Category Archives: Planning

3 Reasons Reading is the Key to Getting into College

Everybody knows that reading is really important once you’re in college. Most college classes typically involve lectures followed by massive reading assignments. If you don’t like to read, college is going to be a struggle.

Most people know this, but did you know that reading is actually the key to getting into college in the first place?

Here are three reasons reading is the key to getting into college:

1. Admission Tests

Your high school grades are important to colleges, but admission test scores are equally important.

Why?file0001494750257

SAT and ACT scores are important because they are consistent.  Grades can vary from school to school. An A+ at one school may not equal an A+ at another school. Some teachers require more out of their students. For example, getting a B+ in a challenging chemistry class may mean that you have learned and can apply more knowledge than a student who received an A+ in a chemistry class with a teacher who wasn’t challenging at all.

The bottom line is that if you want to get into college you will need to demonstrate your knowledge and ability through a good score on the SAT or ACT.

So what does any of this have to do with reading?

Reading drastically improves SAT and ACT scores. It’s all about vocabulary and comprehension. To do well on either the SAT or ACT you have to have excellent reading comprehension and vocabulary.  Being able to read (and understand what you are reading) will help you in every section of the admission tests. You will save a lot of precious time if you don’t have to stop and think about what words mean and what the questions are asking.

Reading is the single best way to improve vocabulary and comprehension. You can prepare for the admission tests by studying vocabulary specifically, but honestly, how long can you study the dictionary? Reading is a much more natural and effective way to improve your vocabulary. The earlier you start the better. Reading should be a part of your daily routine.

 2. Essays

When it comes time to start applying for college, students will need to be able to write. Essays are a crucial part of the college admission process as well as the scholarship process. Colleges want to find out about who you are and what better way is there than through your essays.

But wait, I thought this article was about reading not writing? It is, I promise.

Consistent and regular reading is one of the best ways for you to develop your own voice, your storytelling voice. Reading great books, magazines, blogs or anything else that interests you will help you learn how compelling stories are told. As you read you will naturally and effortlessly absorb great writing skills. You’ll learn more about writing from reading your favorite sci-fi series than you could possibly imagine and it won’t even feel like studying.

3. The Reading List

Are you smart? Prove it. Colleges want to know if you are smart enough to handle their most challenging courses. After all, colleges are all about academics. A lot of students will only submit the required information to colleges when applying, but you can do more.

Submit a copy of your reading list.

Show admission officers that you are self-motivated and that reading is a part of who you are. They know that reading is crucial to your success at college and this will go a long way in helping them see that you are ready.

So what are you waiting for? Set some goals for yourself this summer to read more than ever before. You’ll be glad you did.

What About You?

Now I’d like to hear from you. What’s your reading list look like? Do you even like to read?

Share your favorite book(s) of all time below. Maybe we can all find some great books to add to our reading list. Thanks so much.

 

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Why Being a Poser will leave you Broke

Honesty

Can we be really honest for just a minute? I have a question for you.

Are you a poser?

I’m guessing most of you know what a poser is, but if not, here’s what Google says…

Poser

Posers

So by Google’s definition, I’m guessing we’re all posers from time to time. Honestly, who doesn’t try to use money to impress others in some way or another? We buy clothes that may be just a little out of our price range. We drive nicer cars than we can afford so we lease them or take out loans. We buy dinner for our friends knowing that it’s going hurt later. Heck, even our cell phones say something about our status so we pay whatever we have to for them even if it costs us an arm and a leg.

Impressing other people isn’t cheap.

Sometimes we even feel such a strong need to impress others that we do it at great financial harm to ourselves. Take college selection for example.

As students start looking at colleges and begin to decide where they want to go, they have to process a lot of important school information: location, transportation, degrees offered, tuition costs, room and board costs, financial aid packages, work opportunities, etc.

The Elusive Prestige

Of course these are all really important and really smart things to be thinking about. But here’s the deal, 18 year olds aren’t only thinking about those things. If you’re going to college soon, chances are you’re thinking about less tangible, less quantifiable things; things like the culture of the school, the “fun-factor”, and how prestigious the school is.

A lot of high school seniors (and their families especially) are really concerned about that last one; prestige. Again, we turn to Google…

Prestige

Prestige is really, really important to a lot of students and their families when choosing a college. It’s as if certain colleges seem to be able to offer a higher level of esteem, respect, and status to their graduates. Highly esteemed colleges produce better quality graduates that are more desirable in the marketplace, right?

