Academics and alternatives

People often ask my advice on whether they should pursue additional degrees or education.

Two important questions to ask yourself when considering ANY significant investment of time and resources:
1) What are my intended outcomes?
2) What are alternative ways I could achieve them?

The goals of starting an MBA program may be: knowledge; credibility; networking. One alternative is to work free of charge, shadowing people running a real business and achieve all three outcomes. Of course, you may decide after conducting this thought experiment that an MBA is best for you. 

The wisest people are not the ones with the best answers, they’re the ones with the best questions.

The gift of gratitude

Eulogies would be so much more valuable if we gave them while people were still alive.

Science confirms that expressing gratitude makes us and the object of our gratitude feel measurably better  (Not that we needed science to confirm this).

Since no one obtains any kind of success without support from our parents, spouses, friends, old bosses who took a chance on us, 3rd grade teachers…make time to focus your energy on each person.  Do it for them and you.

Who can you thank today?

What are your standards?

The exact life you have right now is a reflection of your standards, or, put simply, exactly what you are willing to TOLERATE.  This includes your finances, how you’re treated by others, your relationships, etc.

The common approach to personal growth is to exert more effort.  Try harder.  Tenacity and grit are useful, but upgrading your environment works better and faster.

If your home, social or work life feel antithetical to your goals, they probably are.  Your standards reflect your reality.  Want to change the quality of your life?  Three words: raise your standards.

You are not broken

Don’t go to a therapist or seek anyone’s advice because you’re broken.  You don’t need to be fixed.

Psychologists, or family and friends who have our best interests in mind can help you simply by identifying and helping you break patterns that aren’t serving you.

You’re not broken.  Some of your tendencies are failing you.

My best career advice

I published a longer article on LinkedIn here for people contemplating career/job changes. Here’s the 20-second version:

DECIDE WHAT YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO DO by considering 1) what problems you enjoy and excel at solving, 2) what kind of people you want to work with.  Don’t base either on how you think people view you because of your resume. History is not destiny.

Decide on and be able to articulate your dream job. Write your own job description then MAKE IT A PROJECT to research and network.

CREATE OR UPDATE A LINKED-IN PROFILE to catapult the odds that you’re “found”, using appropriate keywords, technologies and skills.

To get hired by a specific company follow this immediately actionable advice (search “Derek Sivers how to get hired”) or click here.

Action breeds confidence

There is one outcome that cultivates intrinsic motivation: and that is progress.  Your psychology fundamentally changes when you believe you are moving forward.

Moving forward implies moving.  And moving means taking action, which breeds courage.  Your business plan or novel idea will not survive it’s first contact with customers or the public.

Contemplate less.  Do more.

“Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll still get run over if you just sit there.”
– Will Rogers