The one thing we have all learned about generations is that old habits die hard. When I think about how much has changed in my lifetime, it is hard to think about how life was when my parents grew up.
I still remember being eight years old and being so excited to have my first cassette player stocked with batteries for the road. I remember being so excited when I got my first CD player that had skip protection.
Times have changed. When it comes to school, though, we are still walking around with cassette tapes.
I talk with a lot of students and parents that are looking to compete in sports at the CIS or NCAA, and the signs are very alarming. Every family I talk to is 100% sure that no matter what college is not an option.
No matter how little money they have, they have decided that they are going to do this.
The Lies We Still Believe About School & Life
Why is this?
Post-secondary education is based on an idea of an old generation. There was once a time that if you went to post secondary school you were guaranteed a great job and lots of opportunities. It was a game changer for your life and the life of your family.
Everyone started to realize this advantage and did what anyone would do; they began to get more educated. The problem with any advantage is that if everyone does it, it is no longer an advantage. Going to college or university just makes you average now.
It is not a big deal! You need much more than just a piece of paper if you want to stand out.
So Where Do the Lies Come In?
People line up to take student loans and head off to school every year because they believe in an idea that no longer is true. I am not to saying that it is not a good idea to go school. The problem arrives when you believe it is going to do something for you that it won’t.
The Model Used to Be:
- Graduate High School
- Graduate College/University
- Get Awesome Job
- Get Married
- Buy House
- Have Kids
- Work until 65
- Become a snowbird
What That Model Looks Like Now:
- Graduate High School
- Struggle to get into your program in University
- Graduate college or university
- Get job you hate that does not pay what you thought
- Struggle to pay back student loans
- Can’t afford a house
- Get married to person with all the same issues listed above
- Struggle with the idea of working until age 65 to finally live life
- Feel Lost
There are so many people who graduate from university and realize that much of what they believed was a lie. We have to stop operating on that old model because the world has changed around us, so we need to change also.
How to Approach This New World
1. Go to School With a Purpose and Plan
University is one of the only times when people are willing to spend thousands of dollars with no plan for why or how they will make that back. If you take $20,000 in student loans, then you should have a plan beforehand of how you will pay that back. You can’t just go and figure it out along the way.
Know what the average starting salaries are for the jobs that you plan on getting and understand how easy it is to get a job. Go and talk with a recent graduate about their journey after graduation.
2. Never Depend on One Income
Money runs the world and it is way too important to have it only come from one place. When money comes from one source, that source can control everything that you do. You live in fear of being fired.
In today’s economy, nothing is stopping you from having multiple sources of income but yourself. What this looks like for me:
- Full-time job
- Sales job in the evening to work on my verbal communication skills
- Public speaking at high schools
- Social media consulting
- Teach online class about reaching your full potential
- Building a mobile app that connects injured athletes to injury solutions
- Author of one book
I currently make my money from seven different places, so individually they can’t ever control me. I can walk away from any of them.
3. Stay Nimble
I only figured this out due to not having the guts to buy a house. I have learned that a house really can slow you down.
From a financial standpoint, I totally understand the benefits of having a house vs. renting. The issue is people who own can’t keep up with how fast this world can move. They are chained down by their house.
When you rent, it is easy to get up and move. No matter the opportunity you can get up and go and take it. Remember this the next time you feel like you have to buy a house. It could take away from your ability to get up and go at a moments notice. When you rent, you can do that.
4. Never Stop Learning
When I have conversations with people about how I feel about University and College they often assume that I am against learning and I am not. I am always reading and taking online courses to learn specific skills.
From years of being an entrepreneur, I have learned that when looking for someone to bring on your team you need more than a fancy degree. You need someone with specific skills that companies will want for their benefit.
There is a wave of people graduating from college with plenty of degrees but no skills. They can regurgitate information until they turn blue in the face but they can’t apply any of it in real life situations.
They summarize books into 15-minute reads so you can get the juicy information from all of the best books.
5. Live Way Under Your Means
You spend years with no money in college. When you finally get a job you have to let the world know that all is well. You get a house you can’t afford, buy a car you can’t afford and max out your credit cards to purchase furniture.
What you want to do is try and minimize your bills. Get rid of those student loans, shake off a car payment if possible. The worst thing in the world is not to be poor. The worst thing is to be poor, get a taste of wealth and then go back to being poor.
6. The Goal is Not Retirement Anymore
When I was a kid, I remember celebrating my grandfather’s retirement and a week later he was bored out his mind. I saw this regularly as a kid, people retire and then have to find something to do.
When I look to the ultra wealthy, I learned that these people don’t retire. They keep working on different things even when they are much past 65. Why is that? They have the money they need to retire and live quite well.
Retirement sounds good when you don’t love what you do. If you can just put your head down and get it done for your whole life, your reward is being able to quit.
The new model rewards those who always go in the direction of their love. They are driven by what they do every day. They take vacations and breaks because they have the freedom to do so but at the end of the day they love their work.
People will read all of this and not agree with me and often its because they grew up in the old model, their parents grew up in the old model, and we have had that drilled into our brains.
We all get the message drilled into our heads, but it is up to us control how our life plays out.
I remember growing up my dad would not let me get a camera phone. He said that they are starting to ban camera phones because they are going to places that they shouldn’t be.
A few years later and it was not even possible to buy a phone without a camera. Times changed faster than my dad’s idea of our culture.
The actual goal is to let go of how it was or what makes you comfortable and to start seeing things for what they are.