equity is a good choice for small businesses that need to move to the next level due to limitations on the current business that presents obstacles to growth. This is because, the firms that will invest their money will want to see a good operating and financial track record before they inject their money.

Good advice for small companies at this level is to hire an investment banker. Although this carries a cost to achieve this financing, it allows the banker to attend to this specialized form of financing and allow you to keep focused on running your business. One thing is certain, you will be required to complete a formal business plan for this option.