A Piece of Advice College Students are Unlikely to Hear

Todd Brison
Nov 23, 2016 · 3 min read

Whenever I talk to college students, most of them ask this question:

“Should I be this OR that?”

They assume, because they grow up in an environment designed to send out a generic message which attempts to fit everyone into a same box (public school), that the world is a limited place.

Their vocabulary is filled with OR.

  • Should I get a degree in engineering OR marketing?
  • Should I take a 5th year to graduate OR cram in more classes in my 4th?
  • Should I go to graduate school OR take on the job market?

Choices are rarely so straightforward.

We get trapped into thinking there are only so many options in life when in reality there are millions. Hundreds of millions. Combinations of skills and talents and luck and work which are all hurling past you at any given moment.

This will never end because the world will always change — needing people with different combinations of skills and talents and luck and work.

In college, I was aware of about 6 careers:

  • Writer (novels)
  • Journalist
  • Athlete
  • Police Officer
  • Computer programmer
  • …Office person?

I didn’t know just how big the world actually is.

The world is abundant, and nobody cares what money you pay your bills with. You can make $90 selling a couch. You can make $30 picking up coins off the ground near buildings. You could make $120 selling stick-wreaths* on Etsy. You could do all of these things in a week.

*I haven’t actually seen this, but doesn’t a “stick-wreath” sound like something you’d buy on Etsy?*

The earlier you think of the world in “and”s, the further your options open. Do not have a job title in mind when they’re taking classes. Accumulate skills instead.

Any time you say “I want to be a ____” you narrow your world.

Any time you say “I can only live in ______” you narrow your world.

Any time you say “I will never _____” you narrow your world.

Any time you say “I can’t _____ “ you narrow your world.

Stop saying those things. You could be 100,000 different things. You could be a different person every day. You could change careers whenever you want so long as you’ve got the talent to do so. You could work just long enough to get $10,000 dollars and then quit your job to live in your car and tour your country (life is a lot cheaper when your only expense is “food.”)

Embrace the complexity and magic of the world.

It’s bigger than you think.


— TB

Todd Brison

Written by

Bestselling author. Seen on TIME, Inc., CBNC, and in my kitchen doing dishes. Infinite Ideas eBook: https://toddbrison.com/infiniteideas

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