Dropping Out of College Was the Best Decision I Could Have Made

It’s been over 11 years since I dropped out of college, and it has turned out to be one of the best life choices I have ever made.  My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner. 

Straight out of high school, I really had no clue who I was, or what I wanted out of life (I knew my mom wanted me to become a Lutheran minister, and I was strongly considering it if only to make her happy).  When I signed up for classes at a local community college, I ended up majoring in business and minoring in music (I guess I wanted to open a…Music business?).  My class-load was not terribly heavy, but I still had a hard time dragging myself out of bed for my earlier classes, and after a few weeks stopped attending them.  No one seemed to care, so eventually I stopped going to my other classes as well, opting to wander around campus, hang out in the library, or go to more interesting classes that I hadn’t actually signed up for.  Well I couldn’t keep this up forever, at least not without someone getting wise to my shenanigans, so I had to come clean.

I ended up flunking out my first semester, as it was too late to withdraw from my classes.  My parents were not ecstatic (they were even less thrilled in the coming months when they learned I was getting married and moving 1100 miles away).

Sure, the main reason I avoided my classes was laziness, but it seems college has become the lazy option.

I can understand if you have a vision for your future, or a career or vocation that you would like to pursue that requires a degree, but anymore college is just an extension of high school, a way to postpone adulthood.  Not sure what you want to be when you grow up?  that’s fine!  Just change your major 17 times, you’ll get there soon enough.  Why go out into the real world and get real life experiences when you can spend another 4 to 8 years in a classroom?  And hey, If you’re not happy with your degree, that’s okay, you can just come right on back and get another one.

I am eternally grateful to my irresponsible 18 year old self for being lazy, selfish, and reckless.  That one decision propelled me into a life of travel, adventure, and awesomeness (not to mention the lack of debt!).  I may not have a degree, but I have an amazing wife, 4 kids, my own home, and 11 years of real life experience.  (maybe I would have had these things had I finished my degree, but then again, maybe not)

Disclaimer:  Everyone makes their own personal life decisions.  If college is right for you, go for it, just don’t feel like it’s your only option, or that you’re a deadbeat if you don’t have a degree. 

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Stop Trying To Control People

22thebestwaytocontrolpeople0aistoencouragethem0atobemischievous220a-default“Even though you try to put people under control, it is impossible. You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in a wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: first let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good. That is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them.”   Shunryu Suzuki

Helpful Reminders For Making New Habbits Stick

I was reorganizing my office at work, and in the back of a desk drawer, I found a folded up piece of paper with eight lines of print on it.  This is what it said:

It’s on my plan, I gotta do it.

Past Me said to do it, and Future Me will thank me, so let’s do it.

Once I start, I’ll be glad I did.  All I have to do is take the first small step.

I don’t need to decide on this, or think about it.  It’s already decided.

This is a compassionate act for myself, an act of love.  Lets get to the loving.

I am doing this for others, to set an example for others, to make the world better.

Yes, “Just this once” does hurt.  Let’s not fall for our old thinking traps.

It’s time, let’s get to work like a pro.

This was taken from a post on Zen Habits called What You Can Say Instead of “I Don’t Feel Like It.”

It was from a time when I was trying to make some serious habit changes.  (eating healthy, staying off of social media, getting organized, meditating, not losing my temper, among other things) and I had printed it off as a reminder to myself.  If I remember correctly, this list helped me to maintain an upward trend for quite some time.  It is amazing what a little bit of positive thinking can do.

I’m Going to Let Go Now

“We have a cultural notion that if children were not engineered, if we did not manipulate them, they would grow up as beasts in the field. This is the wildest fallacy in the world.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

Do you remember being a kid, growing up?  You and your sister would both lay hands on some toy, or other desired object, and pull with all your might in an attempt to remove it from each others’ grasp.  And then, after a few minutes of tug-of-war, you would decide that there was something even better than having the object you so desired.  Then, releasing the object, you would watch as your little sister proceeded to roll across the floor.

Since becoming a father, I have been in a similar power struggle with my children.  Each of us white knuckled, struggling to take control from the hands of the other.  What they wear, how they speak, what they learn, where they go, when they sleep, where they sleep, what they eat, when they eat.  At the onset, I wanted control over every aspect of their lives.  After all, I am the parent, I am the adult, and I know what is best for them, right?

I soon found out that this was the wrong way to have a healthy relationship with my children.  I also learned that lessons are much more powerful when you learn them for yourself, rather than having them forced on you.  So I let go, and watched in terror as they rolled across the floor.  They weren’t ready for control, they didn’t know what to expect.  They had spent their whole lives being told what to do, where to go, and who to be.  I had created an environment of fear, manipulation, and control, and instilled a belief that “Might makes right.”  That wasn’t going to go away overnight.

I am doing my best to let the kids make their own decisions whenever possible.  We are still recovering from the days when Dad was the Dictator, and the kids sometimes make choices that tie my gut up in knots, but I am convinced that this is the way I should have been parenting all along.

If you are struggling with your children over control of their lives, it might be scary to think about letting go.  But the sooner you do it, the softer their fall will be, and the better your relationship.

“Children pursue life, and in doing so, pursue knowledge. They need adults to trust in the inevitability of this very natural process, and to offer what assistance they can.” ~ Earl Stevens

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The Answers Are Within

I accidentally posted this on my other blog yesterday.  So, if you are subscribed to both, you may see it twice.

Sometimes, I get really worked up and worried, and I have to sit myself down, and talk some sense into me (Mostly because no one else will):

“Oh self,” I say, “Oh if only I could be like this person, or that person.”

You don’t need to be like them.  Just be yourself.  There is nothing wrong with that.

“But they have it so easy!”

You don’t know that.  You only know the ease or difficulty of your 0wn life.

“Okay, I guess.  But what am I even doing here?  I need some direction.  I need someone to show me the path.  How do I know if I’m doing whats right?”

The answers are inside of you.  Everything that you seek without and fail to find, is hidden within.  You know what is right, you know what you should be doing, and you do not need the approval or acceptance of anyone else.

“But what if I screw up?  What if I fail?  What if I change my mind?”

Making your own decisions, good or bad, right or wrong, and facing the consequences, is the only way to grow.  It is the only way to find out who you are.  Without failure, and without change, there is no growth, there is no life.

But I’m scared”

That’s okay.  Its part of being human.  acknowledge the fear, and release it.  Then go on doing what you know is right.

I really don’t think I can do this, but I guess I’ll keep trying.”

“At the center of your being
you have the answer;
you know who you are
and you know what you want.”  ~Lao tzu

“Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.” ~Buddha

“Cherish that which is within you, and shut off that which is without; for much knowledge is a curse.” ~Zhuangzi