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5 Life Lessons That You Won’t Learn In College

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I’ve never been a fan of post-secondary formal education. Not because of the skyrocketing tuition prices or the fact that most college students enter school without a solid idea of what job they want. It’s the fact that going to college doesn’t properly prepare you for being a successful adult in the real world.

1. To be successful, you need to be specific about what you want

In college, you can slip by for a few semesters with only a sliver of an idea of what you want to do for a living but when entering the real world, you need to be a little more specific. You need to know exactly what you want from the world so you can create a plan of action and attack your aspirations head on.

 

2. In most job markets, formal education will always be second to experience

When it comes to hiring, employers value one thing above all else: experience.All the degrees, certifications, letters of recommendation and references in the world are outweighed by the simple sentence:

“Ten years experience with a proven track record of success in the industry.”

To that end, if you like doing something and want to turn it into a career, simply do it.

Do it, practice it, become good at it and, in the end, you’ll land the job you want.

 

3. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself

You may know the proper way to file end-of-year earnings reports and how many creamers the boss likes in his coffee but, really, what does any of it matter if you don’t know who you are? The average 9-to-5 job pits an individual against themselves and floods them with an overflow of useless knowledge that inhibits their ability to get up-close and personal with their own identities.

To get the most out of your career, you need to find a job, or business, that pushes you to explore your secret talents, and hidden abilities.

 

4. Enjoying life and having fun is far more important than holding down a steady 9-to-5

Would you spend 40 hours of your free time every week doing something unrewarding? Probably not, right? In a very real sense, every single hour of your life is free time… so why not take advantage of every second of it? If your job doesn’t excite you, and if it isn’t something you would do for free in your spare time… search for a new career.

There’s more to life than a suit and tie, and it’s up to you to find that perfect job — conventional or not — that provides you with the room you need to satisfy your bold and adventurous impulses.

 

5. If you do happen to take on a 9-to-5, you need to take care of yourself

If you’re making a choice to pursue a steady 9-to-5, go on at least 4 vacations a year. When monotony is running high, your boss is calling you for that expense report for the 7th time in a row and you feel like your head is going to explode… don’t take the afternoon or the next few days to blow things off, fly to Jamaica. Relax under the Caribbean sun, play hooky, and flirt with some locals until you feel like heading back. That down time will do wonders for your mental health and your productivity; you’ll be much happier and able to do your job effectively.

And if your cookie-cutter job doesn’t come with enough off time? Feel no shame in mercilessly negotiating your way into a few extra “sick” days.

Over the years, I’ve learned that happiness doesn’t come from locking yourself into a lifelong career at the age of eighteen. It comes from liberally experimenting with your life’s direction, and having a rather flexible existence.

 

Ultimately, while college can prepare you for a job that seems interesting at the moment it can’t prepare you for the inevitable changes that you go through in life. In order to truly experience all that life has to offer, you’ve got to define what you want, devote yourself to practicing it, remain true to yourself and pursue your dreams with an open mind.

Like this post? Check out: 10 Reasons Why Entrepreneurs Should Never Enroll In College

Author bio:  Nonconformist, freedom enthusiast, and part-time Trekkie, Trent is a professional life coach that helps free-thinkers live amazing lives, and encourages everyone to challenge the status quo, and think outside the box when it comes to: Work, success, love, and freedom. Drive by helloimtrent.com sometime, or follow Trent on Twitter.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Megan Hicks

    May 23, 2016 at 2:38 pm

    Thank you Trent! This is a really useful article for young people just starting their adult life. I write a blog for students and cover the issues that might arise on the start of their careers. And I totally agree that as long as you are not entirely sure what you want to do in life this 9-to-5 job is just going to make you miserable.

    I myself was a perfect example of a student you described in the first two points: I studied Economics in college without even thinking of how I will use this education in the future and what exactly I want to become. This was a huge mistake – choosing a major without thinking it all through. I have now found what I like to do. And it’s not connected with economics at all. Now that I think of it – I wasted 5 years of college studying something I never liked.

    Anyway, thanks again for this article!

  2. Jithin Mathew Joseph

    Sep 2, 2014 at 7:57 am

    I want to know how can I find which is my dream carrer. And how to figure out my talents.

  3. Phil Janecic

    Aug 26, 2014 at 3:14 pm

    Nice points, I love how you covered both sides of the spectrum (job-life balance).

    • Granville Louw

      Aug 26, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      Well said….the most important relationship you is the one you have with yourself.

      I always say….

