All posts by studychatz

15 Things NOT to leave till the 11th hour

We are only human… so we are designed to leave things until the last minute

1. Buying a birthday gift for your wife…. On the day of her birthday
2. Doing Xmas shopping on Xmas Eve
3. Submitting your Taxes online… while loadshedding is in progress
4. Studying for your Finals, only to realise the volume of work
5. On your way to get the Morning-after pill
6. Realising you have run out of Toilet paper… while on the toilet
7. Informing your wife of the Dinner party at your house tonight
8. The party is in full swing… and you run out of Ice
9. Things heat up, and you realise you have run out of condoms
10. Realising you booked a double date
11. Forgetting to phone your mother on her birthday
12. Telling your wife, your mother is on her way over, for a couple of days
13. Realising you ran out of Tampons
14. Stuck in traffic, and you need a bathroom NOW
15. 1Km into a Marathon and you realise you never went to the toilet.


How I lost 51lbs and gained 12lbs of Muscle. What are you doing wrong?

In my opinion it is easier to make your first million, than what it is to shed enough fat to get to 7% bodyfat and that illusive six-pack… I have lost 51 lbs of fat, gained about 12 lbs of muscle and lost a further 14% bodyfat…. and I’m halfway to my goal. Was it tough? Sure was, and still is

So what did I do? Here is my 3-way plan to loosing all that weight, and gaining all that muscle.

1. Eating according to my Blood Type:


DIET! DIET! DIET! now that you heard it, forget it. The moment you are going to try and stick to a diet, you have already lost the race. If diets realy worked, you would have done it once in your life, and never needed to again. And please, its an Eating plan or a Lifestyle change, but not a diet.

What Did I do? I started to eat according to my Blood Type. Being a Blood Type A+ meant that I was born to be a Vegetarian. Did I become one, HELL NO! But what I did do was to cut out 95% of all Red Meats, including Lamb and Pork, out of my eating plan. For a Blood Type A, most meats are Poison to your Body. Instead, I supplemented it with moderate portions of Chicken, Tuna and Salmon. But again, these should only be eaten 2-3 times per week… Remember, you are supposed to be a vegetarian after all.

Other tough choices I had to make, was to cut out ALL dairy products, Eggs, and ALL BAD CARBS like pastas, bread, rice and potatoes. According to Prof. Tim Noakes in S.A., bad Carbs are THE biggest reason for us being overweight. Instead, we should focus on getting fat into our body. GOOD fats that is, like Avo’s, Virgin Olive Oil, Nuts, etc… Also, Carbs should come from your Green veggies.

For more info on “Eating for your Blood Type” meal plan, go to:

2. Start to get Active


This to me was the fun part… Hitting the gym. Never in my Gym history have I managed to successfully go to the gym for longer than two months, before realising it is much easier to sit at home and watch TV. But when I decided last year (15 Jan) that I’m going to try this for once and dedicate everything I have to it, I never looked back since. On average currently, we go to the gym between 5-6 days per week.

But here are some interesting tips:

* Focus the majority of your time on doing weights. It is a fact that you burn more calories doing weights, than slow forms of Cardio. And the Afterburn effect when doing weights, last for up to 48 hours
* Constantly vary your weights program every 4/5 weeks
* STOP DOING SLOW CARDIO exercises. This burn minimum calories, and while you think you loose calories and inches, all you are actually are loosing, are water and muscle. So this is a No-No
* Focus on HIC sessions…. More on this in the next point
* If you are unsure what type of exercises to do, find a Role model and copy his/her program. I am currently following the ‘Wolverine Workout’ which is the 4-week program that Hugh Jackman followed in preparation for his role in the movie “The Wolverine”

3. HIC- High Intensity Workouts


You will hear words such as “Mountain Climbs”, “Planking” & “Burpees”. Don’t panic, these are actually 30-second High Intensity Exercises. But don’t be fooled. These 30-second interval exercises will have you crying in no time.

Interested? Log onto Youtube, type “SixpackShortcuts” or “SixpackAbs”, sit back and be dazzled

Hope you are on your way shortly to a better you!

How to avoid Sleeping while Studying

Article by @PassMatricSA (

I thought to write about this as I was feeling sleepy while studying During exams we often work too much hard studying at nights. Exams are near and we decide to study for longer hours. We think the best time is to study at night, but we can’t stop ourselves yawning while we are studying. In my case, subjects like chemistry and physics were too boring and i couldn’t keep myself awake. The same case must be with many. Soon we feel the need to be awake to learn the subject. So, we are in a dilemma. Lets see some epic ways on how to avoid sleep while studying.

