When College Students Tell Me What They Want, I Cringe

In college, I remember asking a lot of my peers what their goals are (I’m weird like that).

They would often say things like “to be happy” or “to have freedom everyday to travel” or “to make at least X thousand dollars a year" (so they could be happy, have freedom, and have respect from their parents and peers).

Well the thing is, we all have the ability to get what we want right now.

Freedom? All yours.

Happiness? All yours.

Respect from your peers? All yours.

Everything you want can be attained essentially now. People make such a big deal about wanting to be X — only when I get X can I be happy.

That couldn’t be further from the truth. You can always choose everyday what you want to do. If that’s not freedom, then what is?

You can’t seek an eternal state of happiness, but you can enjoy the journey and the belief that you’re working towards something awesome. It’s often progress that makes you happy, not the goal.

For example, I always wanted to travel around the world. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I built up my personality to be the kind of person who can do that. 

Only because I was curious of the unknown did I:

  1. Have the balls to defy my parents and go across the country to Los Angeles for college.
  2. Have the balls to defy my parents again and study abroad in Australia.
  3. Build the 1-year blog that got me a job at a digital media startup in Chicago.
  4. Work for a New York Times bestselling author/speaker in Houston.

Every step I took was an unplanned progression towards a goal I thought I wanted to be in. The truth is, I was already doing it. And I was getting good at it.

The important thing to glean from this blog is that things are a LOT closer than you think.

So when college students tell me that they're paying $40,000+ to do something they hate in the name of freedom, happiness, and respect, I absolutely lose it.

It's so much closer than they think.

They're just taking the round-about way to get to it.

Freedom, happiness, respect — they don’t take years to get — but they do require a focus on being in the present.