College Doesn’t Always Equal Success

lifeplanLate one evening, I went to purchase a drink at the local grocery store.  When I walked into the store, I was approaching my destination when I passed a younger guy speaking with an older gentleman he met up with on the isle.  It became apparent to me that the younger guy had just returned home from a church mission and was getting back into “normal” society.  The old man had asked the younger what his plans were.  The younger guy replied by saying, “well I am a few steps ahead of the game, I have applied for college and picked out a few random classes to take for the fall”.  The older guy followed up by asking what post-college would look like for this kid, in which he replied, “well who knows, I have no idea, just have to finish up college first and see I guess”.

Overhearing this conversation fueled my blood quite a bit!  First off, it illustrates a very interesting problem plaguing the millennial generation.  They simply do not have any kind of a life plan, and if they do, it doesn’t reflect reality whatsoever!  It appears many have fallen prey to the cultural narrative that signing up for college is a plan for success.  Guess what, college doesn’t equal success, especially in today’s economy.  College without any type of direction is certainly nothing short of a money pit of debt.

Earlier in my adult years, I certainly subscribed to this college fantasy.  There would have been no convincing me that you could be successful without it.  However, as I have matured my eyes have opened significantly.  There are more people I know in my life that have obtained high levels of success without any formal education than have.  They are highly skilled individuals who have worked hard, been innovative,  and persevered.  This level of high school graduate success demonstrates we no longer live in a world where “college” needs to be a prerequisite.  However, having a life plan should be a prerequisite!

During the course of my personal and professional life, I have been aquatinted with some highly successful individuals.  Some of them with advanced degrees, and some who never even finished high school.  The common denominator with them all is this:  they have vision!  They have a vision of what their future should look like, and they have planned accordingly.  There is a common understanding that there are multiple ways to climb the mountain of achievement.  They put in work, hard work!  In fact, they do a lot of things average people aren’t willing to do.  That is why the average people stay average, they don’t take risks or put themselves in uncomfortable situations.

The bottom line is this:  life doesn’t give a shit about your excuses.  Life will move forward without you and it won’t blink an eye.  As the quote at the beginning of this post says, if you don’t have a plan for yourself, you will be included in someone else’s plan.  Sometimes the plan which life picks for you isn’t a very fun one.  You don’t plan to work hard and achieve…that is fine, someone else will take the money, the happiness, the success that could have been yours.  And guess what, they won’t have hurt feelings about doing it either.  Do you realize our reality is that there is an equal amount of money, happiness, jobs, and success out there for everyone?  All you have to do is earn and achieve what is rightfully yours!

So make a life plan for yourself.  Figure out a difficult problem you would like to solve to make the world a better place.  Fulfill the passion you have toward something you highly value.  Work diligently to achieve what is rightfully yours.  Don’t let someone else use you to achieve their plan or dreams.

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