Last nite, one of my friends and I (heyyyy Tammy! *waves*) were discussing the difference in mentality of a rich and poor person, and how the scarcity/lack mentality is perpetuated in certain communities. One of the thoughts that I developed when I first began reading about positive thinking/motivation/self-help topics was how the advice given in that school of thought is generally different than the conventional wisdom we’re given by our families and friends.
When I was growing up, almost every adult in my life advised me to go to school (college) and get a good job. So I worked hard to get good grades and participate in extracurricular activities so that I’d get into college. I chose to major in business administration to fulfill my dream of owning my own business, but my professors constantly advised me to get a good job in corporate America first, then perhaps after 10 years or so I could branch out on my own and start my own business. I just couldn’t see waiting 10 years after college to start a business. I couldn’t see how working as a mid-level manager could prepare me to own a business. So after my first year in FAMU’s School of Business and Industry, I changed my major. Eventually I studied English, which tied together my strong writing skills and my interest in literature. Then the problem became, I’m studying something I love but how will this lead to a good job?
The thing is, how many people have a definition for what a good job is? How many people who follow this model are actually happy, are working toward goals they are passionate about, and how many of them are wealthy? By adopting this advice as the blueprint for your life, you’re also adopting the same mindset that others (i.e. your boss/supervisor/company owner) control your destiny and that your work and value are related to how much your salary is
If this is a fine standard in your opinion, then by all means continue to push ahead. But if its not, consider writing your own playbook. I’m not knocking the people who advised me to get a good job – but they could only tell me what they knew. Some elbow grease and a new game plan could be your key to design the life you want, rather than follow the default design given to you by those who want different things from life than you do.
The typical playbook goes something like this: go to college, get a good job, get married, buy as much house as you can afford, hopefully throw some luxury cars in there (or as close to luxury as you can get), have kids, work hard on your job and retire at 65 (now its what, 68?) and then you’ll be able to see and do the things you’ve always wanted to do, when your mortgage is paid off, your kids are grown and you have the time and disposable income. Step outside of this advice for a minute, and really consider this: why do we wait until the end of our lives to experience the things we’ve always wanted to do? Why do we say we don’t have time or money, when in actuality we all have the same amount of time, and we prioritize our money based on what we think is important?
Between college graduation and retirement, we complain about the job market, our jobs, our supervisors, our commutes, the amount of money we have, having to pay for a mortgage, the dreams that we’ve allowed to die, and on and on. But how often do we stop and see that we’ve done all of these things to ourselves? We put ourselves into the predicaments we’re in of credit card debt, being overworked, underpaid and underappreciated, by just going with the flow and accepting what we’ve been told. We’re often not brave enough to step out and do our own thing, to believe that the life we really want exists and to consciously craft that life based on our desires.
So if you hate your job, rewrite the play that got you that score. If you are dissatisfied with your relationship, change your starting lineup. If you don’t like how your body is shaped, give yourself some more physical training. Because when the game ends, its over. And no matter what advice you’ve followed, you’re the only one with control of the ball at the end of the game. You chose where it went, so start actively choosing which plays to call in your own life.