      Whether you’re about to graduate from college, or are 15 years into your career, how do you decide when and what will determine that you’re a success? I see incredibly impressive(graduates) people struggle with this question all of the time.
      The hardest part is that it is undefined and it has to come from you. To me, success means understanding three things: what you want, why you want it and how you’re going to get it.

      “formal education will -always- be second to experience”……I tend to this disagree with this. Where I come from, formal education serves as priority one when applying for Jobs. Somehow many of the baby boomers places a high value on someone with a degree, instead of someone who worked for a Google for years.
      I always say, it is all based on critical factor: Paradigms.

      • Trent W. Nelson

        Aug 27, 2014 at 12:50 am

        “Whether you’re about to graduate from college, or are 15 years into your career, how do you decide when and what will determine that you’re a success? I see incredibly impressive(graduates) people struggle with this question all of the time.”

        I think it’s a common conundrum because, as you said, they dont realize that it is up to them to define success for themselves. Whether you are an entrepreneur, or an employee, you will always have trouble feeling as if you’ve accomplished a great deal, if the definition of success is contrived from another person, or institution.

        I find that most degrees are quite useless because they dont inform prospective employers of the individual’s ability to practically apply the knowledge they have acquired through attending college; it simply displays that the candidate is able to memorize information, and regurgitate it on command.

        This is why doctoral degrees hold so much weight; in order to get one, you have to do your own research, and defend your findings to a board of experts.

        And the comment about formal education being second to experience, it honestly just depends on who you plan on working for. Personally, as an ambitious 20-something entrepreneur, I would never get into business with someone that valued a piece of paper over actual experience.

        I find it rather insulting to work for or with people that you don’t respect, so I choose not to go down that road in my career.

  4. Liv

    Aug 26, 2014 at 1:41 am

    i feel a lot of people loose track of life and get overwhelmed working a job based solely on financial gain. Society has taught people to take the traditional route or the route that guarantees the most money and security. security and money is fine but not living the life you want to live drains you mentally and physically.

    • Trent W. Nelson

      Aug 26, 2014 at 10:04 am

      I agree wholeheartedly.

      Financial gain is probably one of the biggest reasons why people choose certain college majors over others. I’ve met many people that refuse to get a psych degree because they think there’s no money in it, and while I happen to agree with them, I dont think it’s best to choose a career path based solely on it’s money-making potential.

      But the bigger problem is people not negotiating their worth. You can get into a great school, and pursue a field of study that has potential, but if you’re not sure of your worth, you will never be truly happy with your work. If you cant negotiate your way into a few perks, and creature comforts that make your work environment fun, and engaging, jumping the hurdle of formal education seems futile.

    • Gabriel

      Aug 26, 2014 at 12:17 pm

      I agree with Liv.

      Unfortunately, today school trains people to become employees and work a job they hate, for the rest of their lives. Self Education, on the other hand is what all successful people focus on and hence the creation of this amazing site

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Life

How to Harness the Power of Your Personal Narrative

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Are you “living up” or “living down” to your personal narrative? When you set out to achieve an important goal, you’ll come face-to-face with many obstacles, such as starting a new business and not having your prospects reply to your prospecting emails. Perhaps you’ve had an interview for a new job and learned you didn’t make the final round of applicants. 

In those difficult moments, you have to have an internal conversation with yourself, known as self-talk. What do you say? How do you feel? You may find yourself succumbing to negativity or failing to believe in your own self-worth. If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all easily overwhelmed by our doubts and fears, because it’s what makes us human.

However, these feelings can not only shape a sense of identity, but also allow our doubt and fear to determine the outcome. When this happens, it’s vital to understand how to have the courage and conviction to move forward despite the obstacles. This includes moving forward in the midst of struggling, even when success seems lightyears away. This may seem daunting, but the answer is right in front of us. It lies in our personal narrative.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

What is a personal narrative?

A personal narrative is a life-script that is often followed without question or protest. The conversations you have internally, known as self-talk, make up the core component to our personal narrative. Your self talk represents a powerful belief system that’s baked into our day-to-day existence.

Each of us possess a personal narrative that encompasses a belief system that shapes us and what we see as possible in our lives. As a result, we either ​live up or ​live down to that personal narrative.

While a personal narrative is the starting place, it’s a powerful one. On one hand, when a negative narrative becomes suffocating, it can be hard to escape. This will lead you to foster the belief that you’re incapable of accomplishing something, ensuring that you’ll be less likely to continue to take the necessary steps in the direction of a dream

Your narrative may be so powerful that you may just assume the worst, ending any possibility for you to put in the necessary time, effort and perseverance required to achieve a different outcome.

