Over the past month, I've had the chance to chat with a lot of current and a few graduating college students asking what I would do if I were in there shoes today and wanted to become an entrepreneur or innovator. Here's are the 5 things I've shared:
- Stop hanging out exclusively with people from your major or school of study or group of friends that think like you. They'll help you with classwork and it is convenient, but they are going to approach most problems the same way as you because that is how you were taught. If you're a business student, go make friends in the engineering or architecture school. They will broaden your horizons on how things work and how they solve problems. They're also much more likely to compliment your strengths with their own and could become your future cofounder.
- Taking a job at a big company right after you graduate is not a bad thing. Especially if you see it for what it is: the chance to learn and go deep on a subject and get paid to do so. If you choose to do this, live on half of what they pay you and save the other half. Nothing is more addictive and ruins people's future dreams fast than cocaine than the addiction to a monthly paycheck. If you let your lifestyle get as big as your bi-monthly check, you'll never be able to leave and take risks.
- Be patient with yourself but impatient with the world. You can only do so much, you only have so many hours in a day. And, especially if you are making a run at adulthood without any support from your parents, it is going to take you longer. But, expect the world to move faster than it does. Expect more from every interaction, every moment, every institution, and every year. Position yourself to be in moments that matter and train yourself how to know what to do when you find yourself there.
- Run your own race and never apologize. There will be people who you will leave behind and you should. There will be people who you will run with for a time and then your paths will diverge, hold on loosely. There will be competitors and distractions that get in your way and try and push you off course, don't let them, remember the race you are running.
- Learn to ask for help and learn how to accept it. This is still the hardest one for me, I am still learning this. But if someone asks if they can help you, always have an answer on how they can and don't be afraid to ask them to.