Certainly if employers knew you went to one of these highly respected schools they would be much more likely to offer you a job over the common shmuck that went to the community college down the road, right… right?

Well, probably not.

Honestly, employers are really not all that concerned with where you went to college. There are of course some careers that are an exception to this rule, but they are certainly not the norm. The truth is after you graduate college the only person who cares about where you went to school is you.

“Only the Best” Mentality

You’ve probably heard that you have to get into the best possible school that you can. This is taught to students all the time from teachers, counselors, and family members. Let me be the first to tell you, It’s not true. It sounds great but its horrible advice.

Better advice would be that you have to get into the best possible school you can realistically afford and that offers the best return on investment.

Just because you get accept to a prestigious school doesn’t mean you can afford it. It also doesn’t mean you should take out a life time of student loans to go there.

You really have to think these things through.

The kindergarten teacher who graduated with $150,000 in student loans isn’t going to be getting paid any better than the teacher who graduated with $10,000 in student loans. Remember, the only person who cares where you went to school is you.

So before you decide to sign on the dotted line and agree to take out a massive student loan in order to get into that super cool school, think about your motives. Who are you really trying to impress? Is their brief and passing admiration worth it? How super cool will it be when you have to pay $600 a month in student loans until you’re 40? How prestigious will it be when you have to move back into your parent’s basement after graduation because you’re broke?

Think about it. That’s all I’m asking.

As a guy who graduated from a rather expensive private university with a degree in education, I feel like I have a pretty decent understanding of this whole idea of getting a good return on investment for a college degree. I learned the hard way though. I spent too much plain and simple. I didn’t learn that until years later though.

So tell me your story. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this issue. Comment below to share.

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When Do I Start Preparing for College?

The best time to plant a tree

You’ve probably heard this quote a million times, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.”

Well as it turns out, this principle applies to more than the casual arborist.

I believe that there’s no such thing as planning too early for college. Let me say right off the bat that I am not endorsing that every student should go to college. College is awesome; but, it is not for everyone.

That being said, I do believe that everyone should prepare for college. Regardless of if you decide to go to college or not, you need to have the option available to you and in order to have this option available you need to plan early.

So back to the question at hand, when should you start planning for college? Well, the earlier the better. In fact, college planning shouldn’t be something you wait until high school for.

Pre-K College Prep

College prep starts before kindergarten. No you aren’t practicing the SAT in pre-K, but you are exploring the world and discovering new and exciting things each day. All throughout elementary school you are learning about the world around you and more importantly you are learning how you fit into that world. You’re learning what you like and what you don’t like. You’re learning what your good at and what you love to do. That is some of the most important college prep you can do!file0001034424148

The Exploratory Middle School Years

By middle school, you’ve probably already figured out what kinds of things you’re good at. You know what you like and you know what you don’t. You’ve starting to think more about what kind of adult you will be. By the end of middle school, you’ve probably had a chance to learn about different careers through observation, shadowing, studies, or some other influence.

High School – Crunch Time

High school is when the more traditional college prep takes place. For a lot of students the light bulb doesn’t click until late in their junior year or even the beginning of their senior year. It’s about this time that the realization sets in that there’s a lot of work that goes along with getting into college. The truth is the earlier you start the less stressful it will be. As a freshman you can start preparing for college by doing a lot of simple things over the course of the next few years. Some examples include:

  • Take the required courses early.
  • Take the PSAT early and often to try for valuable scholarships.
  • Learn how to take the SAT and/or ACT and take it as early as possible and as often as necessary to obtain a high score.
  • Get involved in projects and take leadership roles in those projects.
  • Visit colleges, attend college event, s and talk to admissions staff and students.
  • Start saving money.

The list could go on and on but I think you get the point. College preparations don’t just take place your last two years of high school. So if you haven’t started yet, you need to.

“The best time to prepare for college is 20 months ago. The second best time is now.”

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below. I want to hear from you. What are you doing to prepare for college? When did you start preparing? Was the process stressful, simple, fun, nerve-wracking? Parents, are there any pressing college prep concerns you’re facing? Let’s start the conversation.

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Don’t Know What to Do?

What do you do if you don’t know what you want to do for a living? Some people have easily identifiable passions and interests. Some people don’t. Some of you will have to spend a lot of time thinking and reflecting to figure out what it is that you are passionate about.