“The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak.” – Ralph Charell

Cultivating positive narratives

On the other hand, what if we possessed personal narratives that were more positive? This  is not just positive thinking, because it is the practice of consciously cultivating a narrative that you could live up to instead​. Imagine how a more positive narrative could support more preferable outcomes.

In life, this may sound like, “I plan to do well in this interview, so I am going to take every action to support that expectation – like working with a career coach.” Or it may sound like, “Because I am someone who tries hard even when I am overwhelmed or uncomfortable, I am going to ask for help if I feel stuck.” That way, when a challenge arises – as they always do, you will grow to trust in your ability to navigate it.

The more you practice this, the more you will come to realize that your personal narrative really represents the essence of who you are. Your self-talk will evolve into someone who plans to do well during an interview, a business meeting, or a workout class because you become someone who invests in their personal well-being as an extension of your self-concept.

Cultivating positive narratives is not a what-if situation. It is an intentional practice that everyone can benefit from. It provides the framework for who you can become. Most importantly, it’s the key to help us transform into the best version of ourselves, while defending our dreams against a spiral of fear or self-doubt.

So, what does your personal narrative sound like? And how can you live up to it? Share with us below!

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Life

5 Reasons It’s Important to Understand What You Want to Do With Your Life

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No matter your age or your place in life, it is perfectly normal to not know exactly what your next steps should be. There are many factors that can contribute to this situation but it is always important to remember that everything happens for a reason and that this will help you build a much happier you.

There are many ways for you to understand what you should be doing with your life and there are just as many reasons why you should work towards getting a better understanding of those reasons.

If you wish to turn any situation around and start working towards finding your purpose, here are some of the most important reasons why:

1. You will be able to set long term goals for the future

Setting long term goals is one of the things that will help you feel more secure and certain about your future. Instead of relying on living day by day and trying to figure out what your next steps will be without having a future ultimate goal, you will now be able to plan accordingly so that your every step will bring you a step closer to making that dream come true.

One of the things many people forget though is that every plan, no matter how well-organized and planned out it is, will need to be adapted to every situation the person is experiencing. Knowing what your ultimate goal is will help you handle every change of plans with more confidence and will allow you to manoeuvre every situation and turn your problems into positive outcomes.

2. You will get rid of a lot of anxiety

One of the best things about finally getting a better understanding of what you wish to do with your life is that you will finally start feeling less anxious and unsure about the future. Having a certain plan you can follow and looking forward to making a big goal come true will help rid yourself of negative thoughts and allow you to be able to focus on achieving your dreams.

Anxiety is a very common problem in the time we live in and it can make a lot of people feel less productive and scared to take risks, especially in a professional manner. As a result, they tend to hold themselves back and do fewer things than they are capable of, simply because they are too scared to dare.

Realizing what you wish to do in your life and working towards achieving your goals will help you feel less stressed and even if you do, this type of anxiety could actually help you be much more productive and eager to do your best in order to make your dreams manifest into reality.

3. You will be much happier

Understanding what you wish to do in your life will truly help you finally figure out what you are meant to do in your life. For some people, it can help them find their purpose and give them a new perspective on everything they do in their everyday life.

This will help you feel a lot happier and will put your mind at ease, as you won’t have to continue wondering if the path you have chosen to follow is the right one for you or not. Feeling more certain of your decisions will help you feel a lot more confident and happier since you will feel strong enough to overcome anything that might come your way from now and on.

4. You won’t lose time or energy on smaller goals

Setting shorter goals without knowing what you are meant to do in the long run will cost you a lot of energy and time. This will happen as you will spend a lot of time planning out your every move and it will cause you to feel stressed and worried about every little thing going wrong.

Smaller goals will still be important but you won’t spend much time planning them as you would if you didn’t know what your end goal would be. Saving energy and preparing both mentally and physically for reaching your goal will help you achieve a much healthier outlook on dealing with everyday situations and it will make you more excited to complete your ambitions.

5. You will become an expert in one field

Last but not least, another important reason why you should try and understand exactly what you are meant to do in your life is that you will be able to focus all of your time and energy on learning as much as possible and growing only in one certain field.

The uncertainty of having a set goal for your future can make you feel like you need to know many different things in different fields in order to be able to succeed in life and make a living. While having knowledge in various fields is something that will prove to be useful, you will never fully be able to become an expert in one field and make a name for yourself in that sector.