* Have at least 6 hours of sound sleep at night. This will keep you fresh all
the time the next day.
* Don’t eat a lot before studying. This makes you feel sleepy.
* Don’t eat rice before starting studying. This, too, is going to make you
* Do not drink milk after dinner. It makes you drowsy.
* We feel sleepy while studying if we do not understand the content of the
book that we read, so try to understand the content.
* Love the subject. Try to understand the concept instead of mugging up.
* Drink water so that you have to go to bathroom every now and then.
Believe me it works.
* Drink tea or coffee, whichever you like before the same.
* Don’t study with a fan blowing in your face as it will dry out your eyes and
make you fall asleep.
* Try to study hard topics at high energy levels of your body, when your
mind is fresh read tough subject.
* Read and study actively.
* Sit on a chair with flat back.
* Don’t sit in a one place. While reading the study material, take a walk
within your room.
* Change topic if not interesting.
* Check out for how long you can stick glued to studying without losing
concentration. Then take break accordingly.
* Do some kind of tough exercises that will make you alert and stop you
from sleeping.
* Keep all the lights on of your room. Don’t have lighting more than
* Have something to eat beside you.
* Don’t keep your eyes too much close to the books.
* Even don’t just keep reading, try writing something if you feel sleepy.
* Try to read aloud, it helps when you make sounds. If you read in your
mind, there are chances that you fall asleep sooner.

Even after trying all these tips if you feel sleepy, and then go for short nap but not more than 60 minutes, otherwise you will end up wasting your important time of study. These tips have helped me very much. Hope they’re good for you too. Enjoy your adventure

7 Ways To Deal With Exam Stress

Article by @PassMatricSA (

1. What stresses you..?
We never stress about life in general, there is always something that triggers it.

For you it may be…

An overdue assignment or project
Worrying about your Tertiary finance, bursary or application
Finding the right matric dance partner….
Taking ten minutes to identify your stressors can greatly reduce the stress itself. Once revealed it’s then simple to eliminate each one by addressing the problem directly.

2. Always on time
I personally hate being late.

It has an annoying ability to ruin your entire day by making you feel one step behind the rest of the world.

So be on time for school and more importantly your exams. This creates a calmer environment and allows you to prepare for the day or exam better.

This also holds true for tertiary students and workers, so get into the habit early.

3. Biting off too much
Minimalism is the new black.

Unnecessary commitments in your matric year can hinder state of mind and ultimately lead you to failure.

Common Commitments that are really not required.
Romeo & Juliet…..We all want to find that special one but chances are he or she is not in matric. Being young and in love is romantic, thrilling but also filled with lots of unneeded drama.
Social Butterfly….If you known for your social status and not your matric marks then you may have a problem.
Your schedule should be extremely simple and focused, the more you try to do the more stress you create by not achieving everything.

Your studies come first and foremost this year.

4. Avoid Drama
Boyfriends or Girlfriends
Difficult People
Haters ………cause haters gonna hate 😉

5. Clear up
If your study area looks like a war zone, downtown Joburg or a rubbish dump then you have work to do.

Your brain just works better when there is order.

Another area that students typically ignore is organizing their study material. Get everything together and get it organized, doing this alone creates an inner confidence that can only help.

6. Detox

This unfortunately does not mean going for a spa treatment 🙂

It’s setting aside time for You. To do absolutely nothing……and not feel guilty about it.

7. Graze
Eating healthily is extremely overstated these days but its stress reducing powers cannot be underestimated.

Good Eating Tips
Limit Coffee, Red Bull, Play Energy Drink, Monster Energy and Steri Stumpy Intake 🙂
Eat something neutral for breakfast, such as porridge, weetbix or muesli.
Remember Fruit? Try some….
Most people hate drinking water but failure to consume a reasonable amount causes our bodies to be continually dehydrated. The negative effects of this dehydrated state do not help when trying to concentrate.