62%

It’s Okay to Ask for Help

According to a recent survey 62% of high school seniors indicated that they need assistance with their educational/occupational plans.  For those of you who hate math as much as I do, that’s over half.  The majority of high school seniors today are admitting that they need help figuring out their plans for the future.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think that number decreases after high school; at least that’s what my experiences have led me to believe.  Actually, I think it probably increases.

As adults get older they get better at hiding the fact that they still don’t know what they want to do for the rest of their lives.  They can put on a good show and act like they’ve got it all together. Some genuinely do.   Most, say 62% probably don’t.

My dad always told me that whenever an adult asks a kid, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” that they are really just looking for ideas.

I think he’s right.

In my experience I’ve seen two basic reactions people have to not knowing what they want to do with their life.

Reaction 1:

They dig in their heels. They do whatever they’ve been doing. They dream of change and hope for change, but never take any action. They begin to believe that they are unable to change their situation. They mistake complacency for contentment. This breeds bitterness and hopelessness.

Reaction 2:

They get help. Help can come in many forms. Help may be a good book, a motivating podcast, or an encouraging friend or coach.  Help may be talking with your parents or loved ones and letting them know how you feel. Seek help and take action. Doing this tends to build energy and focus. This breeds hope.

Don’t Fake It

Pretending that you know what you want to do when you really don’t can be disastrous. Don’t fake it. When you start pretending, you become passive and start losing control of your life. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, your situation becomes unwieldy and uncontrollable.  62% of high school seniors are saying they need help. If you need help admit it, get it, and move forward.

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The Most Expensive Degree Ever

48%

The Most Expensive Degree

Do you know what the most expensive degree you can get is? I’ll give you a hint, it isn’t medicine. No, it isn’t law either. Fine, I’ll give you another hint; it’s one of the most common degrees in America; in fact, 48% of all college graduates have this type of degree.

Give up?

Okay here it is. The most expensive degree is…

(Drumroll please)

…the degree you don’t use.

That’s right; the degree you don’t use is the just about the most expensive degree you can get.  I recently read an article on Forbes that stated that 48% of bachelor level college grads in the U.S. are working in jobs that don’t even require a four year degree. That’s almost half of all college graduates that went to college and got a degree only to ignore it completely.

It makes sense though.

At 18, high school students are being ushered into the higher education system with very unclear plans for their future. Honestly, how much time do you think most students get to spend with their guidance counselor?

How much did you spend with one?

Have a Plan

A lot of young adults are getting ready to head off to college without knowing what they want to do.  They are going because it’s the path of least resistance or maybe they are going because they’ve been told it’s the key to success. They are kind of right. A degree is important, but it’s not the key to success it’s a key to success, and it’s only a key to success if it aligns with your passions and your talents and if you have thought of a feasible way to make money using the degree after you get it.

You don’t want to be one of the 48% of graduates who spent 4 years and a boat load of money on a degree you aren’t going to use.  Have a plan in place. Identify your passions and talents. Choose a degree that is necessary to get you to where you want to be. Spend some time thinking about what you want to be doing with your life before you start filling out college apps.

There’s no such thing as too early to start planning for your future.

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Hope: Your Biggest Enemy

Hope is Bad?

I was listening to an interview on the EntreLeadership podcast this week and heard a phrase that really caught my attention:

“Hope might be your biggest enemy.”

I heard that and instantly thought; rubbish! How can hope be anything but noble and wonderful?  It’s a virtue and something we all should be full of. Like me, maybe your mind went to the Bible verse 1Corinthians 13:13 about abiding in faith, hope, and love. Maybe you thought about President Obama and how his entire campaign centered on the theme of hope. Perhaps you thought of the acronym “Hold On Pain Ends” or maybe some other encouraging quote or phrase.  How could we possibly think of hope as anything but a positive thing?

The podcast was an interview of Dr. Henry Cloud, author of Necessary Endings, and he says that hope might be your biggest enemy because hope placed in the wrong thing can be disastrous. It can take you in the wrong direction for far too long. Hope must be based in reality and in truth. Take for example Jim.

Jim

Jim decided at 16 that he wanted to become an astronaut when he got older. He loved the idea of studying the stars and maybe even traveling to space. He wanted to use a giant telescope and discover new planets.  It’s all he had ever hoped for. Unfortunately, he hated math and he hated science.

