To any and all people who don’t know what to do with their lives, are confused as to what path they are headed down, or are still in the phase of your life where you think college will be a never-ending party: this is for you.
As I entered my senior year in college, something strange hit me like a bulldozer. The moment I woke up and biked myself to school, an eerie feeling came over me.
This is my last first day of school. Ever.
Last year, I didn’t understand this. I have been going to school my entire life. It is written in law that every child must be enrolled in school. No exceptions. For as long as I can remember, I have always been in a classroom environment. The thought of that ending for me is bittersweet.
Although I have always excelled in academics, I never really liked school. I feel I have so much to offer in other areas of talent that if I REALLY wanted to drop out of school and pursue one of my other dreams, I could. And I would be damn good at it too.
But I stuck it out to get my degree and allowed myself to be encompassed by the learning experience.
This feeling that came over me could be described as emptiness and uncertainty, to put it simply. I’ve always talked about how much I want school to be over, how much I hate homework, and how much I cannot wait to just be doing what I want to do in the field I went to school for. But now that that moment is quickly approaching, it’s kind of scary.
Being in school is comforting. There are always people around, always opportunities to hang out, meet new people, be lazy, and you can still be financially dependent on your parents. Not to mention, college campuses offer so many free resources to the students! Once you graduate, the free stuff ends.
You have to be on your own. Your friendships with people dissipate as people move away and move on with their lives as they all try to get ahead in their career and pursue their dreams. They have big people jobs now. You have to pay bills, rent, insurance, etc. Yuck.
Being an adult isn’t all it’s measured up to be. As kids we want to grow up so fast and just be one of the “big kids”… but once you finally make it, you want to reverse the clock.
One of the hardest parts about being an adult is that you are expected to know what you want to do with your life. And the struggle: not everyone knows.
Even people who graduate college don’t know what they want to do. They end up jobless. But looking on the other side of the spectrum, even the people who think they have it figured out often end up getting into a career they actually hate later down the line.
It’s all a great void of uncertainty. People change as they grow older. Your passions and your career choices that may have once made you happy might not bring about the same love ten years down the line. Then you are back to square one and trying, yet again, to figure out what to do with your life… and by this time, you’re probably in your 30s.
And that’s exactly what it is.
Even as someone who knows what they want to do with their career, I still found this book SO helpful. The fact that people who already “have it all figured out” find this book to have various benefits, says a lot about what it can do for those who may not “have it all figured out.”
This book is written in a conversational blog style so it is really easy to read and very personable.
Just by reading this book, I was inspired to never waste a moment of my time doing things I don’t want to do. Sure, there are moments in life where you have to do the dirty work first in order to reach the top, but just make sure the dirty work will be getting you somewhere you want to be. There’s no point in feeling useless and bored if you’re not into the bigger picture in the long run.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to every person who is figuring out what direction to steer themselves in for the rest of their lives, especially college students.
The writers of this book spent a lot of time, over many years going through the tedious efforts to make this book. Their hard work is apparent through the compilation of years of experience transcribed onto the pages that describe many interviews with successful, wealthy and happy people.
The people they interviewed and showcased in this book were exactly the type of people I aspire to someday become. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be both successful AND happy? This is the main reason I was so transfixed by this book.
There is also a lot of really good advice scattered within these pages that can be applied to everyone.