How to Study – Complete Step-by-Step Guide

Article via WikiHow

Download the Free Study Methods & Techniques App here:

Make things interesting.
Logical arguments will not give you motivation to study. Thinking that if I study hard and get into a good university and get a good job, etc., will not interest you. Love what you do. Try to find the beauty of every subject, and most importantly try to link it with the events of your life and things that interest you. This linking may be conscious (ie. performing chemical reactions, physical experiments or manual mathematics calculations in order to prove a formula) or unconscious (eg. You go to the park and look at the leaves. Then you think to yourself, Hmm, let me review the parts of the leaf we learned in bio class last week). Even though this might not sound the most ideal method for theoretical subjects such as English, use your creativity to make stuff up. For example try to write a story with all subjects starting with S, all objects starting with O, and no verbs containing V.

Manage your time.
Make a weekly schedule and devote a certain amount of time per day to studying. This will also improve your grades. That amount will vary depending on whether you’re in high school or college, and also varies by field of study.

Study in 20-50 minute chunks.
It takes time for your brain to form new long-term memories, and you can’t just keep studying flat out. Take 5-10 minute breaks minimum and do something physically active to get your blood flowing and make you more alert. Do a few jumping jacks, run around your house, play with the dog, whatever it takes. Do just enough to get yourself pumped, but not worn out.

Make enough time in your schedule to get enough sleep.
Think of it this way: If you sleep only 4-5 hours, you’ll probably need to double your study time in order to be as effective as if you’d gotten 7-9 hours of sleep. Study more and sleep less? That doesn’t sound like a very good deal. Get a good night’s sleep every night and you’ll be making the best of your study time. If you end up a little sleep deprived despite your best efforts, take a short nap (20 minutes) before studying. Then do some physical activity (like you would do during a break) right before you start.

Find a good study spot.
You should feel comfortable, but not so comfortable that you risk falling asleep–a bed isn’t a very good study spot when you’re tired! The place where you study should be relatively quiet (traffic outside your window and quiet library conversations are fine, but interrupting siblings and music blasting in the next room are not).

As far as music is concerned, that’s up to you. Some people prefer silence, others prefer music in the background. If you belong to the latter group, stick to instrumental music (music that has no words like classical, soundtrack, trance, baroque ) and that you’re already familiar with (not something that’s bound to distract you)–otherwise, your brain will “multi-task” and not be able to retain information as well.
Having the television on while you study is generally a bad idea. It can distract you a lot and suck all of the things you’ve studied out by making you focused on the show that is on.

Clear your mind.
If you’ve got a lot on your mind take a moment to write yourself some notes about what you’re thinking about before you start studying. This will help to clear your mind and focus all your thoughts on your work.

Snack smart while you study.
Have your snacks prepared when you begin a study session–don’t wait till you get hungry and go rummaging for food. Avoid any snacks or drinks that will give you a rush of energy, because with every rush comes a crash in which all the information you studied is lost to an intense desire to sleep. Focus on “slow release” carbohydrates, which not only give you a steady stream of energy, but they also boost serotonin, a brain chemical that makes you feel good:[1]

Rewrite your notes at home.
When you’re in class, emphasize recording over understanding or neatness when you take notes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to understand or organize your notes at all; just don’t waste time doing something in class that you can figure out or neaten up at home. Consider your in-class notes a “rough draft” of sorts. Rewrite your notes as soon after the class as possible, while the material is fresh in your mind so that you can fill in any gaps completely from memory. The process of rewriting your notes is a more active approach to studying–it engages your mind in a way that just reading the notes doesn’t.

You may find it easier to keep two notebooks–one for your “rough draft” notes, and another for your rewritten notes.
Some people type their notes, but others find that handwriting enhances their ability to remember the notes.
The more paraphrasing you do, the better. Same goes for drawing. If you’re studying anatomy, for example, “re-draw” the system you’re studying from memory.

Learn the most important facts first.
Don’t just read the material from beginning to end, stopping to memorize each new fact as you come to it. New information is acquired much more easily when you can relate it to material that you already know.

When you are beginning to study a new chapter, it will make the information it contains much more meaningful and easier to learn if you first take a few minutes to read the introduction, the headings, the first sentence of every paragraph, and the chapter summary to get a good idea of what the chapter is about before going on to read the chapter as a whole. (Word for word, these portions also contain more information that is likely to be asked about on a test!)

