Tag Archives: options

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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Opportunity Costs for Going to College

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Going to College is expensive. I know, everybody is yelling “well duh!” in unison. But it’s even more expensive than you might think. Opportunity costs are very important to consider when planning whether or not to go to college.

Let me quickly define what I mean by opportunity costs for the purposes of this article. An opportunity cost is simply a choice between two possible options where you judge the benefits of one choice over the other.  You can choose to do this or you can choose to do that. You can buy a 1998 Chevy Cavalier or you can buy a new 2012 Toyota Prius. You can have cereal for breakfast or you can have oatmeal. You can choose to go straight to the work force after high school or you can choose to go to college.

Let’s look at the workforce or college example in more detail.

A lot of people when taking into account the financial implications of going to college only consider the debt they accrue while attending college; room and board, books, fees, tuition, etc.  They often don’t consider one of the biggest financial factors in the whole equation which is the cost of giving up four years of income to attend college. Four years of income will often add up to more than the total cost of tuition and all the related expenses. Four years income is a big chunk of money.

For example; we have two students who are graduating high school. One decides that he will go straight to the work force and the other decides to go to a four year college.  The student who chose to go to college will pay, or more likely owe, $71,440 when starting his or her career. But not only that, they will also be out an additional $120,000 in lost income. The $120,000 sounds like a lot but it is really pretty conservative, just take $30,000 a year multiplied by four years.  So college for that student came at a $191,440 cost of opportunity. At 22 years old after graduating college that student is down $191,440; let that sink in for a minute.

Now we move on to our student who chose to go straight to work after high school. Let’s say he or she chose to become an auto mechanic. The average salary for that job is $36,180. Multiply that by four years and at 22 years old that student is in the positive $144,720. That is a difference of $336,160 between the two. That’s a lot of money!

I want to be clear that I am not discouraging going to college at all. In general, college graduates earn more than high school graduates do. The unemployment rate is lower for college graduates than it is for high school graduates. Going to college is a must for a lot of career paths and it tends to provide more flexibility.  However, as I mentioned earlier, it is important to understand the opportunity costs. Make the decision from a position of knowledge and confidence.

Ask yourself; “Is accepting that cost necessary to get me to the place I want to be?” or more simply put, “is it worth it?”

As a side note, $71,440 is the average cost of a four year in state college based on data from College Board located here http://trends.collegeboard.org/college-pricing/figures-tables/average-published-undergraduate-charges-sector-2012-13. Check it out.

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