"There is nothing in a caterpillar that tells you it’s going to be a butterfly." Buckminster Fuller
Although we never met, Buckminister Fuller is a personal hero. Inventor of the geodesic dome and recipient of 44 honorary doctoral degrees, as a freshman in college he was booted out of Harvard. Several years later, when his infant daughter died, Fuller contemplated committing suicide but decided to continue his life, but as an experiment. He called himself "Guinea Pig B."
This past week my youngest child "graduated" from middle school and my middle child from high school. My son is a senior engineering student so before long I will attend his college graduation. So I have graduations on the brain these days.
Teenagers of course, know all too well that their parents are completely ignorant and in fact it is a daily miracle that these parents are able to get up in the morning and somehow get themselves off to work where they manage to create enough wealth to support these worthy creatures "aka our teenaged kids." Said teenagers have far too much on their minds to ever actually listen to what their parents say so instead of communicating these valuable tips with my own graduates, I’m sharing the wealth with you discerning, brilliant people who read Mixonian!
1. Live your life as an experiment.
It’s not that you don’t plan. Of course you take strategic action all the time. But instead of getting derailed/disappointed when your plans don’t pan out like you thought they would, you find the workaround and the blessing/lesson. If you look back at your career, you’ll see the unexpected consequences of meeting certain people because one thing or another didn’t fly, that you were able to produce remarkable achievements.
Years ago it was because I read the weekly management newsletter that my boss got (sneaking it out of his inbox before he got to it), that I tripled my income by switching from corporate banking to writing for that same newsletter. That career change gave me a totally new paradigm of what is possible and the roots of Mixonian Institute go back to that early experience.
It’s like the people who missed their flights on September 11, 2001 and are alive because of it.
Life as an experiment is not a life of "whatever," it’s a life of trying new experiences with the objective of living a full life and leaving society better off than it was when you arrived.
Our society is wealthy enough to support your failure. If it doesn’t work out, you can start again without facing starvation. As the Bard put it, your doubts are traitors….
2. Think, dress and act like the person you want to be.
Sean Connery was the first actor to play James Bond. To prepare him for that role, the production company bought him a top-quality, custom-made suit (British of course) and instructed him to wear it every day and possibly sleep in it so that by the time filming started, he would feel totally comfortable in it.
If you can’t see your self as successful, you can’t expect anyone else to, either. Actors who get the parts are the ones who dress for the role in the audition. Help others see you in the role you want to play by dressing the part now.
3. Dare something worthy.
Your chosen major is not a 100% predictor of your income. You actually can major in psychology and become a billionaire. It’s true physicians (to use the most obvious example of what everyone’s supposed to major in) make a lot of money. It’s also true they can’t take much time off and there is a limit to what they can make as hospital employees.
I know CPA’s who make very little income. We all know plenty of college drop-outs who are gazillionaires. But creating significant wealth not going to happen on a pre-fabricated career path.
And worthy achievements can be profitable, or not. Making money, as fun as that is, does not make you happier. But money is a valuable source of energy if you’re interested.
4. Include others in your experiment! (Even if you’re an introvert.)
A greater part of the value in attending prestigious universities is the people you meet. But most remarkable people don’t attend Ivy League universities. Seek out and connect with remarkable people where you are. It’s more fun to be remarkable in good company.
5. Be remarkable now.
Don’t wait for success to happen to you. It’s not like school where you study and get the "A." Your remarkable career begins now but you’ve got to go after it!