If you can, use a highlighter, or underline the most important points in the body of the text, so that you can spot them more easily when you review the material. It also helps to make notes in pencil in the margin in your own words to summarize or comment on important points. (These practices may make your textbook worth less when you sell it back to the bookstore, but it may make it worth a great deal more to you at test time!)
If the text book belongs to the school, than you can use those highlighted sticky notes, or a regular sticky note beside the sentence or paragraph.
You can also read just these portions in order to quickly review the material you have learned while it is still fresh in your memory, and help the main points to sink in.

This is also a great way to review the most important ideas just before a test, when your time is especially limited.

It’s also a good way to periodically review in this manner to keep the main points of what you have already learned fresh in your mind if you need to remember a large amount of material for a longer period — for a final examination, for a comprehensive exam in your major, for a graduate oral, or for entry into a profession.

If you have enough privacy, it also helps to recite your summaries aloud in order to involve more senses in the activity of learning, like listening to music over several channels at once. Incorporate your summaries into your notes, if there is a connection.

If you’re having trouble summarizing the material so that it “sticks” in your head, try teaching it to someone else. Pretend you’re teaching it to someone who doesn’t know anything about the topic, or create a wikiHow page about it! For example, How to Memorize the Canadian Territories & Provinces was made as a study guide for an 8th grade student.

Make flash cards.
Traditionally, this is done with index cards, but you can also download computer programs that cut down on space and the cost of index cards. You can also just use a regular piece of paper folded (vertically) in half. Put the questions on the side you can see when the paper is folded; unfold it to see the answers inside. Keep quizzing yourself until you get all the answers right reliably. Remember: “Repetition is the mother of skill.”

You can also turn your notes into flash cards using the Cornell note-taking system, which involves grouping your notes around keywords that you can quiz yourself on later by covering the notes and trying to remember what you wrote based on seeing only the keyword.[2]

Find out if your textbook has a vocabulary section, a glossary, or a list of terms, make sure that you understand these completely.
You don’t have to memorize them, but whenever there is an important concept in a particular field, there is usually a special term to refer to it. Learn these terms, and be able to use them easily, and you will have gone a long way towards mastering the subject itself. (Besides, teachers frequently draw from these lists as a quick and easy way to make up test questions!)

Make associations.
The most effective way to retain information is to “tie” it to existing information that’s already lodged in your mind.

Take advantage of your learning style. Think about what you already learn and remember easily–song lyrics? choreography? pictures? Work that into your study habits. If you’re having trouble memorizing a concept, write a catchy jingle about it (or write lyrics to the tune of your favorite song); choreograph a representative dance; draw a comic. The sillier and more outrageous, the better; most people tend to remember silly things more than they remember boring things!

Use mnemonics (memory aids). Rearrange the information is a sequence that’s meaningful to you. For example, if one wants to remember the notes of the treble clef lines in music, remember the mnemonic Every Good Boy Deserves Fudge = E, G, B, D, F. It’s much easier to remember a sentence than a series of random letters. You can also build a memory palace or Roman room to memorize lists like the thirteen original colonies in America, in chronological order. If the list is short, link the items together using an image in your mind.

Organize the information with a mind map. The end result of mapping should be a web-like structure of words and ideas that are somehow related in the writer’s mind.

Use visualization skills. Construct a movie in your mind that illustrates the concept you’re trying to remember, and play it several times over. Imagine every little detail. Use your senses–how does it smell? look? feel? sound? taste?

Make a study sheet. Try and condense the information you will need into one sheet, or two if absolutely necessary. Bring it around with you and look at it whenever you have downtime during the days leading up to the test. If you type it up onto the computer, you can get a lot more control over your layout by changing font sizes, margin spaces, etc.

Make it a group effort.
Get some friends together–friends who are actually interested in studying, that is–and have everyone bring over their flash cards. Pass them around and quiz each other. If anyone is unclear on a concept, take turns explaining them to each other. Better yet, turn your study session into a game like Trivial Pursuit.

How to Know the Importance of Education

Article via WikiHow

The most basic thing to know about the importance of education is to research its benefits or how it will brighten up your life. If you like numbers, then maybe search up statistics of how many people have changed when they were more knowing about the world.

Find your role models.
Are your role models well educated? This shows that they needed education to make them famous so wouldn’t it help you become famous if you were educated?

Work hard.
Working hard on a goal and being praised for their intelligence is a great thing for a student. Firstly you have been rewarded for your work and secondly people admire you for your knowledge, showing education can make you feel happy and satisfied with yourself.

Be social.
Education can bring people together as friends. Maybe getting the same level as someone else will bring friendship. It can happen and it does happen.