Here are some of my favorite lines:
“If I had a hall pass on failure, fear, or… what would I be doing?” (30)
“What would life look like for me to get to the end and not regret decisions I’ve made? (30)
“The real security blanket is your values and your vision. If it’s not working for you, move. Every day is a wasted day after that.” (32)
“When it comes to criticism, constructive or destructive, it helps to simply picture you teachers’, parents’, friends’, family’s, and coworkers’ remarks as comments under the YouTube video of your life. It doesn’t matter how many ‘likes’ their comments may get; it’s up to you to decide whether their words are valid and worthy of deeper consideration.” (45)
“When you build a life, you end up building a good resume.” (56)
“If you’re only living for the 48 hours of the weekend, how do you value the other 120 hours spent Monday through Friday?” (57)
“The act of Self-Construction is difficult, and it happens over and over, in every iteration of your life. Living in Beta doesn’t mean you’re freaking out that your company might downsize and you’re out of a job; it means knowing that if your company downsizes and you’re out of a job, you’ll be okay because of the hard work you’ve been doing strengthening who you are and what you’re good at, rather than blindly holding onto a ‘career’.” (84)
“We live in a society obsessed with outward displays of success. In the dominant worldview, success is a result that’s measured mostly by our ability to get things.” (89)
“Making a ton of money with no meaning in the effort is like having a Lamborghini engine inside a Pinto with no working air-conditioning and windows that roll down only halfway. You can’t revel in the ride, because the sum of the parts doesn’t balance out.” (182)
“ ‘At some point, you need to stop wondering what you are going to do with your life and just go out and do something.’” (202)
“Perhaps, stuck there on that metaphorical couch, we’ll find ourselves saying, ‘Tomorrow.’ Or ‘Next Weekend.’ Or “Next month.” Or ‘Next semester.’ We’re all familiar with how this plays out: Tomorrow I’ll do that Photoshop tutorial, but tonight I’m going to binge-watch an entire season of that new zombie meth-lab biker-gang comedy on Netflix. Next semester I’ll enroll in that ecology class I’ve been vowing to take for the last six years. Next weekend I really will write a blog instead of watching YouTube videos of pandas sneezing. You can routine to delay, but just remember, there is no aspirational ‘you’ waiting around the corner. What you do today is who you are.” (214)
“Whatever your dream is, if I follow you around for a week, I should know what it is without you telling me.” (222)
“Hustle is about relentlessly pursuing the skills and experience you need to grow. It means not stopping. It’s working for free to get your foot in the door. It’s taking on the shit work and doing it well. It’s chipping away at the wall until you make a hole big enough to slip through… and make your presence known on the other side. It’s making it to the finish line, regardless of failures and setbacks. It’s believing that what you have to offer is worth fighting for. Hustle is all about, as author and Nike branding guru Kevin Carroll told us, ‘ putting your dream out on the street.’” (228)
“If you never take a risk, you never get a reward. Simple as that.” (248)
“Getting an F means you underperformed to the fullest extent; you failed, brought shame to your name. There is no lesson to be learned, no helpful takeaway for bettering your performance the next time. It’s no wonder we develop such deep-seated fear of failure… But everywhere we’ve been, accomplished people have shared stories of the failures that changed and improved them.” (262)
“’You learn so much more when things aren’t easy, when things aren’t fed to you, when things aren’t perfect.’” (266)
“Failure is not bad. What’s bad is the inability to learn or grow from a situation that might not have gone your way the first time. That is true failure.” (267)
“’The only way you’re going to get good is if you fail. Don’t put that process off, because it’s going to hurt more when you’re older. Because what ends up happening is people don’t want that hurt, so they get married and have kids, and then they blame their families and their circumstances for the fact that they didn’t want to fail… so if you want that enrichment of success, get busy failing.’” (268)
“Those who dare, risk defeat. Those who don’t, ensure it.” (269)
“Accomplishing something, large or small, helps you build the muscle memory of what accomplishment feels like.” (273)
“We have to become the authors of our own internal mantras and replace the toxic messages of the Noise with positive messages of empowerment. Believing in yourself takes practice…” (273)
“A person can only be as great as the dreams they allow themselves to have.” (309)
“The most well-spent and fulfilled lives begin with dreams, because without them, we’re not truly ourselves – we’re what others tell us we can be.” (310)
There were so many great moments, so many words of inspiration throughout this book, it was hard to narrow it down to this list.
But the point is, it is an encouraging read. When you read about the lives of successful people in the media, it is often skewed to showcase where they are at now. But it doesn’t tell us the hard work it took to get there. It doesn’t show the years of failure they had before they grabbed their life by the horns and finally improved their lives to get to where they are at now. It only shows them after they’ve polished themselves and abstained from the dirt and grime work they had to muster through to get to the top.
You can’t have this:
Without going through this:
But this book tells us exactly that.
It tells us that all of these successful and happy people started out just like everyone else. Some of them living in cars on the streets, some of them choosing a career they hated for years, some of them high school dropouts, etc. They are human just like the rest of us and they all started from the bottom.
Granted, there are the lucky and fortunate people out there who are given a lead in life, but this book reminds us that there are more people that do not have this privilege. These people should be our role models.
This reminds me of that quote that says, “You have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé.” So, make it count.
If Beyoncé can do it, if the road trippers can do it, if she can do it, if he can do it… then so can you.