Why You Don’t Have to Get High Education to Succeed at Work

I have worked with exceptionally good engineers and managers. Many of them did not have formal education in engineering and management.

Despite their low education, their performance and capability were far better than those of the others like me, who were educated in the world class schools.

The primary reason for their excellence is their ability to work in the state of ‘flow’ as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of Flow, called it. Indian philosophy calls this stage as ‘nishkam’.

Let’s try to understand what that means.

Who controls your breathing? Do you consciously decide and direct your breathing and breathe with the deliberate intention to live? You will agree that breathing helps you to live, despite you not making any conscious efforts to breathe.

Now, imagine that you are carrying out your work activities as effortlessly as breathing, without consciously intending to gain any rewards or recognition from those activities. Csikszentmihalyi called the experience of such work activity as autotelic (auto means self and telic means goal), because the goal is self-fulfilling and the activity is its own reward. This is when you are in a flow or are nishkam.

The ability to be in flow over extended periods and also the frequency to work in this state will help to excel at work even without your education. Just as breathing helps you to live, nishkam work helps you to get rewards and recognition, without your deliberate intention.

Work and actions were part of discussion when I joined Frankie on The Frankie Boyer Show (, which was Nationally Syndicated to 20 Stations of Business Talk Radio and was also rebroadcast on Lifestyle Radio Network. You may listen by clicking here!