An interesting post from Ryan Holiday (a best-selling author and PR wiz who dropped out of college) on 40 reasons not to move to NYC got me thinking about crutches that keep us from getting where we want to go. Among his 40 reasons:
“New York can be a crutch. Yes, your music career is stalled. Yes, your art remains unknown. Yeah, you’ve yet to be published or your startup is only hype. But you live in New York, and that makes you better than the people who don’t (or so you reassure yourself). Where you live is not an accomplishment.”
This is true of more than just living in New York. College degrees can also be a crutch. So can a lot of other external identifiers that place you in a particular category or group, whether or not you’re producing anything. “No, I’m not writing any scripts, but I live in LA, so I’m still making progress towards my goal of being in the film industry”, or, “No, I haven’t been grinding it out getting experience working with people, but I’m studying management at a good school, so I’m basically a manager”.
You are not your degree. You are what you do. Don’t let your efforts to ace a test on facts that won’t make you a better entrepreneur, just so you can get a degree that makes you sound like one, keep you from actually doing things.
Another item on Ryan’s list can also be applied to college:
“I met a young woman a few months ago. She had just graduated from some college and moved to New Orleans. I asked why. She said “I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet, but who can afford to live in New York while they figure that out?””
Like living in NYC, college is a very expensive way to find out what you want to learn and do. Don’t hide behind the social status that comes with the label. Don’t let it be a crutch that keeps you from working hard and getting sharper every day.