Elevator to Success: Internal Drive a Key Ingredient
Recently I had an epiphany -drum roll, please. An internal drive to succeed is the secret sauce of a fruitful career. Personality type or education level–both factors can determine the difficulty that individuals will face when finding success, but education level or emotional make-up will not doom an individual to a fiery pit of failure.
The importance of internal drive gets sidelined a tad. Children get taught the value of hard work, but parents, teachers, and dramas tend to drive home the importance of a formal college education far more frequently.
The college will teach equip with the knowledge, the skills, and the credentials to succeed. Not used to or too shy to talk in front of crowds? College can help with that.
In fact, college and success are so firmly linked together that when you type college quotes in Google Image Search, most of the quotes shown have nothing to do with college.
Here are a few examples:
- “There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.”
- “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
- “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.”
- “Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
The quotes present college as the only path to success, a risky venture that will pay off, and an ambitious act. And college can be all of those things, but we do ourselves and our families a disservice if we don’t realize college is not the only path.
Need evidence? Washington State University’s infographic Surprising Starts to Successful Startup lists 13 different entrepreneurs who founded ten amazingly successful companies. 5 of the 13 entrepreneurs never finished college. Kevin Rose (Digg), Mark Zuckerberg (FaceBook), Janus Friis (Skype), Michael Dell (Dell), and Steve Jobs (Apple) all found success without a college degree.
The fact that college isn’t the key to success is the secret I wish someone had shared with me before I spent 40K on a technical writing degree that taught me how to write and how to occasionally communicate with other human beings in a professional manner.
Three years post-college, I have a pretty good wage at an internet marketing company. An internet marketing company who is more than willing to employ individuals without a college degree. It kills me a little. Do you know how amazing my wage would be if I wasn’t drowning in student loans? I’d be well on my way to swimming in piles of cash like Scrooge McDuck.
And with 7 out of 10 college grads in the same student loan trap, individuals consider if they can obtain success without a formal college education.
Let’s go through the evaluation process now.
Do you want to pursue a career in engineering, law, or medicine? College is the only option. Formal education will prevent you from operating with faulty knowledge, potentially botching very serious life-changing trials, or constructing an unsafe bridge.
Do you have the money to attend college? College can be a time of exploration. You have the money, why not take classes. Some of them might reveal a new passion.
Historically, you’ve thrived when expected to utilize textbooks or other resources to teach yourself. When attending college, you have professors and your fellow students to teach you complicated concepts. Without college, there is a higher chance you will not have peers or mentors to help you grasp the concepts you might need to succeed.
Do you have the internal drive and dedication to pursue your dream? Will you continually pinpoint new skills to learn and new opportunities to pursue while holding down a full-time job? Do you have the willpower to dedicate three, four or five hours to improving yourself? Or will you put off learning about CSS or proper writing technique to watch the latest episode of Arrow?
The ability to learn and the willpower to persevere are hard to cultivate and hold on to. And that is partially why our society believes that college is often the best option.
College is like a booster pack.
Professors, faculty, and students offer support to individuals who might struggle with learning the skills necessary to succeed. They will pound the information into your head over and over and over again if necessary. They will give you oral assignments to help you shake your discomfort of public speaking. And they will offer tests, disappointed looks, and failing grades in angry red ink to motivate you to succeed.
In a society filled with distractions and fun activities, college is the safe path. Without that booster pack, many might not have the motivation to do what’s necessary to succeed. I’m not sure if I would have had the confidence in myself, the communication skills, or the self-restraint to continually improve myself without college, but I do know that it can be done. How well do you think you’d fare without a formal college education?
Guest Author Bio:
Samantha Stauf is an introvert who spends her time reading, working to develop a freelance career, and wondering why she sunk herself into student loan debt when she’s surrounded by successful people who never attended college. You can find her on Twitter with the handle @Samstauf.
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