Learn about the Environment.
We can educate the younger generation about pollution so they don’t have to face the problems we are facing and other environmental issues, so in the future the Earth will become greener.

With knowledge you can do experiments to test flight or other things, not only it is fun and beneficial but you are learning!

Find motivation.
When people get bad grades, they start to deceive themselves that education is not important rather than trying harder to become much better. Find different ways to motivate yourself, like reading about a role model. If you try harder you can become a great person. Try looking for motivational quotes about education – they will surely inspire

Importance of Education to Youths

Article by Manali Oak (via Buzzle)

Youth is that phase of life when you dream big, hope for only the best to happen to you and look forward to a bright tomorrow. It is that phase when nothing seems impossible; you want to be successful and you believe you will. You feel you know exactly what you want from life and you believe you will get it. During these years, life looks bright and beautiful. You feel you can win the world. It’s an important phase in your life – youth – when you turn into someone different. Turning from a child to an adult is a transition – a big transition. There’s added confidence, added responsibility, there’s growth, there’s life – a new life. It’s when you begin to understand yourself, discover your potential, know when opportunities knock your door and dream of only success. It’s the time to reinvent yourself and redesign your personality. And that’s where education has a big role to play.

Education to Youths ~ Know its Importance

Education is the best tool to bring a positive change in society, to develop a generation of responsible individuals and contribute to the development of good human beings. The fundamental purpose of education is to gain knowledge, understand the forms of proper conduct and acquire technical competency in specific subject(s). Education serves as the means to develop oneself physically, mentally and socially. Here’s how education makes a difference in one’s life.

Gives them Wings:
The importance of education manifests itself in the need to cultivate youths to become mature individuals. Youth is the growing stage of their lives. It is during these years that they develop from kids to become mature and responsible individuals. It is during this phase that they make career decisions and begin pursuing their goals.

Tells them Where to Fly:
Education should consist of training and development in their field(s) of interest. It should help the youths define their career objectives, decide what they want from life and enable them to achieve what they wish to. Education to youths must aim at helping them build a skill set and work on the skills acquired to develop subject expertise. It should include courses that can help them develop a career. The education should open doors for new opportunities in different fields. It should help the youths find avenues to pursue their interests. It should enable them to venture into new fields and explore new areas. Education must help them set reachable goals and realize them.

Makes them Socially Aware:
It is important that education to youths aims at developing social awareness in these adults-to-be. The training given to them should consist of environmental education and social values. They should be made aware of the current social and environmental issues. They should be explained the steps they can take in dealing with the issues. Education should expose the youths even to the darker side of society; the problems that eclipse it, the prejudices that shackle it and the superstitions that blind it. Youths should be encouraged to come up with ideas and devise ways to better the society that they are part of.

Makes them Self-Aware:
Overpopulation, unwanted pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, abortions, unprotected sex and teenage pregnancy are some areas of growing concern today. The reason – lack of sex education. Incomplete knowledge in this regard or wrong notions about sex breed psychological problems in teenagers. This underlines the importance of sex education to youths. Education should make the youths self-aware.

Tells them what’s Right, what’s Wrong:
While instilling the good in youths, education should also give them the ability to reject the bad. It should enable them to choose good against bad. Education should empower them to take decisions and make choices – each time preferring right to wrong. Education should give them the strength to accept the mistakes made, mend them and most importantly – learn from them. Education should give them the courage to rise after every fall and turn every failure into a success.

Impact of Technology on Education

Article by Manali Oak (via Buzzle)

Technology is a gift of God. After the gift of life it is perhaps the greatest of God’s gifts. It is the mother of civilizations, of arts and of sciences. – Freeman Dyson

Technology has certainly changed the way we live. It has impacted different facets of life and redefined living. Undoubtedly, technology plays an important role in every sphere of life. Several mundane manual tasks can be automated, thanks to technology. Also, many complex and critical processes can be carried out with ease and greater efficiency with the help of modern technology. Thanks to the application of technology, living has changed and it has changed for better.

Technology’s Impact on Education
* Easy access to information
* Greater interest in learning
* Increased retention of information
* Robust information storage
* Better presentation of information
* Teaching made interactive
* Knowledge sharing made easy

Technology has revolutionized the field of education. The importance of technology in schools cannot be ignored. In fact, with the onset of computers in education, it has become easier for teachers to impart knowledge and for students to acquire it. The use of technology has made the process of teaching and learning all the more enjoyable.

