Maybe you did go to college, you did great and you’re successful, but if you didn’t you can still be successful. Success has to be defined based on what you’re looking for. Nowadays, everyone seems to be putting a big weight onto the relation between success and going to college.
We always hear people saying “If you go to college, you’re going to do this, if you go to college you’re going to achieve that”. But, what is truly the meaning of success and can college really help you get there? Should you invest in your education to that extent?
Our family thinks that if you go to college you can achieve a certain thing, a certain lifestyle. Does that really guarantee that you’re going to be successful in life? First of all, let’s just truly define what success is. Success is so vague. It’s so vague because each one of us has different definitions to what we like to call success.
Perceptions of success
For most of the parents, a person who is successful is someone who gets to bring food to the table. Someone who can actually become responsible for other human beings and make sure that they’re very well fed and that they have a roof on top of their heads. For others, the definition of success is someone who can actually propel themselves going forward without the need of having their parents have to provide for them financially.
Success is up to you. Where most of us tend to make a mistake or most of us tend to fail is that we put a lot of weight in college. College seems to be the one thing, the one solution that everyone should be aiming for. In reality that is not true.
“If you go to college…”
Our parents used to say if you go to college, you’ll find a nice job. If you go to college, you’ll be successful in life, if you want to be somebody, you have to go to college. Now based on everything you’ve seen in social media, everything you’ve seen around, that is in fact not a guarantee.
Depending on your background, a lot of our parents perhaps didn’t even go to college. It’s like this whole idea about how great the school is. How much weight do they really have in life? In reality, college cannot really do much on itself. As a human being, you go to college, you learn to read, you learn about math and all of this stuff that you get to learn in school. Maybe a bit of science because this is going to slowly help you discover yourself. What is it that you like to do? What is it that you enjoy doing? What is it that you’re good at doing?
It takes parents to make that happen, it takes self-esteem, which in essence comes from your parents and your surroundings, perhaps some of your friends or some of family members that are around you. Then slowly they will build your skillset that you will need in order for you to make it into this institution that means college.
What happens when you make it into college?
You’re like lost in translation, lost in the whole dynamic, you’re starting up a new life and things become very stressful because you’re going from living with your parents and all over sudden you’re in an institution, you’re in school. You have to do your own laundry and learn about being an adult and stuff like that. What happens is that in our brains, we’re falling into that sense of entitlement already because we were told that if you go to college, that means your life is going to be better. Your life is going to unfold itself.
In reality, college is just a stepping stone. You’re just getting your feet wet, you’re trying to discover yourself even more as opposed to high school, as opposed to elementary school. Things do not get any easier as you progress through college or as you leave college. College is just basically a way for you to help yourself figure out problems. It’s not about getting good grades. It’s more about getting from point A to point B.
The educational system has been set up so that you have to give one answer in specific. You have to do things a certain way. On top of that, we have the expectations that were ingrained from our parents and we wind up thinking that. How many do you know that actually went to college and they actually exercised their degree and they did something?
Basically, what college does is that it prepares you to take the next step but it will still be entirely up to you to want to become successful or not. Let’s take an example, something as complex as choosing your major. Nobody told us if you take this career, this is what you should do or if you decide to study this career and go this route, this is what you should do.
Good Choice Versus Bad Choice
If we take two completely different majors like accounting and art history and you come to think of it, when you were little and you thought of “becoming an artist”, the first thing you would probably hear around if you said it was someone from your family having a “heart attack”.
Now, if you come to think of it, there’s nothing that truly says this is a bad choice or this is a good choice because it is entirely up to you. You could go by the accounting route but if you’re horrible at it or if you’re miserable at it, it’s something that is not going to sustain itself. You’re not going to last very long because you hate it. Who wants to wake up every day and feel miserable?
