At this time of the year many people begin thinking about what goals they may want to set for the coming year. I've always appreciated the importance of having goals, but have always struggled with the achieving of them. Here are a few things I have learned about goals over the years, as I have begun to use them as an important tool in feeling like I'm moving forward in my life...
As a former high school drop out, it is not my place to say that getting a degree is a bad idea.
However, it is clear that education is changing fast and that the cost:value ratio of traditional post-secondary institutions is becoming more of a burden than an asset for many students.
Technology, industry and economic shifts are developing so fast that a 4-year program is sometimes obsolete by the time you graduate.
The skills that seem to be valued in the current job market are adaptability, life-long learning, working with others, project management, entrepreneurial skills, value creation (rather than getting paid to 'show up'), problem solving, social influence and so on. It is a dynamic work-scape out there, with few guarantees or long term commitments on both sides of the employer/employee divide.
I'm definitely not an expert on any of these issues. And there is no question that some types of post-secondary training can lead to higher paying work. Having a basic high-school education these days doesn't open a lot of career doors. I just thought it would be practical to think about whether starting a painting business is a viable option for a young person, as opposed to pursuing 'higher education'.
The cover story on the August 2016 issue of Consumer Reports stated that 42 million people owe $1,300,000,000,000 in student debt. While many countries around the world offer free education, in North America adult students are drowning in deep pools of debt. Is it a wise investment?
Jackie Crowen, aged 32, from Portland Oregon, with $152,000 in student debt is quoted as saying "I kind of ruined my life by going to college." Let's play with some numbers...
If she attended school for 10 years, that is an average of $15,000/year in debt. If she had worked instead of attending school during those years, lets assume she could have earned an extra $15,000/year in earnings. That is $300,000 over 10 years that she is behind someone who didn't attend school and started painting full time, earning $30,000/year. How many years will it take her to catch up? If she gets a job paying 50% more because of her education, it would take 20 years! But that is assuming she doesn't end up working at Starbucks, as many highly educated people do. You sometimes end up over-qualified for entry-level professional jobs while lacking experience required for middle-tier professional positions. And that is assuming her skills and education are even still relevant after all that.
Now there are other factors to consider...
Chase Jarvis, founder of Creative Live, has recently posted a series of 30 long format interviews with some of the world's leading creatives, entrepreneurs and influencers. 30 interesting interviews to get you thinking about creative new ways to clarify your vision, reach your goals and make a difference. It makes for engaging listening at work, or while stuck in a long commute. You might hear something that gives you a 'light bulb' moment, inspires you, or leads to a break through in your business...
Just wanted to share a few positive and inspiring talks I've enjoyed recently that might open some new lines of thinking about business and life...
Seth Godin recently had a short but deep blog post that I wanted to share:
'Small dreams work this way: figure out what's available, then choose your favorite.
Important dreams are based on what needs to be done, and then... find your how.'
The concept is similar to what other authors present as 'lateral thinking' or 'beginning with the end in mind'...
So a few years ago I took my daughter to see a particular show that was on tour. One of the take-aways for her was the chorus to one of the songs. She would sing that line for months afterward. I think she may have actually learned something pretty important that day.
Around that time I learned the same lesson, but I came to it from a different route.
The summer lake house had about 4 feet of water in it...