When it comes to achieving personal success or accumulating wealth in America, there is no one “set-in-stone” path. But the most accepted formula still seems to be: make excellent grades, earn a college degree, and climb the corporate ladder by outworking everyone around you. 

In an ever-changing business world, however, some entrepreneurs say that traditional thinking is misguided and outdated – and that it can be self-limiting to those who buy into it and fall short of those standards. 

“There’s a lot of poisonous conventional wisdom we’ve heard all of our life, things that hold many great people back,” says Daniel Ameduri, co-founder of the Future Money Trends newsletter. “Much of what we’re led to believe leads to success is really a collection of myths. And they become obstacles in our path when we feel we can’t measure up. 

“But if you start to believe in yourself, you can overcome the many negative roadblocks that can be deeply embedded in our subconscious minds.”

Ameduri goes over three common myths that interfere with people’s potential:

• Get great grades and degrees. Many successful and wealthy people never graduated from college, and recently some of America’s biggest brands removed college diplomas from their job requirements. “High grades and a degree can certainly help you,” Ameduri says, “but this very thought has held back millions. Study after study of millionaires has proven that GPAs and college play a very limited role. This belief actually has the biggest negative effect on people who were straight-A students, but later went on to face rejection in business and in life. This belief has also held back millions who think they aren’t smart enough to achieve greatness due to poor or average grades in school.”

• Work harder than everybody. “Let’s change it to, ‘Work smarter,’ ” Ameduri says. “I would encourage anyone who has any influence on a child to replace this with ‘work smarter.’ Success does come with sacrifice, but working 12-to-16-hour days is not mandatory. However, maximizing your time and covering details, like researching your investments, is required. I know many people who want to get rich, but then spend their entire Saturday mowing the lawn, grocery shopping, and doing other $10-an-hour jobs. Is that really the best use of their time? And how about time spent in meetings? My honest conclusion is that meetings are where productivity goes to die. If you want something done, use email, make written offers and proposals, and then get it done.”

• ‘Jobs are safe; business is risky.’ “Jobs are just as risky, not only because you can be fired or laid off, but because you cap your income,” Ameduri says. “If you’re a school teacher and you over-deliver, it probably won’t change your income. Own a tutoring company and over-deliver, and you’ll receive tips, bonuses, gifts, and can raise your rates. The income equation is simple: deliver value.”

“Belief in one’s self, discipline, and perception of risk,” Ameduri says, “have a lot more to do with becoming successful or even a multi-millionaire and living your own dream life.”