Will you play it safe or take a walk on the wild side?
I see it all the time as an educational counselor, and as a home business developer.
People seeing their lives from both sides of the equation.
Let's take a typical high school senior or home schooler looking at the possibility of going to college after graduation. When asked the question "why do you want to go to college?" the answer typically falls into one of three categories.
I want to get a good job, and the only way I can do that is to get an education (or similarly, I want a GOOD college so I can get a GOOD job.)
I'm not sure what I want to do, but I know education is good, so I might as well go to college.
Categories 1 and 2 are very similar. These people assume a certain reality is out there, and can be had by anyone willing to plug into "the system."
99% of us are products of "the system," even if we don't plug into it all the way (go to and graduate from college). We believe in its power and the ability it has to limit the scope of our lives if we don't plug all the way in.
I was an unquestioning believer in the system for more 90% of my life. I got my degrees, eventually settled into my job, and was very happily ready to live out my years a tenured and respected faculty member in my school system.
A few years and profound life experiences later, here's my take on things now:
People in Category 1 assume the world will stay the same as it is, with jobs being the way we gather in our income and prepare for the pleasures of retirement. Some know the field they want, some don't.
None of them are ready for the reality I see, which is that the world economy will change so rapidly in the next generation these poor souls will never have the quality of life their parents and grandparents did in a simpler time.
Sorry, I call 'em as I see 'em.
Category 2 people are delaying the grown up world as long as possible. They've been told what to do and where to go their whole lives and are scared to death of not having that security. For most, college is 13th grade.
Most of these kids would be happy to need a hall pass once they get to college!
Again, I call 'em as I see 'em. This is 13 years of public education experience talking!
So that leaves us with Category 3.
This category is home to the malcontents, the visionaries, the dreamers, the misfits, the displaced, the dispossessed, the dropouts, the artists, the geniuses, the goon squad.
These folks can't often put their finger on it, mainly because they're too young and don't have the life experience, but they know SOMETHING is over the horizon, and it can't be packaged neatly into a degree or a title or a benefit package.
Many of them see the value in these things and strive for the financial freedom that will allow them to pursue their dreams.
Bill Gates was one. So was Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Jerry Garcia and countless other heroes. So are many of the homeless and other would be wannabees who had the imagination but not the motivation.
The 50 year old seven dollar an hour retail clerk might have a master plan to redesign crucial software or a workable plan for peace in the Middle East, and could come out of nowhere to spring in on us at any time. Maybe he's just working there to pay the bills while he puts the finshing touches on his genius.
Maybe he's just given up and is playing out the string.
Maybe he's got a degree in psychology.
Maybe he's going to get his MBA, then go back to community college to go through a certified nursing assistant program so he can make $11 an hour instead of $7.
What kind of plans do you have?
Category 1 and 2 both have their limitations, even if they appear safe from the outside. Doesn't matter what age or career stage you're in. You're constantly making decisions about your future, even if you're not aware of them while it happens.
Category 3 is downright dangerous. It takes a certain moral courage not to crash and burn. It takes constant imagination, evaluation, and the ability to function on a daily basis while you cook up your recipe for greatness.
It also takes someone who understands even a little of what you're going through and joins you in the struggle.
Find a role model, or at least a supporter in your quest for greatness!
About the Author
Larry and Diane Hochman operate New You Marketing, a successful home business training and development program, in addition to their own home business from their residence in Bristol Connecticut. To receive Larry's FREE on-line four week home business development course, send a blank email to HomeBizMiniCourse@infogeneratorpro.com To subscribe to The Next Wave, Larry's free newsletter about home business development, email to: TheNextWave@infogeneratorpro.com