Originally published on January 19, 2004

By now, everyone knows that Bill Gates, one of the world's richest men, never graduated from university—which proves that a college degree is not necessarily a prerequisite to being successful.

So what does it take? Here is a very simple method, tried and proven by personal experience and observation that will work for anyone, anywhere… and in remarkably little time.

Study something—literally anything that is of interest to you—one hour a day in the same way that a university student would study their courses. (Well, maybe without the sleepless nights and the hangovers…) A concept that was popularized by Earl Nightingale a half-century ago, then largely forgotten, taking an hour each day to study a subject that interests you is incredibly empowering and will quickly pay off—emotionally and, depending on what you study, financially.

In Mr. Nightingale's research on the technique, he found that daily study is a trait of almost all successful individuals—and that in just six months of concentrated one-hour-a-day study, you can become an expert on almost any topic.

Sound simple?

It is.

That's the beauty of it, in fact, and one of the reasons this technique can change lives, whether of directionless teenagers… people stuck in mid-career ruts… or individuals in their golden years who feel sidelined by society and need some extra cash.

A true life example (and we could point to many): We once hired an individual straight out of college, but found that he was not very motivated about his work. On our suggestion, he began studying graphic design, a field he was intrigued about. Within six months, invigorated by his new skills, he moved to a position within the company as a full-time graphic designer. Within 12 months, as his skills continued to improve, his salary more than doubled. Within 18 months he was able to start his own firm, which he still operates to this day, working out of his home and earning upwards of $300,000 a year doing something he loves. To us, that's the very picture of success.

What might you study to achieve the freedom you want and the revenue to enjoy it? Our recommendation: study something you are passionate about, or were as a youth. It makes the daily studying fun and assures your new career will be emotionally, as well as financially, satisfying.

Don't feel like changing jobs? There is no better way of moving up the corporate ladder than by daily study of the industry you're in. In just a month or two, you'll attract the attention of your superiors by rattling off details about your business that demonstrate your fast-growing knowledge.

For those of you not sure where your passions lie, consider studying topics related to direct marketing. Almost every business in the world can benefit from direct marketing, and the demand for competent direct marketing copywriters is off the chart.

Spread the word of Mr. Nightingale—knowledge is power, and you can build a remarkable amount of knowledge in just one hour a day. Give it a try and share your personal success stories by emailing us at [email protected]