In reality, the real truth to this is that your success will only depend on whether you have a business lens towards something. It is dependent upon you, but it is also depending whether you have a business mindset to make all of this happen. That’s something that everybody, including our parents, fails to teach us because it’s just simply easier to shift that responsibility to college.
Having a business mindset is what’s really going to get you to that success part. For example, let’s start with art history, which is a highly unstable major, highly unlikely that you will succeed, but if you have a business mindset, guess what you could do with it? you could work for an art gallery. You can do all of those private auctions. You can make money, based on commission on pieces of art that are worth thousands and thousands of dollars.
Has someone actually ever thought about stopping you and helping you think, “Hey, you have to get this business mindset. You have to make things happen.” How do you get into the business mindset? By networking. You join different clubs in school. Not only the art club but you also want to diversify your connections. If you want to make money with art, guess what you’re going to do? You need to just basically go into a business networking event, somebody who goes to business school, someone who understands how to do accounting or finances because that’s going to help you basically just connect the dots.
Accounting doesn’t have to be such a boring subject. You don’t have to get stuck in an office working 9:00 to 5:00 and becoming miserable. Let’s say you decide to go into one of these boutique firms to work with real estate investors. Then you get access to all of this real estate information for those who are interested in real estate investing and then all of a sudden, you’re realizing that accounting can help you save a lot more money than you thought and it is a lot more interesting than you ever thought of.
A real estate investor today needs to know about:
1. Tax write-offs
2. How to take advantage of the tax code.
3. How to do a 1031 exchange for all of my investments.
These are not the typical things that you will typically learn about in school because they just simply don’t teach it to you. You don’t know it’s out there so, therefore, how do you make the connection to make things happen?
It’s more about a way for you to figure it out, how to do it. How can I make this happen? You need to ask yourself, “Is this the right route I want to go?”
In real estate, you can look at thousands and thousands of houses out there, and only very few will only make it to the final line because they have to meet your investment criteria. They have to meet the right houses.
There are possibilities, but these are very important questions to think about:
- Are you willing to do the work?
- Are you willing to think about things with that business mindset?
- Are you willing to find your way through to make things happen?
You can analyze a thousand houses and out of a thousand houses, only 10 are going to be worth it. Out of all of those 10 houses that are worth it, only three of those are going to maybe consider your offer, and maybe only one of them are going to make it all the way towards the end.
A numbers game
It’s a numbers game and it’s not just real estate life in itself, it’s a number game. College does not guarantee something, but going to college does open a lot of doors. Same thing with your knowledge regarding real estate. You can go to networking events, you can meet people. You can actually read a lot of books. You can pay for a program and learn all there is about real estate investing. In the end, it is entirely up to you. How much work are you willing to put into it to make it work?
Things are not going to just simply fall from the sky and happen. Don’t blame college. Don’t blame the houses, don’t blame the market. It is entirely up to you to make things happen for you.
If you have an art history degree, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to end up being broke, on the street, or that you’re going to wind up teaching at a university, not really fulfilling your degree. If that’s what you want to do, that’s great, but if that’s not what you want to do, there are other options out there, it’s just all about how you can actually think creatively. If you don’t know how to just simply try to network with people, but don’t network with just anybody, network with the right people.
Connect with people
In Meetup, you can find so many people that are going to give you the opportunity to network, whether it’s inside of school or even outside of school. There are plenty of clubs if you’re currently in college, but if you’re past the stage and you feel that you didn’t really do much with your degree and you want to find a new way to network, to maybe do something that is very well worth it, then you can pursue other interests, other areas that can help you expand what you know, what your skillset is and everything it’s going to help you get to that end goal that you’re looking for.
Remember, real estate is a relationship business, just like in any of the businesses. It’s not just in real estate, your career, and everywhere, you need people. You depend on people, even big companies like Facebook and Google, they’re built by people. They’re backed by a face behind it. It’s all a matter of how you want to make things happen. If one route doesn’t work out, then try to explore another one until you get to that goal that you’re looking to achieve.
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