Life Lesson #1: Lay a Strong Foundation

The size and quality and strength of the cathedral you want to build depends on the size and strength and quality of its foundation. The same applies to your career. Lay a proper foundation. Get a decent tertiary education. Do it straight after finishing matric if you can. If you can’t, do it as soon as possible.

Studying teaches discipline and the principle that anything in life that is worthwhile requires hard work.

It teaches the principle that you reap what you sow. It also empowers you with knowledge, which in turn leads to self-confidence. Lastly, it gives credibility to your CV. It increases your chances of a successful career manifold.

There are exceptions to this rule, but they are by far in the minority.

My parents weren’t wealthy, but they understood the value of a proper education. They wanted their children to have what they themselves didn’t have: decent qualifications. They raised their 5 children with the mantra that they can choose what to study but not that they will study. I am forever grateful to them.

I attended the University of Pretoria in 1977, the year after I finished matric, to study Law. I completed a BLC and LLB 5 years later in 1981. After completing 2 years of national service and working for 4 years, I enrolled for a LLM at UNISA in 1977, which I completed in 1990. I was married and my youngest of 4 children was born in 1991. It is very hard to study if you are married and have young children, but it is possible. It requires more discipline and hard work, but the sense of achievement when you succeed makes It worthwhile.

Obtaining (a) proper tertiary qualification(s) is not a silver bullet, but it certainly enhances your chances of success. Moreover, it enhances your self-worth. I started my LLM while I was practicing Law. Two years into the 4-year course, I joined an insurance company. There was on the face of it no compelling reason to continue with my LLM except for two reasons: my parents taught me to always finish what I started, and it was important for the way I thought of myself to have a completed, rather than a half-completed master’s degree.

It is never too late to study! Don’t get to the end of your career with regrets because you didn’t give yourself the gift of a proper education. Don’t look for excuses. If you really want to study, you will find a way to make it happen.

Have a fantastic day.

Stay blessed,
René Otto, CEO: MiWay Insurance Ltd

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