CHAPTER 11Street smarts

What I’ve learned is, many of the most successful entrepreneurs, artists and individuals had little or only some formal education. Some came from absolutely nothing, while others came from upper-middle-class backgrounds. Most of these men and women applied street smarts to get ahead.

Applying street smarts to your career or business practices and habits will take you far, and is something that I believe is totally underutilised. For some people, ‘street smarts’ — or ‘the hustle’, as I sometimes call it — might seem underhanded, conjuring up images of drug deals. But to me, being street smart means thinking fast on your feet, understanding human nature, being loyal, being cool and focused, and keeping in mind that everyone is looking out for themselves. I look at examples like my father. Everything he learned that has made him successful came from learning on the street — not from studying. It may sound unconventional, but when you ask someone one year out of university if university is different from their applied work, their answer is usually ‘Absolutely yes!’

Think fast on your feet

Starting before you’re ready and keeping up the hustle means you have to think fast. In the first Indiana Jones movie, one of the characters asks Indiana what’s next in their plan. ‘I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go along’, he answers. When you’re building your own path, there’s no boss but you. You might be employed and have a boss, but they’re not responsible for ...

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