A long term goal will allow you to either study or work full time on one subject you truly enjoy and are good at. This will help you build your reputation, make connections and allow yourself to enjoy and love the path you have chosen even more. As a result, you will be much happier and content with the end goal you have chosen and you will be able to work even harder to achieve all of your dreams.

Working towards a happier you

You might be at a point in your life where you feel like not a lot of things are truly worth your time but the truth is that every little thing you do will help you find what you are meant to do. This will help you feel happy and content and allow you to tackle every issue you come across with much less anxiety and fear.

You will find a lot of stability and comfort in setting a big and important goal for your future and this will allow you to start being more productive and happy to tackle every problem that might come your way. Your life will always be full of surprises and unplanned events but hard work and dedication on your goals will allow you to become the best version of you and enjoy every step of the way.

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3 Ways to Stay Strong and Push Through When Hardships Arise

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We all have trials and tribulations, and most times they are out of our control. I believe that’s why it can be so frustrating when trouble arises, because we feel powerless. But this isn’t true! How we perceive these times gives us power, and will ultimately dictate the quality of our lives.

Each event can have many interpretations. You can ask two people about a situation they both went through, and sometimes you’ll get two completely different answers! Most times this isn’t because one was being truthful and the other wasn’t, but because of how they perceived the events that took place.

That’s how powerful perceptions are, so why not use this power to our benefit? Instead of thinking on what was lost, think of what there is to gain. When you think positively, it helps you from not feeling stuck, and helps you look towards the future. 

Below are three things to consider whenever a hardship comes your way:

1. This is an opportunity for me to grow

Viewing troubling times as an opportunity to improve and grow will give you a sense of freedom and happiness because you’ve decided to lead your life, as opposed to just accepting your life. Some people just accept the things that happen to them/around them. When you have this mindset, you are telling yourself there is nothing you can do in that situation, and you are giving away your power.

This will affect not only your mood, but also the people around you, especially if you’re a leader. They feed off your energy and body language. When you focus on growth, you can think more clearly on solutions, which is what you want. It’s ok to feel sad, frustrated, or confused. If you want to be successful, you will feel all of these, and quite often. When you do, recognize what your feeling, but don’t feed it. If you do, it will grow.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

2. Don’t focus on the problem, find the solution

This sounds pretty simple but how many of us focus more energy on the problem and why it happened or who did it, instead of trying to focus immediately on the solution? I learned this in the military. If something goes wrong, my superiors were less concerned with who did it and more concerned with finding a solution to the problem, and as quickly as possible.

But I was once guilty of this thinking, and sometimes I slip back into that mode of thinking when my emotions are strong. Changing your mindset to focus on solutions will give you a sense of power, which will calm you, because you feel in control. This in turn, will help you think clearly and rationally, as opposed to emotionally. Furthermore, being in a more relaxed state of mind will allow you to absorb information more clearly so you can learn from the incident and become a better you.

3. Determine how the hardship improves your character

What was being tested during your hardship? Patience? Empathy? Communication? Understanding? Endurance? I remember working for a boss I did not like. He seemed to pick on me, and I couldn’t understand it. I went above and beyond what was asked of me, but people were still being promoted quicker than I was.

To give a little depth on my perception at the time, I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. Not poor, but close to it. So respect is something that is valued greatly in neighborhoods I come from, because we don’t have much else. Respect was your money, and could get you things money couldn’t buy.

Now everyone wants respect, but me, I need it that much more. So when I felt he wasn’t giving me respect, I almost convinced myself to handle these matters. Imagine the people you train, passing you by and you know their work ethic doesn’t match yours. It sucked.

I talked to my dad, who always gives great council, and he told me it wouldn’t be wise. He told me to look for ways to grow, and I did. And let me tell you, during that time I learned things that cannot be taught in classrooms because you can only be learned through experience. My endurance was really challenged, but made me wiser and stronger, which made me better equipped to deal with future troubles I’d have. Because of those lessons, I was able to teach others about my experience and give wise counsel.

“Lead a life of your own design, on your own terms. Not one that others or the environment have scripted for you.” – Tony Robbins

When those times come, ask yourself where you’re weak and what you can you do to improve on that weakness. Finding something you’re not good at should make you happy, because it gives you a chance to improve! If you suck at something, do something about it! Don’t wallow in self-pity. It’s not a fruitful exercise.

When hardships come your way, your perception is a powerful weapon that you must manipulate, don’t let it manipulate you. Ask yourself how can this help you grow, what positive opportunity is hidden in the hardship and focus on the solution, not the problem. Doing these things will put the power back in your court. Give it a shot, it changed my life!

