What's wrong with this "after college" picture?

To get a job you must have experience, but to get experience you must have a job. This is the conundrum that our society has thrown many a  college graduate into on the day he's handed his diploma. Instead of leaving college fully equipped to enter a professional job, He finds himself suddenly with all the head knowledge, but none of the practical skills.

Although this 20 something young man is our bright and shining future, no one wants to hire him. He still needs to be taught everything and most people aren't willing to take the time or the risk in their business. Somehow that book education he got didn’t teach him how to DO anything, he just knows how to talk about it. Sure, he could take his diploma and start out in a very small paying job in his field of interest, and that would help him build up the experience so he can start his career. Sounds like a solution right?

There’s just a minor hitch. He has student loans which he has to start paying a few months after he graduates. The student loans were granted with the projection that he would leave college and enter a full time, high paying job in his industry. But it's not happening.

This promising young graduate steps off the platform with his diploma and suddenly finds himself scrambling for quick money. He needs to be able to pay his loans and that's a forced priority, so gaining experience becomes a secondary thought. He searches with growing desperation to find the job of his dreams and finally abandons his diploma and career field (temporarily) while he works as a waiter or bartender to pay his bills.

All the sudden, instead of starting to give to business and society in a lucrative career, our "future" is spending his most formative years washing tables and making small talk.

This could be fine for a time, but unfortunately paying those loans won't take months, but years.  So he find himself in the same predicament year after year. He's not able to use his degree because he lacks experience, he can't work a small paying job because of student loans, and his potential and passion is becoming buried and slowly forgotten.

The simplest, yet scariest solution to this problem:

Take responsibility for your own education and career path.

This could mean working to gain experience in conjunction with getting a college degree, or maybe even choosing an alternative path to college. There are many ways to avoid this predicament, but all of them require you to carefully consider the future. You'll have to get a little creative instead of just following the traditional route planned out for you.

Don't rationalize your dreams

Part 2. "Be brutally honest with your present circumstances and wildly unrealistic about your future."

Thanks to Jon Acuff for this quote that I've been thinking about.

"Be wildly unrealistic about your future. "

We've been taught not to dream too big, not to expect to ever be more than what we already are. We plan and "dream" about having a good corporate job but wouldn't dare to think we could be anything beyond that.

The truth is, we are capable of much more than we allow ourselves think. We can reach seemingly impossible goals, and fulfill our dreams. It will take a lot to get there, but it's possible. "Anything's possible"

But greatness doesn't happen by chance.  It is chased, and planned for and dreamed about.

If you never try to get there or even THINK of getting there, you certainly won’t. So be honest about where you are at presently, but dream big about where you can be.

We have to allow ourselves to dream

What we have to learn to do is separate ourselves from our present circumstances and where we want to be. We have to isolate our dreams and realize it will take a lot of work to get there, but it is possible for us to do amazing things.

If you never dream big, then you have most DEFINITELY cut yourself off from ever doing anything big.

