Thursday, March 08, 2007

The importance of hard work

The blogosphere is often an interesting place to wander around. I was checking one of my Google alerts this morning for "Steve Jobs" teacher union. I came across Whitney Tilson's post Steve Jobs Has Guts. I liked his thoughts and so I checked out his blog on school reform.

Whitney is an invester at Tilson Funds. He is also the Vice President of KIPP Academy. KIPP Academy is part of an organization called Knowledge Is Power Program or KIPP for short. His frequent posts show a good understanding of many of the problems with public education.

Whitney also had a post commenting on Jay Mathews' article of Self-Discipline May Beat Smarts as Key to Success. This resonanted some with a post from last year on The importance of work. I'm reposting here a key point from the post:

"A couple years after my wife and I got married we spent did some research into investing, trying to improve our financial education. One point has stuck with me over the years. When trying to build a nest egg there are two very important factors. The first is related to the size of how much is invested. Someone who puts aside 10% of their income will, all other things being equal, have a better end result than someone who only saves 5%. But the second important factor is the growth rate of the investments. If the person saving the 10% puts all of his money in the bank and gets a low rate of return, after 40 years he won't have that much more money. In contrast if the person who saves 5% is wise and looks for investments with growth potential, like stocks, then over time he will get several times the return on his money, and by 40 years later will have a much bigger nest eggs, several times bigger."

"Education and parenting are similar to this. We all start with a certain basic investment, our gifts and talents. Unfortunately we can't change this. But what happens with them over time is a direct result of the effort and work we put in to develop our initial abilities. If we can help our children learn the principal of work, and help them to get on a higher growth rate, then as adults they'll be able to achieve much more than if they merely coasted through school. Many Asian families understand this principal and have their children work hard."

Jay Mathews article Self-Discipline May Beat Smarts as Key to Success is focusing on the importance of work and self-discipline. We do a great service to our children when we teach them to work hard.

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