How do you keep your head up high when hardships arise? Share your thoughts and advice down below!

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Life

7 Essential Mindset Shifts From Gary Vaynerchuk That’ll Help You Have an Amazing Life

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Image Credit: Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is full of little gems to success if you listen with an open mind. His unfiltered way of sharing old school values mixed with modern day approaches is remarkably simple and highly contagious. In this world of instant gratification, everyone is focused on doing things faster in order to produce exponential results.

When our visions don’t become an instant reality, we play the comparison game and judge ourselves. This ultimately leads to a decline in our health and crushes our visions. Many of us want to be an overnight success but need a better psychological framework to endure the ride.

Here are 7 perspectives that Gary Vaynerchuk is currently popularising that can help your mindset game be stronger:

1. Aim for happiness 

Gary Vaynerchuk’s definition of happiness is “being able to do what you want at all times.” This does not mean quit because your work doesn’t make you happy right now, especially if it is the stepping stone for your ideal lifestyle. 

For a period of time you will need to grind and do tasks that are unenjoyable. If happiness is not within your metrics of success, you will eventually suffer from an irregularity in your mental or physical health, which in turn has a downward ripple effect on your valued relationships. 

2. Enjoy paying your dues

Every industry has its own set of rules to work up the chain of command. You need to learn to love each role and responsibility that comes with that. Going in with a curious and enthusiastic energy is bound to shine through and show those around you how serious you are. 

Be present and learn from every experience you encounter. This is a journey for bigger and better things but you need to put in the time, work and sacrifice to be rewarded. Life is all about what you put into it. You don’t know how these earlier stages will serve you in years to come, so take pride in the journey and appreciation for the lessons and people you meet along the way.

3. Obsessively love what you do

You should always be doing what you want, especially if you have a clearly defined purpose. Purpose is such an energizing force, regardless of whether you are earning $40,000 or $4,000,000. If you really love what you’re doing and it’s where you want to be then you’re already winning. 

Always start with what you love because the only way you’re going to hustle hard enough is if you love it. It’s hard to get going around something you’re not passionate about. When you learn to love the game more than the trophy, the game gives you, and you’re on your way up.

“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”- Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Don’t be driven by the money

To do extremely well in the game of business without disrupting other pillars in your life, you must wake up each morning pondering what solutions need to be found today. You need to be wildly curious and driven by the game of business on a micro level while seeing the macro outcomes. 

When you’re excited to play the game, you become absorbed in mastery over playing with your phone, gossiping with friends and watching mindless content. You relentlessly invest in yourself and your growth, which in turn is remunerated with wealth.

5. Have gratitude

Have you ever thought about the fact that the odds of being a human being are 400 trillion to one? You must create an unbelievably clear perspective of how lucky we are to be human. This in turn makes it a struggle to dwell on things that don’t matter. 

Focus your attention on the things that you value and appreciate. Appreciate your good health and family, because you’ll value it more. Appreciate your gifts, friends, work and life. By doing this, your perception begins to shift. You see the blessings of your life, versus the broken parts.

6. Adversity is your superpower

Adversity and humble beginnings is an incredible framework to happiness, especially when you layer positivity and optimism around your difficulty. We all have hardships and various scenarios that throw us off balance along the way. 

Our super power is when we use that as fuel to drive us to be less audacious and experience more, instead of being held back. What you think and focus on grows. Shift the perspective in your mind so your adversity doesn’t define you, but instead drives you.

“It’s insane to me to ask anybody to be what they’re not. Know what you know the best, love the most. That’s always going to be the answer to the thing that you have the best shot at winning at.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

7. Be excited everyday because you get to play

Learn how to start your morning well and continue that energy throughout the day. That vigour builds momentum that will allow you to actually make your mark. Be fired up that you have given yourself a clear vision and your making moves to play a strong game. This type of mindset gives you an intrinsic pull to do and be better daily rather than external motivation, which over time dies out.

Mindset is everything and it all falls down to your perspective of things. Don’t judge yourself by what you accomplish daily, instead, judge it yearly. It takes years of great creative work to be recognized. Be patient. In the meantime, look at your daily habits and ask yourself if they are causing you to evolve or revolve. Are you moving forward, or just moving in circles? Take constant action to move forward and be grateful you have the opportunity to play in the game of life. 

What’s your favorite Gary Vaynerchuk mindset from the article? Share your thoughts below!

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