Not only were Jim’s grades not very good in those subjects, but he also had little interest to study them or improve his grades. In his mind and in his dreams, however, Jim imagined himself as an astronaut. He held out hope that his dreams would come true somehow.  Jim hadn’t even thought about doing anything else. He continued the rest of his high school career planning on becoming an astronaut. When it came time to apply for college his grades held him back from getting into any college that had an aerospace program, but he never lost hope.

After graduating, Jim moved to Florida in an attempt to get a job working for NASA. Jim hoped that if he could just get hired doing a menial job he might just be able to work his way up the ranks. He held onto hope through the tough times and when he became discouraged he imagined himself standing on the moon with the American flag in his hand. Jim did this a lot as he mopped the halls of the Kennedy Space Center.

It’s a fine line between being delusional and being hopeful. At what point should Jim have given up hope?  Is it safe to say that he isn’t going to become an astronaut? How much happier would he have been if he could have stopped placing his hope in an unobtainable dream and instead allowed himself to imagine a new dream. Hope is a good thing, but there are times when realizing something is hopeless is necessary.

Should I Be Hopeless?

It would be impossible for me to come up with a formula or easy explanation for you to determine if your situation is hopeless. Everyone is unique and their experiences are unique; however, there are some simple questions you can ask yourself to help you decide if you’re on the right course.

  1. Am I passionate about the direction I’m going?
  2. Do I feel that I have the ability and a special talent for what I am doing?
  3. Am I full of anticipation and excitement? Or am I dreading the path ahead of me?
  4. Are the steps needed to get to my goal measurable and obtainable for me?
  5. Can I define what a successful outcome will look like?
  6. Do I have a timeline to reach my destination?

Don’t Stay HopelessStubbornness

Hopeless is not a destination, so don’t stay there. Take a minute and look at your situation. Look at where you’re at and the results you’re getting. Be honest with yourself.  Do you need to change directions?  If you are heading in the wrong direction, then stop. Turn around and start plotting a new course. Don’t mistake stubbornness for determination.

The quicker you can ditch your delusional hopes and change course, the quicker you can arrive at your new destination.  Imagine if you were driving your car east in an attempt to get from New York to California. It doesn’t matter how hard you work, how determined you are, or how much you want to get to California.  It isn’t going to happen until you realize you made a mistake and you need to turn around and head west.

It can be scary when you realize you need to change directions, you may feel lost and desperate.  It doesn’t have to be like that.  Let feelings of hopelessness work for you. Embrace them as guideposts and as opportunities for you to examine the path you’re on and start a new and exciting journey.

So here’s to the hopeless!

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Dual Enrollment in High School

If you know that your career path includes going to college then why not consider dual enrollment? Ever heard of it? Dual enrollment allows you to earn college credits while still in high school. It’s great for students who want to kill two birds with one stone and get both college and high school credits at the same time.  Dual Enrollment

Five Benefits of Dual Enrollment

1. Exposure to College

Dual enrollment allows you to experience what college level classes will be like. It can help you understand what to expect when you are in college full time.

2. Saves Money

Earning college credits in high school can help you to graduate faster. As an incoming freshman you may not have to take a lot of the entry level classes. College is expensive. Getting through it faster is a great way to save you money.

3. Cures Senioritis

Senioritis, if you didn’t already know, is when a senior loses interest in school and checks out mentally. One way to fight senioritis is to challenge yourself by taking college level courses. It can help you to renew your sense of purpose and increase motivation at a time when it may be a struggle for you.

4. Builds Confidence

Taking college courses in high school can help you to build confidence. Once you start passing college level courses you will feel like you are able to conquer the world.

5. Previews the School

Hope fully as a junior or senior in college you’ve already taken a few college tours. Maybe you’ve spent some time visiting campuses or even spent the night. Taking college courses gives you yet another view of the college and will help you make a better decision about which school to choose.

How to Get Started

Sounds great right? So how do you get started? Well, most of the time it’s as simple as visiting the websites of your local community colleges.  On their websites they will have a section for high school students looking to enroll in their dual enrollment programs. Usually you will have to submit your official high school transcript and fill out an application.

Share

Have you ever taken a dual enrollment class? What did you think? What did you gain from it? If you haven’t taken one and you’re in high school do you plan on taking one? Share your thoughts.

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Should I Live at Home or on Campus?

