“It is your road and yours alone
others may walk it with you
but no one can walk it for you.” – Rumi
What should you do after college?
I have no idea.
I am struggling with this question myself. I am a business major because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in, so I picked a general topic that I thought could get me a job, but never really challenged me. I go to an average university in North Carolina. I never put myself out there to join clubs or organization that might have interested me.
But now, just one semester, and two courses away from graduating, it’s almost time to get released into the real world. So how do I decide what to do?
Although I did not take full advantage of the college experience, and I took Alan’s expression, from The Hangover, “lone wolf” a bit too seriously, I did other things that offered me insight on how to answer this question.
I read just shy of 200 books over the course of my college career. I was fortunate enough to have mentors to gain wisdom and knowledge I wouldn’t of had otherwise. I worked a job that I loved, and was exposed to many different types of people. I have a mom who was loving enough, and pushy enough 😉 to make sure I got my ass back in school after dropping out.
So now, months aways from the next chapter of life, how do I decide the direction to take?
Close Some Doors
Many of us believe that if we choose one path, than all other doors will close. But if we keep all the doors open, our options remain limitless, and that’s comforting.
But this isn’t true. This belief is actually the quickest path to failure because it freezes us. It doesn’t allow us to take action in any direction.
Counterintuitively, it actually works the other way — when you start making choices, closing some doors, and taking action, opportunities multiply!
“You can have anything you want in this world, but not everything you want… at least not all at once.” says Entrepreneur Tai Lopez. We are not necessary choosing our one path we will take for the rest of our lives. Most of the time our path never ends where we envision it to. But we must make some choice, and live with those consequences, good or bad. The “value of our lives come from failing and trying” yet we are so scared of failing that we don’t attempt anything!
What Do You Desire?
“Find your passion, and follow it. You will not find that passion in things. And you will not find that passion in money. Because the more things and the more money you have, the more you will just look around and use that as the metric, and there will always be someone with more.” – Randy Pausch
One of my greatest fears is that I will take an office job for the desire of security, or pursue a career that my parents and friends will think is cool and admirable while I “take some time to find my passion.”
This plan is flawed. Passion will not just hit us. Passion comes from an interest or a skill that we get extremely good at after years of practice & beating on our craft.
Sitting in a cubicle, filling out “what is your passion” questionnaires on a legal pad won’t get us there. It’s our life experiences, the small successes & failures, the scrapes on our knees, bloodied lips, falling down, & getting back up. Those are the things that lead us to our passion & purpose, which lead to fulfilling lives.
Sit in a dark room. Discard all thoughts about money. Discard all thoughts about what my family and friends will think. Look deep down, past all the societal bullshit, and ask what lights my fire? What is my heart pulling me towards?
Then let’s have the courage to go do it.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs
I have been lucky enough over these past 3 years to spend some real, quality time, man-to-man, with my father. And a few times I have shared a stress or struggle, he is quick to quip “EWOP (ee WOP),” meaning, Everything Works Out Perfectly.
Sure, it’s a silly little saying, but it is strangely accurate. Through any turmoil that I have experienced in my life, it all truly does seem to work out just fine.
Will Smith says “Being realistic, is the most commonly traveled road to mediocrity.” So let’s stop being realistic. Because when we are “realistic” we focus on a terrible job market, moving back in with our parents, working 9-5’s that we loathe, and finding our passion with questionnaires we fill out on a legal pad (And that’s just not realistic).
As you begin your week, remember the words of Randy Pausch, author of The Last Lecture, “It is not the things we do in life that we regret on our death bed, it is the things we do not”