83 things I want to tell you before I die

1. Laugh more, you’ll live longer 2. Be enthusiastic about life. It’s contagious

3. Hug your family more than you do

4. Do something new, don’t keep doing the same things, expecting different results

5. Be self aware, but not so self aware that you become self involved

6. Seek to understand and seek to be understood yourself

7.  Check your internal dialogue. How you talk to yourself, determines what you think of yourself

8. Visualize success. So you know once you get there

9. Set realistic expectations for other people, so you won’t be disappointed by their actions

10. Create a daily task list, so nothing gets out of hand

11. Schedule time for relaxation and enjoyment, it’s not a reward, its a need

12. Be brutally realistic about your present circumstances, and wildly unrealistic about your future

13. Get up early, you’ll be more productive

14. Find others who support you, not who want to change you

15. Don’t talk about yourself as much, instead listen

16. Seek to bring value to other people

17. Take care as to how you present yourself, that’s what people will judge you on

18. Life is a joyful, beautiful, messy thing. Don’t miss it

19. It’s not about you

20. Celebrate accomplishments. It’ll motivate you to reach more goals

21. Don’t assign motives to people’s actions

22. Help others, you will find more joy helping others, than helping yourself

23. Love whoever is right in front of you

24. Chase your dreams, you’ll feel more alive

25. Workout. You will age slower

26. Give random surprise gifts, they mean more

27. Try for difficult things and be okay to fail

28. Make good decisions, you’ll have to explain yourself to someone

29. Don’t worry, its incredibly silly

30. Compete with yourself, not others

31. Send handwritten cards

32. Eat to live, not live to eat

33. Take that chance, you’ll be glad you did

34. Dance, you'll feel freedom

35. Read classic literature

36. Choose your friends wisely, you will become just like them

37. Say “no” kindly, and often

38. Get rid of clutter, it slows you down, and holds you back

39. See past what people are, to what they can be

40. Go to church, your soul needs nourishment just like your body

41. Be grateful, its the surest way to contentment

42. You are beautiful. Don’t think otherwise

43. Work hard, thats how dreams are built

44. Love deeply. It’s risky, but it’s worth it

45. Take a personality test, you will discover a lot about yourself and others

46. Live inspired. You’ll never want to go back

47. Change the oil in your car as recommended

48. Don’t miss an opportunity to encourage someone

49. Share your stories, your dreams and your goals or we’ll never know

50. Wear jewelry, you should never feel frumpy

51. Regularly eat dinner as a family, it will keep you close

52. Ask about your child’s day and listen, or else someday you’ll want to know, and he won’t care to tell you

53. Doodle with sharpies, they spark creativity

54. Read to your kids, a love of books is one of the greatest gifts you can give them

55. Listen to music, it will uplift you

56. What you tell yourself is what you’ll come to believe

57. Make good habits, you’ll do the right thing without even thinking about it

58. Don’t be in a job you hate, Life is just too short

59. Recognize there are more than two options. Be creative looking for solutions

60. Get a color analysis, it’s a great investment

61. Think the best of people, if you’re wrong, oh well!

62. Don’t lead people on, in business or love. You are wasting their time and yours

63. Clean under your bed, you’ll find something you're missing

64. Smile, it’s contagious

65. Be extra kind to your cashiers and waitresses, they are serving you

66. Take care of your health now, before it’s too late

67. Lift weights and run. Don’t do one to the detriment of the other

68. Be generous, your money is worthless unless put to a good cause

69. Don’t allow others to shape your perception of yourself

70. Be yourself, we all so often aren’t

71. Join a group, community is powerful

72. "Bored" should be a nonexistent word, there’s so much life to experience

73. Be patriotic

74. Care about your freedoms because if you don’t, someone else will and you might not like it.

75. Keep your promises, even promises to yourself

76. Don’t live this life with bitterness and hatred, you are only hurting yourself

77. Get perspective. It’s the best way to avoid self pity

78. Be curious about life

79. Your life has meaning or else you wouldn’t be here

80. You’re not alone in your troubles

81. Don’t do anything you’d be embarrassed if your mother found out

82. Drink more water. Your body is 60% water. You’re just not drinking enough

83. Be authentic and genuine, and you’ll be irresistible

Why it’s important to face your past

All of us have painful experiences from our past, perhaps we were bullied at school, or lost a loved one, or even something as simple as a rude comment can be very hurtful Sometimes in our efforts to be strong and protect ourselves, we fail to process those experiences. At that time, we don’t have the capacity to logically reason through how we feel while we’re in those circumstances. So we batten down the hatches, and do our best to wait out the emotional storm.Then once it’s over, we do our best to forget it ever happened. We want to get on with our lives and avoid reliving the experience by dragging it up again after it’s over.

The danger in doing that is: all unresolved issues will come up again.

In order for us to be healthy, whole individuals, we need to work through our past and come to terms with it. That can involve having difficult conversations, confronting people from your past, or that could merely be you sitting down and talking about how you feel, what you experienced, and how you will choose to deal with the pain and baggage that created.

You may not have had control over those circumstances, but you have the control now to be strong and to face your past, and to not let it affect your future. This is a painful, difficult, and often ugly process. But you either avoid your past and become handicapped by it, or you face your past and become freed from it.

Why you have no idea what to do with your Life.

Does it seem like everyone has a different opinion for what you should do with your life? I was reading this book called I could do anything if I only knew what it was By Barbara Sher. I did an exercise in the book which revealed a lot to me. The author was explaining that our life goals and dreams are often veiled by what we believe is expected of us from others. We have a sense of obligation and responsibility to please certain people and their idea of what we should do with our life. Most often these expectations that we feel forced to, are subconscious. We don’t even realize they exist. So the exercise was to discover and write down what I thought everyone in my life wanted me to do with my future, whether they outrightly spoke of it, or not.

We tend to make assumptions that people are placing expectations on us, when often they actually don’t have an opinion. It’s not necessarily what these people actually want you to do that’s hindering you, it’s often what you think they want you to do.

So I started by making a list of people who were influential in my life. I then took each of those people and thought through my interactions with them. I analyzed deep down what I thought it was they wanted for me. In my mind, every one of those people had an opinion. and to my surprise, quite often a lot of their ideas and wishes for me conflicted. It was hilarious to see all the ridiculous assumptions I had made and how impossible it would be to follow through with them.

This exercise was extremely beneficial for me, because I was a people pleaser. I always wanted to be viewed well and I didn’t want to disappoint others. So I was desperately trying to please everyone (or so I thought) and being miserable myself in the process. All the subconscious conflicting messages I was receiving whether legitimate or not, were creating a significant amount of confusion and frustration in my life. I was so busy trying to follow the map supposedly outlined for me, that I hadn’t discovered what my true passion and purpose was.

Often we read into things too much. We don’t even realize it, but subconsciously we receive messages that we internalize as other’s wishes and desires for our life. We make assumptions which if put into words are laughable! Certain individual's actions and words unconsciously made you feel as though they had a veiled desire or purpose. But they were probably quite innocent and had no intention of projecting that idea upon you.

So take the time to recognize all the noise and confusion within yourself. Identify and discard those assumptions which you created in your own mind and that will free up space for you to discover your purpose.