Due Diligence In a Participation Medal Era

Why intention and effort falls short in comparison to product and actually doing it.

Jim Mahan

Back in the good ol’ college days, I remember hearing a fellow student say something that was a shock to the system… “I deserve a job when I graduate college”. Now of course, everyone wants a job and has every intention of getting one when they leave university. However, this is not the reality of the market or the world. These are some of my reflections after spending the same amount of time out of college as I did in.

What do we deserve?

Well, we really only deserve a chance or an opportunity. But wait, America is the land of opportunity gosh dang it. That’s just it; we have “perversed” the meaning of opportunity and exchanged its definition with whatever suits us best at the moment.

Thanks Google for the sweet and simple definition.

So it is a set of circumstances that makes it possible to do something. Just to be clear, it is not actually making it happen. It merely makes it possible to do so. Is it our consumerist nature that makes us feel entitled to the result of a well-pursued opportunity? I don’t know… but that is not the point of this article.

The Market

Markets are simultaneously the best and the worst thing in the world. When you are good at what you do, in a time where it’s a necessity to the “market” then you’re obviously going to consider the markets to be good. However, more often than not, in this era, we want the market to reward our skill but completely forget the timing aspect of it all. Timing is everything in this instance. You can be great at something, but if you’re great in a time when markets, employers, or clients are not looking for greatness in that specific area… then its ceases to be an opportunity. I will note, however, that people shouldn’t necessarily cater to what the market wants just to make a quick buck. This is essentially known as bottom feeding (when you do what everyone else is doing because it is popular and will make you a quick buck) and from my experience, you will always wind up scrambling to stay afloat. More importantly… if you are bottom feeding, then I would question if you are pursuing opportunity in things that you really love!

Talk about an opportunity…

The World

In the long game, the world only cares about what kind of service and benefit you can bring to the table. Essentially, can you bring value to others? That is the question that determines if an opportunity will have results, or if that opportunity will not pan out. That service can be an idea that makes you millions of dollars, but it can also be an organization that meets a humble need in a community. It does not matter if you are creating a money making machine or if you are doing philanthropic work to meet a neighbors need, the principal remains the same… bring value to those around you. I find it funny that the more a person becomes others-centric, the more “success” they tend to find. I have long said (and at times not wanted to believe) that people are paramount… so long as you are providing value to others, from a non-selfish heart, you will find joy and success in doing so.

Tincaps Baseball

To wrap this all up…

If you are just graduating high school or college, pursue what you think you should do. Try different careers. Dabble in learning new and unique skills. But, by no means should you expect an opportunity to result in success. Success isn’t always getting what we think we deserve after working hard. Success is learning and growing through the struggles of our journey. Heck, I went to Purdue for engineering and wound up loving making YouTube shows where I get to talk to people! Talk about a journey! In that journey, I have learned one simple truth: Striving for success alone is futile. Striving to accept and know that you pursued an opportunity with everything you had with a smile? Now that is success.

-Jimbo Mahan

Jim Mahan

Written by

Jim Mahan

I tell stories.. the stories of those who are creating culture for the betterment of culture at large.

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