Home vs Dorm

To Dorm or not to Dorm, that is the Question

So you’re going to a local college. It’s close enough to live from home, but you could also live on campus if you wanted to. This is your first chance to live independently. Should you take it? You’ve been sleeping in the same room since you were 2 and now’s your chance to finally get out on your own. Living in a dorm is at the heart of the college experience. It’s where life-long friendships are made and world renowned fun times are waiting to be had. Yes, it’s going to be expensive but it’s all part of the college experience right?

But wait.

On second thought, do you really have to move out? Your room is nice. It’s free. It’s bigger than a large closet. It has carpet that isn’t just 9 different shades of stains. It’s yours. It already has all your stuff in it. It has a fully stocked kitchen at the bottom of the stairs. The laundry machine doesn’t take quarters. It doesn’t sound like a rock concert 24/7.  Oh, and did I mention it’s free?

Pros and Cons

Now you’re faced with a tough decision, “should I live at home and save a few bucks, or should I live in the dorms and get the full college experience?” Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Living in the Dorms

Pros:Dorms

Convenience: When you live on campus you can walk to classes, cafeterias, computer labs, libraries, and any other buildings you might need to go to. There’s no driving time or worrying about a vehicle.

Ease: Living on campus is very easy. You don’t have to worry about the bills. You don’t have to worry about utilities, rent, or grocery shopping. Everything is taken care of for you.

Social life: Living in the dorm is a great way to make new friends. You will be constantly surrounded with other people your age and will have a lot of opportunities to meet new people and establish new friendships.

Exposure: Living on campus will bring about a new level of exposure and will enable you to learn from people who come from different walks of life. Being surrounded by so many new people can provide opportunities to make valuable connections and learn new interests and passions.

Cons:

Less Privacy: If you like having time to yourself and need a lot of personal space, then living in the dorms can be a real challenge. You will have to share your bedroom, your bathroom, and your living spaces. There will be almost no privacy.

Small Rooms: You’re dorm room probably won’t be nearly as nice as your bedroom at home. Dorm rooms are usually tiny and you will have to really limit what you keep with you at college.  You may have to buy new (smaller) furniture to be able to live in your dorm.

Difficulty Studying: The huge increase in social activities and being constantly surrounded by friends can often force high achieving students to lose their academic edge. Some student’s grades drop dramatically due to difficulty focusing and not being able to personally enforce good study habits among the distractions.

Exposure: You cannot control your environment when living on campus. You may find yourself constantly surrounded by people with drastically different world-views than your own. Dorms are often full of activities that may go against your beliefs or that might make you feel uncomfortable.

Costs: Living in the dormitory can be expensive. This cost is usually wrapped up with the student’s loans and it’s easy to forget about them. Living at home is much, much cheaper.

Living at Home

Pros:Home

Independence: Living at home doesn’t always mean less independence. A lot of dorms have strict rules that students must live by while living on-campus. These rules are nonnegotiable. Living at home allows you to establish those rules with your parents. You can be a part of the discussion on how to best increase your independence as you transition from high school to college.

Increased Privacy: Living at home can provide greater levels of privacy. Chances are you won’t be constantly surrounded by other students at home. Chances are there won’t be parties 24/7 either.

Improved Grades: When you live at home you will be studying in the same environment that you did in high school. It will be a very smooth transition. There are a lot less distractions at home and you can have a greater amount of control over what distractions you allow in your life.

Social Life: When you live at home you can still have a great social life, and as a bonus benefit, you can have it on your own terms. Living at home allows you to go out and engage in social activities with friends and then take a break when you need to focus on your studies.

Control: Living at home allows for a greater amount of control of your surroundings. If you don’t like a situation on campus or feel uncomfortable, you can easily remove yourself from that situation. You also can choose the types of people you will surround yourself; and as you know, people tend to become like those they surround themselves with.

Costs: Living at home is cheap if not free. Who doesn’t like free?

 Cons:

Independence: You may feel like staying home during college is cheating you of a valuable experience. It is easy to feel like you aren’t really living independently while living at home.

Transportation: Driving to and from school takes up time. It also costs money and requires that you have a reliable vehicle or mode of transportation.

Isolation: Developing connections is an important benefit of attending college. If you tend to isolate you may miss out on some important connections living at home.  But remember, you don’t need to become a party animal. Being an introvert is not a bad thing.

Decisions

It’s a really big decision, but like most decisions it isn’t just option A versus option B.  You have more options than choosing between the college-experience or saving money. There are a ton of different options.

