Luigi is very smart. He’s the perfect student, always in the top 3% of his class.
Soon after Luigi graduates with honors, he starts searching for a job.
“Finally! All my hard work will really pay off!” he says with big expectations.
Mario is also very smart, yet, he's a terrible student — always in the low 10% of the group.
“You will never be successful in life. You're a terrible student!” his teacher told him.
Eventually, Mario drops out of college and to make a living, he starts buying candy in bulk from a local wholesaler, repackaging it into smaller bags with his brand, and selling it for a profit.
Four years later…
Luigi is a successful manager of a local business. He’s having a beer with his team when he sees Mario walk into the bar.
“Mario! Mario, what's up, brother! I haven't seen you since you dropped out of college! What's been going on?” he says with a handshake.
“Well, not much, I’ve been selling candy,” Mario replies, “What about you?”
“Oh, life is good, bro, I've finally found a decent paying job. It hasn’t been easy to find a job that values my success,” he says proudly.
“Sounds like you’ve been hopping around jobs?”
“Ohh, yes, nobody would pay me what I’m worth. You know me, always pushing for excellence,” Luigi says arrogantly. “But what about ya? Have you found any kids at the park to sell your candyto?”
“Well,” Mario says, “not really at the park, but online. I sold a little over $8 million dollars last year and I’m projecting to grow sales 35% this year.”
Luigi's jaw drops.
He stands there speechless, “But… but, how? You’re just a college dropout!”
Now, to answer your question, what do people need to most understand about “smart work?”
A salary is someone else’s opinion of how much we’re worth. My paycheck is determined by the job description, NOT by who I am, my degrees, my academic excellence or credentials.
This is what smart-work is all about: Leverage.
There’s ZERO leverage in the paycheck formula.
Entrepreneurship provides unlimited leverage — the value that Mario delivers to the world is done through a business model, NOT by his limited time.
To achieve financial freedom, hard work is not good enough anymore. Work smarter so YOU decide your own worth.
Answer originally appeared on Quora