“Flipping the burden of proof to open up a world of possibility” Yes! I flew through this book mostly because it was fun and exciting to read. It’s a collection of essays by people that went ahead with some crazy plan or idea not because they thought out the benefits of doing it and found it would probably be profitable in some way, but because they asked themselves “Why not?” and couldn’t find a good reason not to. When you ask yourself why you shouldn’t do something and there isn’t a good reason, even if you can’t see what it will do for you, you never know where it will lead and what you will learn or gain from it. What an exciting concept!
“Why haven’t you dropped out of school”
Page 19 “Colleges and universities…organize people into peer-groups, encourage comparison between students and between achievements.” You aren’t really learning anything except how to compete and please the authority. There is no mind-opening in today’s university, it’s just an extension of compulsory education.
Reading this essay, I remembered that this is exactly why I left college after only 1 ½ years. I was mocked for doing it, made to feel as if I failed somehow, but it was the best decision I could have made for where I was at the time and where I felt I was headed. Only recently have I discovered that I didn’t fail by dropping out. I took control of my own life and direction. Where would I be now if I hadn’t?
Page 23 – “Universities and colleges weren’t causes of aristocracy and wealth; rather, they were products of aristocracy and wealth.” Yep. Just because people who have been wealthy in the past have gone to college, doesn’t mean everyone that goes becomes wealthy.”
“This isn’t a conspiracy. It’s simply saying that the universities were never intended or designed for the use to which Americans of the mid-20th century put them.”
Page 25 – “It overlooks everybody else who didn’t go to college and are moderately successful (and also forces somebody else’s definition of success on you, but that’s another topic entirely.)”
Page 30 – “The best way to actually acquire a vertically diverse network is to go out and work somewhere.” And that’s exactly what I did.
Page 36 – “From executive vice presidents to summer interns, organizations often have a difficult time finding people who will do what they say they will do, show up when they say they will show up, and do their work well.” This is something we’ve found to be very true and not just recently. All the jobs I’ve done well at got me other jobs and the deciding factor was that I was reliable. Hopefully we are passing that on to the boys.
“Why haven’t you moved to a new city?”
Page 46 – “…by saying things like “I am depressed.” It sounds like ou and “depressed” are interchangeable and that is interred in your psyche each time you think and say it. You are accidentally brainwashing yourself while trying to express and identify your emotional state.” You aren’t depressed, you are FEELING sad, lonely, or unsatisfied. Precision of language for the win!
Page 49 – “You will miss people and places, but that doesn’t mean you made the wrong decision.” That’s how I feel at Disneyland sometimes.
“Why haven’t you written a book?”
Page 54 – “many small ways which we can be rebels in our own lives”
Page 55 – A book doesn’t need to instruct or have all the answers, it can inspire others to find their genius!
Page 57 – “fearing the reader” You are different people to different readers, your mom, your boss, you children, etc. Writing something down, you can’t change your tone or words to reflect that relationship for all people.
Page 59 – “And that’s all a book can really do, capture a moment of the life of our own minds.” We need to remember that when reading as well.
“Why haven’t you quit your job?”
Page 63 – “Giving in to comfort is to accept stagnation, decay, and eventually death.” Umm…you’re going to have to accept it eventually. I’m not sure I totally agree with this chapter.
Page 65 – “People didn’t regret going on adventures, trying new things, or taking risks. They regretted living their lives in a safe way that wasn’t true to their own desires.” That’s something I can get behind. There’s something to be said about taking risks for sure, but they don’t need to be uncalculated ones.
Page 67 – “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.” Yes…but…Everything I read in this chapter was followed by “true…but…” in my mind.
“Why haven’t you started a business?”
He talks about starting a business “on the side”. “Ultimately those costs purchased me the lesson that it is really, really hard to be successful at something when you cannot give 100% to it.” That goes for everything, not just businesses.
“Why haven’t you traveled the world?”
Page 93 – “To assume safety in the status quo is to misunderstand (and reject) the nature of existence.” Everything changes. The status quo will change. Be ready to change with it.
“Why haven’t you auditioned for American Idol?”
Page 102 – “I’ve always wanted to inspire people, but until that moment I had always assumed that I would need to be successful or famous before I could light a fire inside someone else’s heart.” The sheer existence of our struggle, our journey, is something that can inspire others to keep going. And even if we never succeed at anything, we encourage others that we are not alone in this struggle for greatness.
Page 103 – “Before the audition I believed that the primary purpose for following one’s dreams was to actually achieve them.” This reminds me of my sons and their dreams of Supercross Stardom! Sure the odds are against them, but doesn’t that make it a better journey? Go for it guys! You never know where you’ll end up!
Page 104 – “W. E. B. Du Bois wrote, The most important thing to remember is this: to be ready at any moment to five up what you are for what you might become.”
“Why haven’t you had a bunch of kids?”
Page 114 – “If you want to understand how humans work, just make a few, sit back, and watch them do their thing.” That’s the truth! I really believe that watching my sons grow has taught me more about life and the universe than an masters degree could!
Page 119 – “one of the things we’ve learned is that money problems are most often not due to inadequate income but to profligate spending.” Too bad our government can’t understand that.
“Why haven’t you flown first class?”
Page 133 – “To upgrade your income, increase the value you are adding to those around you.” “Instead of using mental energy to cut expenses, use that same amount of energy to think of ways to add more value to the world.” At first glance this seems to contradict the chapter above. And it could since the authors are different people and have different views of the world. But it doesn’t. There is a difference between adding to your income and increasing value.
Page 137 – “Jim Rohn once said that the most important part about setting goals is how they entice you to become the person it takes to achieve them.” Yes!
“Why haven’t you climbed a mountain?”
Page 142 – He’s talking about someone who wanted to leave school but didn’t know they could ask their parents about it. That’s something of a goal of mine, to tell as many people as I can that there are options in this world.
Page 143 – “All you need is a desire to do it, a little climbing know-how, and a capable partner with experience (or a guide) to handle the logistics. It may look impossible, but you absolutely can do it!” Just like homeschooling!
Page 145 – “Mental training. Free your mind. Focus. Visualize the climb.” Life.
“Why haven’t you started yet?”
Page 156 – “You have to muster the grit and determination to move toward it, even when the individual steps themselves are grueling.”
Page 157 – “It is true that when you’re in the zone pursuing your passion, it doesn’t feel like work. But discovering that zone and making yourself enter it is more work than anything.” The fear of making that leap and finding out that it isn’t my “zone” is what stops me from trying. I feel like I don’t value the journey.