Technology is a teaching aid
Computers offer an interactive audio-visual medium. PowerPoint presentations and animation software can be used to present information in an interactive way. Owing to the audio-visual effects, this way of teaching invites greater interest from students. The method is equally helpful for teachers. Projectors and screens facilitate simultaneous viewing of information by a large number of students. Addressing systems using microphones and speakers make it possible for teachers to reach a larger number of students simultaneously. These teaching aids have led to improvements in student attendance and their attentiveness in class. Interactive media have proven to be useful in increasing students’ concentration levels.

Technology has made student life easy
Technology aids student expression. Students can use much more than just pen and paper to express themselves or present what they have learned. They can use software to make presentations and projects. This makes them more interested in the subject and leads to better retention of information. With technological aids, they can make easy-to-remember notes and a creative presentation of the information they have acquired. It won’t be wrong to say that application of technology has made a student’s life easy. It’s easier for students to carry a PDA than carrying big fat books to school. An iPad is less bulkier than a pile of notebooks or an ebook reader much lighter than a book.

It’s easier to store information
Computers enable better and more robust storage of information. If you weigh chalk, board, books, and notebooks against technology, you find that technology can substitute for any and all of these. Computers have replaced chalk and board; they can even do the talking sometimes while the teacher takes a step back and lets the presentations ‘speak’. Digital libraries require no physical space and students and teachers sitting in different parts of the world can access the same library at the same time. Compact memory devices have replaced notebooks and a keyboard and computer mouse are the new writing devices. What may have required hundred pages of a book can be compacted into a tiny memory chip. It can take hours to write, but it takes only seconds to type. Storing data has become much easier, owing to technology.

Information is easily accessible
The Internet is a huge information base. It can be used as an effective tool for acquiring knowledge. All a web user needs to do is to key in queries to search engines. Users are presented with thousands of search results. There are several websites and web directories that offer information on literally everything in the world. And all this is just a few clicks away. Both teachers and students can benefit from this.

Technology has eliminated space and time constraints
Online education and distance learning have given a new dimension to education and higher learning. Even if students are geographically far away from each other, they can be a part of one classroom. Though not physically but virtually, they can. Many educational institutes offer online courses, which eliminates time and space constraints in acquiring education. Universities offer online educational programs wherein students can interact with their teachers over the Internet, access reference material from the University website, and earn degrees online.

Teaching is sharing
Thanks to the application of technology, education has become more collaborative. With plethora of information so easily available to students, they can be a part of the process; they don’t need to remain at the receiving end. Owing to the use of technology, subject experts can come together to formulate courses, design assessments, and better the process of teaching. The day isn’t far, when students located in different parts of the world will be able to seek advice from experts spread across the globe. Education will be customized then. It will cater to different learning needs and varying grasping abilities and interests of students.

Mutual impact
Today, computer education is a part of school and college curricula. Considering the wide range of applications of computer technology, it is necessary for each one of us to be computer-friendly. Considering the advantages of the Internet technology, it is important for each of us to gain basic knowledge of Internet access and web research. We live in a technology-age and hence, it is important for us to be abreast with the latest inventions in the field. With education, we acquire knowledge of the functioning and use of different pieces of technology. And with the application of technology, we can educate ourselves better. This is the impact that technology and education have on each other. Education boosts the use of technology and technology aids education.

The importance of technology in education cannot be stressed enough. The introduction of technology in the educational field has made the process of learning and knowledge-sharing, a more interactive and pleasurable experience. Perhaps, the greatest impact of technology on education is the change in perspective. The paradigm shift in thinking from local to global can be attributed to technology. Indeed technology is one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind.

The Four Foundations of Financial Literacy

Written by: Robert Kiyosaki –

A friend of mine’s son started kindergarten last year. The young boy excelled at math and art, but he struggled with reading. For him, reading was a chore. It was hard work with little payoff. My friend had to be diligent in making sure his son read each and every night. Because given the chance, his son would have been off playing instead.

The problem wasn’t that the boy didn’t like reading. He loved to have his dad read for him all the time. The problem was that learning to read was hard and it was easier to let others do it for him. Over this summer, however, it finally clicked. Now my friend’s son won’t stop reading. He keeps asking to go to the library. He spends hours on the couch reading books. He loves reading.