Maybe you will…

  • Live at home for a couple years and then finish on campus.
  • Live at home, but spend the majority of your time studying on campus.
  • Live on campus, but go home on the weekends to be alone or catch up on projects.

Don’t Forget

You need to remember why you’re going to college. Is it to make friends and live it up? Do you really need to pay for that experience? If you think about it that way it sounds kind of lame doesn’t it. But, that’s exactly why a lot of students decide to live on campus, so they can make new friends be a part of the scene. Imagine that scenario outside of the whole college experience mentality. “Can I give you a bunch my money and in return you let me hang out with you and go to cool parties?” Lame.

What would you do with an extra $30,000 at your college graduation? If you can save room and board fees of $7,500 a year over four years you have a nice chunk of change at graduation.

As someone who lived at home, on campus, and in my own apartment during college, I can say without hesitation that living at home is by far the most cost effective and easiest. My social life wasn’t hurt in the slightest by living at home and I was able to give my full attention to my studies. Dorms are expensive. Apartments are even more expensive.  Home is free.

If cost isn’t an issue for you and you really feel the need to live on campus, then go for it and enjoy. But, whatever you end up choosing make sure you choose it because it is what’s best for you.  Don’t simply take the path of least resistance. Don’t follow along blindly doing what everyone else is doing. Figure out what you need to do to get you where you want to be and do it. Be creative, remember normal is mountains of student debt and a degree you probably won’t use.

Don’t be normal.

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You Can’t Be Anything You Want

I’m sorry to break the news to you but you cannot be anything you want to be when you grow up. It was a lie. It’s not your fault; society has pushed this idea onto you since your birth. Through television, movies, music, and well intentioned adults you’ve received this message. It was false though and now it’s time you learn the truth.

You have limitations.Father & son

Yes, you have limitations. It seems cruel to tell little children this harsh reality, so many adults don’t. They go on lying to them, filling them with magical hope for the future. The problem is that if you are told a lie long enough you start to believe it. But, you aren’t a little child, and I’m not going to lie. Despite well-meaning intentions, lying to children about their unlimited options can lead to serious confusion and a lack of direction; that and it really isn’t all that helpful.

Little Johnny: “Dad what should I be when I grow up?” 

Johnny’s Dad: “Oh son, you can be anything you want to be…” 

Little Johnny: “Yeah I know Dad, but I mean I really don’t know what I want to do?”  

Johnny’s Dad: “…anything you want, son. You can be anything you want.”

In the real world, to be successful at something requires that you have very specific talents and abilities and more importantly that you know what they are. Rather than telling you that you can be anything you want I’m going to tell you the truth:

You cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be an awesome version of yourself!

You are uniquely wired in certain ways that no one else is. At the risk of sounding like your mom, you are special! You have skills and abilities that make you uniquely valuable. The trick is putting yourself in the right environment; one that will allow you to use those special abilities. So don’t spread the lie.  You can’t be anything you want to be, you wouldn’t want to anyways. You can and should be yourself.

Know your talents, abilities, and passion. Use them for direction and you won’t have to worry about being anything you want to be, you’ll be to busy doing what you were made to do.

Be yourself.

Be awesome.

Live Declared.

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Childish Things

C.S. Lewis once said, “When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”

What are your childish things? What are the things you love to do but might be avoiding because of how it will make you look? Everyone has an image, a mask they put on so that no one will know who they really are. We all like people to think of us a certain way: strong, funny, clever, smart, mature, witty, free-spirited, fun loving, intellectual, and many other things. There is nothing wrong with trying to be those things, but you need to know who you really are.  

When you can let go of your need to impress others and stop suppressing who you are and what you love; you become free to pursue your passions and through them truly excel. How many of you are thinking about other people as you plan your future?

“I have to go to college, all my friends are going and if I don’t go, they’ll think I’m dumb.”

“I should probably study business or accounting; my parents would kill me if I told them I really wanted to study art.”

“All I can afford is a community college, but I don’t want anyone to know that!”

“I really want to make stuff and work in carpentry but all my college friends will think I’ve lost it.”

You need to let those things go. It’s freeing. Do what you love to do, as often as you can. If you love to read children’s books, read them. If you love to dance in your room, then dance. If you love to draw cartoons, then draw them every day. If you love to catch bugs then go and do that too! Don’t be ashamed of what you love. Innovation stems from passion, passion comes from love, and that is the only way you will do great things no matter what line of work you choose.

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