I can't say I know how everyone feels, but keeping up with the ever-changing and overwhelming amount of tech strategies has been sloppy. It's difficult to sift through the usual model the majority of marketers are using.
“3 Ways to Boost Your Online Presence”
“25 Ways a Personal Brand Can Help You”
“5x Your Social Media Outreach”
I like stories. I like to learn what’s important through the context of narrative. It keeps me engaged and also helps me remember the lessons shared throughout the story.
I’m no author, but I’d love to give this a crack and see if any of you resonate with this better.
What?! Why?! Those are the best years of your life! Be grateful of the opportunity! Education is important! You need a degree!
Seeing all the families that wanted nothing more than to see their children go to university made me feel like I needed to go too.
(I wish someone had showed me these books and this article at the time.)
The majority was overwhelming, and I was convinced to forget about not going to college.
So, I ended up in a small town in Scotland, of all places, attending the University of St. Andrews.
I had a great time. I made some great friends. And, I was about as passionate for my studies as a sugar-crazed 5-year-old eating broccoli.
Eventually though, my doubts returned. I considered them reluctantly, and asked myself, “how can so many want this so badly?”
Without fail, every additional semester reinforced my beliefs. I saw no practical life use for most of the knowledge I was acquiring for thousands of dollars. I wasn't getting a real-world education. And, I had no idea how I was going to make a living after I graduated. I just didn't get it!
By the end of my second year I decided I was going to do a little experiment. I was going to leave university.
It was a really tough decision, and I was met with a ton of resistance from my parents, my friends, and basically everyone I knew and loved. Yet, I felt like I was wasting a lot of my time studying things I didn’t like, to write things I didn’t believe, to impress people enough to give me a numerical value.
(The list of incredibly successful and fulfilled millionaires and billionaires goes on and on) share similar views and either dropped out or are now advocating alternatives to higher education.
I don’t discredit those who love it or those overwhelmed with student loans. For those in debt, the pressure may not even allow for them to question the validity of higher education. I hold an enormous amount of respect and empathy for those plowing through years of debt solely because they wanted to learn.
Now, before any of the strictly conservative families out there get there panties in a twist, give me a chance to explain. It was simply an experiment, and, if it makes you feel any better, I'll always have the opportunity to go back. Worst case scenario was that I'd waste 1-2 years of my life…
Maybe I’m an idiot. In fact, most likely I am.
But here’s the thing colleges, or any standardized schooling for that matter, aren't teaching you: idiots may be the new top performers.
Let me explain:
Naive, idiotic, unabashed people know something that many people don’t.
Thinking is completely and unequivocally overrated in comparison to action.
Former President of the United States, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt may have expressed it best when he said,
What many idiots have over the entire population of armchair analysts and overly introspective geniuses is the simple ability to go for what they want, regardless of whether it is a genuinely good idea or not. Oftentimes, no matter how much analysis and thought can be put into a subject, the best action is to simply go for it.
So that’s what I did. I left to pursue what I wanted. Even though I didn’t really know what I wanted. (Listen to this for the full story.)
I had a vision, a goal, a dream to live completely and unapologetically FREE. And the clichéness of that dream comes off as so obnoxious it bothers even me, but before the haters start sharing their memes and cynicism, let me explain:
- Spontaneous trips to anywhere around the world.
- Funding my own creative exploits as well as those of the people I love and care for.
- Even the simplicity of being able to buy rounds of drinks for my friends.
These have all been specific things I’ve always wanted regardless of cliché or connotation.
And I was ready to do whatever it took to get them.
The whole process felt like a broken emotional rollercoaster that could have flown off the tracks at any moment; for both the good and the bad.
After finally taking the “leap of faith”, and writing the last word on what was potentially the final exam I’d ever take, I felt the BIGGEST surge of endorphins I’d ever experienced. I was uncontrollably grinning from ear-to-ear and skipping through the streets like a clown loaded with botox. That, was phase one.
Phase two started when I got home and realized,
Like when you suddenly start to question whether your leap of faith really had any faith to begin with:
Turns out, unlike Jackson, my faith paid off. As a realist that generally applies the scientific method to all aspects of my life, I started to realize this thing called “faith” is really just a mix of accepting risk, welcoming luck, and preparing for the worst case scenario both mentally and physically.
Leaving the safety net of the college forced me to ask myself all the existential questions we'd usually experience at 30.
I had to clear up who I was, what was important to me, who I wanted to become, and how I was going to get there.
I started planning, reading, and, most importantly, researching. I researched the internet like it’s never been researched before. I may have found places the internet itself didn’t know existed. (It definitely did, it’s the internet… It's watching us right now...)
But through that research, I made my OWN degree. A degree specialized in Lifestyle Design.
No. Not at all. Lifestyle Design may be the most practical and effective thing you’ve never explicitly focused on.
I read as much as I could on the subject, and that lead me to entrepreneurship, practical philosophy, and behavioral psychology, three of the most important fields of study for anyone looking to live an alternative lifestyle.
Yet, despite my efforts, learning autodidactically was just the beginning; just an ephemeral first step before realizing that, if you want to become the best at anything, you can’t do it alone.
Mentors can be physical or digital, but without any you’d waste too much time making all the mistakes on your own time instead of benefiting from some useful guidance.
- Tim Ferriss: all around top performer, and life optimizer extraordinaire.
- Seneca The Younger: ancient practitioner of stoic philosophy.
- Ramit Sethi: no bullshit entrepreneur, specializing in psychology and personal finance.
- Casey Neistat: YouTube star and notorious workaholic badass.
- Gary Vaynerchuk: serial entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and marketing genius.
These guys are freaking SUPERSTARS in their respective fields. They became my role models, and, as someone who’s never been a fan-boy, I got addicted to their work quick.
Through them, I was introduced to countless others. Some famous. Some totally under the radar. But all, experts.
And the most interesting part is, I never met a single one of them, but these people have influenced me more than anyone. That’s the power of having an online presence. That’s the power of sharing who you are and what you stand for to the rest of the world. The power of having a Personal Brand.
And I love it. I love that, because of our hyperconnectivity to all the information shared online, we can learn whatever we want and apply it to our own lives. So I’ve dedicated my life to helping people do exactly that.
I started to pull more from those I connected with and adding them to my role model list, what notoriously became known as the Support-Squad 😎. The people I’d turn to whenever I hit a rough patch, or didn’t feel like getting out of bed to seize the day ahead.
To have multiple passive streams of income that pay the bills no matter where I happen to find myself on this beautiful little blue dot floating through the cosmos. Now isn’t that dreamy 😴.
In all my idealism, I started a nonprofit with a good friend. The theory was good, the practice was not. It failed.
I realized I needed to be making some money, some serious moula, if I was ever going to come close to achieving this dream, but I was also uncompromising about retaining my freedom. So, I figured I needed to be making money remotely…
How does one do that?
Well, there's a very long answer to that question, but I've done it for myself, so I can show you.
Or, you can see how I do it for my clients.
Either way, don’t underestimate the power of analysis paralysis: the act of overanalyzing to the point of complete inaction.
You have to take the first step, wherever it leads you.
If you want to learn how to develop what you stand for, share your ideas, grow your business, live financially free, and pursue what you love, send me an email or sign-up for Friday Favorites (my newsletter on how to start an effective online business).
If you want to keep reading instead, I've covered the basics of starting a personal brand and why anyone should take advantage of the opportunity.
I wish you all the best, no matter how you view education.
P.S. If you're thinking about dropping out or already have, you can join our private Facebook support group here.