Like most kids his age, my friend’s son was having a hard time moving from illiterate to literate. But once he got over the hard part of gaining literacy, he soared.

As adults, most of us know how to read. We’ve gone through the struggle and frustration of becoming literate. Thankfully, that is one thing our schools do well. But for most adults there is one type of literacy that is sorely lacking — financial literacy.

Our schools do well at teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, but they are horrible at preparing people to work with money. Nearly every person who graduates from school is financially illiterate.

If you want to be rich, you must have a high level of financial literacy.

The good news is that you can become financially literate. It will take hard work, a lot of study, and trial and error—but the dividends will be worth it.

The key to becoming financially literate is to understand the four foundational principles of financial literacy.

#1 – The Difference Between an Asset and a Liability

Many people think they know what an asset is. For instance, you probably think your house is an asset—but it’s not. The truth is that just as there are two definitions of an asset.

Accountants use one definition that requires lots of financial calisthenics to make people and companies feel richer than they really are. This keeps them employed and their clients blissfully ignorant.

The rich use another definition grounded in simplicity and reality. An asset is anything that puts money in your pocket and a liability is anything that takes money out of your pocket.

Your house is not an asset because it takes money out of your pocket each month. Even if you own your house outright, you still have to pay for the taxes, maintenance and more out of your own pocket.

But if you own a rental property, that can be an asset—if it puts money in your pocket each month in the form of cash flow. When your tenant pays rent, they cover your mortgage, maintenance, taxes, and more.

#2 – Cash Flow Versus Capital Gains

Most people invest for capital gains. The rich invest for cash flow.

Simply put, investing for capital gains is like gambling. You invest your money and hope the price goes up. For instance, many people buy a house hoping they’ll be able to sell it for more money later. In the meantime, they have to pay their mortgage and home expenses. Money goes out of their pocket. It becomes a liability.

The problem is that when you invest for capital gains you have no control over whether the price goes up or down, and the bigger issue is, if you do make a profit, you pay the highest rate in taxes.

Conversely, the rich invest for cash flow. So, for instance, they buy investment real estate with other people’s money, find tenants to pay the expenses, and collect rent each month. It becomes an asset. And if there’s capital gains, that’s a bonus.

By investing for cash flow instead of capital gains, the rich have control over their income and pay the lowest rate in taxes—and sometimes nothing in taxes.

But investing for cash flow, while a simple concept, requires a strong financial education in order to make your own financial decisions.

#3 – Using debt and taxes to get richer

Your financial adviser will tell you that debt is bad and taxes are inevitable. But the rich understand that both debt and taxes can be used to create immense wealth.

When it comes to debt, there are two kinds—bad and good. When your financial adviser tells you to stay out of debt, she means stay out of bad debt.

Bad debt comes in the form of borrowing money for liabilities such as using credit cards to buy TVs and take vacations, borrowing a line of credit on your personal home, and more.

Staying out of bad debt is good advice, but the problem is that your financial adviser won’t tell you about good debt.

Good debt is debt used to purchase assets like rental property.

When you use the bank’s money to purchase cash-flowing real estate, you use less of your own money to secure an asset by paying only a down payment instead of full price, and your tenant’s rent pays off your debt while you own the asset and pocket the profit.

When it comes to taxes, the rich understand that governments write tax codes to encourage specific types of behavior. If governments want you to build affordable housing, they give you a tax cut. If they want to encourage oil exploration, they give you a tax cut. If they want to see higher employment, they give you a tax cut.

The secret is that most tax benefits are made to help entrepreneurs and investors. With the right financial education, you too can utilize the tax code to not only get richer, but also pay nothing in taxes.

Utilizing good debt and getting richer through taxes takes a high level of financial intelligence. But everyone can learn and put these principles into practices.

#4 – Making your own financial decisions

When you’re not confident about your knowledge of money, you let others make your financial decisions for you.

You let your broker decide how your money should be invested. You let your bank tell you what interest rate is worthy of your money. You follow whatever investing trend is popular in the news.

The rich don’t follow the crowds. They set the trends and are gone by the time the trends become mainstream. What’s their secret? They think for themselves about money and make their own financial decisions because they have a high financial intelligence.

The key to building great wealth is having great knowledge to act on and great wisdom to know which course of action is the best.

This kind of knowledge and wisdom only comes through a high financial intelligence gained from applying yourself to financial education.