A product of our educational system, I spent five years getting undergraduate and master's degrees and two more years working on a Ph.D. I also spent six years teaching at a major university. My parents taught me early on that higher education would give me choices.

I thought it would also lead to higher wages—which it did; but it did not lead to financial independence. I believed the more you learn, the more you earn. In academia, this is not exactly true. But I was on a tenure track with job security, something that can create a comfortable complacency to offset the lack of better financial rewards.

I have often wondered if education enhanced my network marketing experience or delayed the full activation of my earning potential. When I became successful in the business, I regretted the years I had spent in college giving my time and commitment to a job. I could have been that much further ahead!

College can create limitations in our minds by teaching us what is possible (supposedly) and what isn't. Many highly educated people never move past that indoctrination. Think and Grow Rich is not a college textbook. Believing that nothing is impossible is not a subject that is taught in school. Yet the reality—and the magic—is that whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.

I learned my success skills—attitude, belief, understanding the law of attraction—in network marketing, not at the university.

Yet in my case the university also led me to my destination. When a colleague introduced me to network marketing, I had a chance to compare my world of academic opportunities to the world of infinite possibilities that opens up when you are financially independent.

Another advantage my education gave me was teaching skills, which helped me immensely in simplifying and communicating what it takes to succeed in network marketing.

What I have learned from my network marketing experience is immeasurable: people skills, goal-setting, leadership skills, tenacity, persistence, how to handle disappointment, how to inspire and motivate, and so many other life skills. These are all things that have helped me grow and develop into the productive person I am today.

Most importantly, network marketing has taught me how to help others and change lives for the better.

These aren't things you learn in school. These are not subjects you find in a syllabus. Yet I feel a hundred times more prepared to succeed in life with what I learned from network marketing than I ever did with my academic degrees. Fortunately, my education did not teach me limitations; it merely proved to me that I am a good student. That prepared me to learn what would turn out to be the biggest life lessons.

PAULA PRITCHARD is a successful network marketing
leader who has built huge organizations throughout the
United States and Europe. She is a sought-after generic trainer
and has been a Networking University faculty member since 2003.