Thanks, but no thanks. Every so often, the people in your life will try to provide you with what seems like good advice, and every so often you need to learn to just let it go in one ear and out the other.
The intention may very well be to help you, as not everyone is some malicious prick plotting out your future failure. Still, an important skill that any aspiring person must acquire is to learn how to be discerning when it comes to taking advice.
Knowing who and what to listen to is a skill that is usually only understood through tedious trial and error. Fortunately, after a rude awakening as to what steps really should be taken to achieve success, we at Elite have become well aware of the some of the traditional business principles that used to work for everybody but now will not get you as far as they used to.
We can't give you a full layout of what to listen to and what not to, but here are some of the typical examples of guidance advice you will receive in life that if taken, could be particularly off-putting in terms of career mobility.
“A good college degree is the start on the path to success”
This might have been more relevant before our so-called “information age” took hold or when a college education was still affordable. In today’s world, a college degree will only get you so far (right now: the unemployment line) and it’s essential to recognize that opportunity and success are not directly correlated with what school you went to and how well you did.
Steve Jobs. Mark Zuckerberg. Bill Gates. Lawrence Ellison. And even Thomas Edison. What do all these names have in common? Besides being some of the greatest visionaries of their time and an abundant amount of wealth, these were people that dropped out of college to pursue their dreams.
I’m not suggesting you drop out of college right now or to not even go at all, but I am suggesting that you come to the realization that college and school are not always equipped with the type of information you may need to succeed in a specific field. Sometimes college is best, sometimes it's not.
Before automatically deciding that college is the most efficient next step, do some research as to what you will be learning and see if that's what will you give you some of the knowledge necessary to pursue a career of your choice.
“It’s all about experience”
You need to constantly be pursuing internships (paid or non-paid) to acquire experience. You need to put your time in the cubicle before you can get to the corner office. Right? Wrong. Your experience in a respective industry is important, but will always be secondary to your drive and your vision.
Take a look around, as we are constantly surrounded by stories of newer, younger, and more inexperienced people and companies taking over and beating out their experienced predecessors. Kennedy beats Nixon. Obama beats McCain.
Microsoft takes over an industry once led by IBM, and soon after that, Apple comes along. Identify what is in your heart before you just throw yourself into a field that you will be turned off by after the first day. Experience in a specific work place isn't always helpful if it's not feeding you with information you will need for your future.
“It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”
Perhaps this is good advice if you’re looking to bank off daddy’s connects and grab an impressive job out of school at a top notch firm. But if you want to be a leader, a visionary, and ultimately be successful within a chosen field, then it’s really not about who you know, but about who knows you.
When you become a dominant force in what you do, people will flock to you and then you will be connected. And at that point, you probably wont need it anyway. In either case, it all starts with talent. Build a following by honing your skills as a professional and you'll find that it's your abilities that will attract people instead of your desire to be involved.
“Look at other successful people, and follow their path”
There sometimes seems to be a clearly outlined path to success, and all we have to do is look at those before us and somehow replicate what they did. This is surely a road to mediocrity. The only way to truly flourish is to start from the beaten path. Challenge the status quo and be different! No one is going to distinguish you from other people if you're having the same experiences and go about handling things the same way as everybody else.
You have to make your own journey in life, not someone else’s. It starts and ends with you. Your talents, your vision, your ambition. You shouldn’t aspire to be like anyone else, as that will eventually take away from who you are and what will be the uniqueness of your success.
Don’t follow someone else’s path, instead create your own. Take the path that will help you make the kind of impact on people you want to make rather than the path that will just land you in the same line as the others applying for the same positions.
“Conservative is the way to go, buy a suit…and then buy another”
White or blue shirt, conservative colored and patterned tie with an agreeably well-tailored suit. This is how you should dress for success, right? Twenty years ago or maybe even ten, I would have to agree. However, today we are steadily gravitating towards a more informal dress code in the workplace.
Most groundbreaking companies utilize cultures that do not subscribe to this worn out, conservative way of looking. Rather, they are informal and casual in everything they do because it is believed to promote creativity and collaboration.
How you dress and how you look is a reflection on who you are. It’s imperative for companies today to constantly be promoting and encouraging creativity and innovation as it is the only way for them to not only get ahead, but to survive. It's not that hard to look nice but not play by the rules.
“Life is chronological”
You’re young. Stop worrying about the future and enjoy your time in college. Worry about being a student, and just get good grades right now, you’ll be working the rest of your life anyway. Ever get advice like this? Yeah me too, all the time. Better to realize the inaccuracy of advice like this now rather then in a cubicle after you graduate.
Regardless of how young you are or what stage you may be in your life, you should relentlessly be looking for ways to understand how your road to success must be handled differently than everyone else's. Disrupt the natural progression of things by paving your own road towards what you want to do with your life rather than choosing the featured roads put in front of you.
The truth is that life is not chronological or sequential, and you’re going to tirelessly be reminded of this fact as life throws you all kinds of surprises. How you react to what comes your way is going to define who you are. Don't do what is expected to come next, do what you feel will help you the most.
Venture Clout | Elite.