** DISCLAIMER: This post is not about one specific person. ** Why are we offering that statement? Because we suspect that multiples of you who will read what we are about to say will assume that we’ve written this about you. We have not. This is simply a pattern we’ve observed over the years. Everyone…
On the theme of GO DO SOMETHING!! today we’ll crib this incredible list of how-tos inspired by Elon Musk.
Most people will find most of these suggestions totally intimidating. And that’s kind of the point, right?
If you want to have an incredible, unusual, not-normal life, you have to do incredible, unusual, not-normal things.
Our suggestion? PICK ONE and commit to it.
Here is the 30 point checklist for accelerated learning .
- Be yourself to the point where you get picked on and bullied.
- If you’re interested in something, binge on it, become obsessed, addicted, and then pull yourself out and get clean.
- Drop out of college or drop back in if it makes sense.
- Move from your hometown and travel the world. [ES: Or go to bschool in a new country for 2 years!]
- Ask your family for help (it’s the only way you’ll discover how much they care).
- Humble yourself and stay at a youth hostel or camp if you have to.
- Practice living on $2 a day to remove your fear of poverty.
- Cold call or cold contact anyone you need to.
- Become personable and develop the ability to build trust and rapport with those you connect with in person. The real world matters.
- Try many different jobs. If you have to, go to the unemployment office and get started doing anything.
- Get out of your comfort zone, and go see the companies or people you admire in person. You might be too nervous to talk to anyone at first, but that will pass.
- Take jobs that are dangerous if you have to. If you view risk as something everyone else should take, but not you, then you’re a coward.
- Go on a road trip or travel cross country.
- Work and collaborate in business with your family. If you can’t collaborate with them or they only want to drag you down, move to collaborating in business with your friends. If you can’t collaborate with your friends towards a shared goal, find better friends.
- When you’re ready, ask friends, mentors, and investors to invest in you. If you’re serious, tell them how serious you are, and then prove it to them.
- Publicly state that certain projects, initiatives, or companies you’re an employee at will not fail. Cut off retreat or put yourself in a position where you will never accept failure.
- Stop caring about branding and formalities. Care about being truthful and sincere with your words, vision, and ability to make friends that share your mission.
- Invest all of your money into your projects when you believe in them. If you believe in them enough, have your friends and family invest, too.
- Argue with your friends and makeup afterward. If you have to, push to have a friend ousted from their job if it’s in everyone’s best interest. The best friendships endure chaos and emerge stronger.
- Avoid it at all costs, but once you’re generating enough income, borrow money if you have to.
- Generate confidence in your imagination, ability to figure things out, and your ability to create money. Generate so much confidence that if you (like Musk) buy a one million dollar car, don’t insure it and wreck it… dust yourself off and hitch hike your way to meet the venture capitalists you were en route to meet.
- Put off your honeymoon if something more important comes up. If your spouse can delay gratification, and you can articulate an argument, they’ll understand. [ES: We’ve heard of more than one BSer who did this for GMAT prep or essays!!!]
- Travel the world, and if you come to the brink of death or face dangers, then fight like hell to live.
- Appear on TV, media, or the news before you’re ready. Watch all the people you thought were friends laugh, disappear, or grow uncomfortable about your ambitions. It’s the only way you can separate the fake from the real.
- Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself publicly. Watch how a single “embarrassing” video, startup, or project is enough to make most people shut-ins or quiet for the rest of their lives.
- Grow and learn so quickly that every six months you look back and are mortified by what you were doing six months ago.
- Learn how to make arguments and use a first principles approach to challenges. Once you establish that something is possible, then you can get to work increasing the probability that it will occur.
- Let yourself pursue hundreds of side projects until you learn this is a hamster wheel to nowhere. Once you learn this lesson, you’ll be able to seize the right, handful of opportunities when they arrive. When they arrive, commit and invest yourself fully into one thing until it’s successful.
- Form lifelong friendships based on shared philosophies, actions, loyalty, trust, and respect. Put those friendships to the test in your ventures. The real ones will emerge stronger than ever.
- Get married and have kids (You can either be Cooper or Doctor Maan from Interstellar). Musk has five kids. Bezos has four. Think it’s an accident? If the first marriage doesn’t work out, try, try again. [ES: Not quite so sure about this one, but whatev.]
All of these things on this checklist are accessible to you right now.
This was cribbed from The Mission, a pretty amazing resource if you’re into changing
the world yourself.
Following on with the theme of the week about change and making the most of this roll you’re on right now, we offer this.
From the NY Times, Will you sprint, stroll or stumble into your career? (warning: source article is really long) we’ll present this somewhat condensed snippet, where the authors talk about some different patterns observed in college students and how their career track after graduation:
Graduates who linger through their early career often didn’t take college seriously. They put the social scene before academics, avoiding rigorous majors and courses… What happens after they graduate? … Poor academic performers were more likely than other recent graduates to be unemployed, stuck in unskilled jobs, or to have been fired or laid off. Where students went to college didn’t matter two years out, the sociologists found, as much as what they did while on campus. “The most important choice students can make is whether they are on the party-social pathway through college,” Dr. Arum said, “or are investing sufficient attention and focus on academic pursuits.”
Well that’s pretty black and white, isn’t it?
The American culture certainly fetishizes the go-getter. The MBA application process also, whether intentionally or not, seems to place a premium on finding out what big mountains you claim you want to conquer and where you will go in your life.
But what if you’re just not wired that way? What if you’re the more laid-back type? But hey, you still want an MBA, and you want to mix things up and see where you can go from here?
Nothing wrong with that. This world needs way more followers than it does leaders — and it takes a lot of maturity to be a good follower.
Or maybe you were on the party path in college, but somewhere along the way since then, you decided, “Hey! I’m gonna be somebody!” And you’ve since been making efforts to build your career and achieve.
EssaySnark is a firm believer that as long as we are breathing air on this planet, then we need to be finding ways to give back and contribute. The contribution one soul makes does not need to be on a grand scale. It does not need to be something that any other human even notices. If YOU know you’ve contributed, that’s enough.
We just urge you to find a way to do so.
It need not be through massive bow-to-the-emporer capital letters Career Success!!! It can be on a very small scale. But you should actively pursue it — if nothing else, actively pursue the pursuit of it. Don’t be passive in life. Don’t drift. That’ll only set you up for lackluster mindstates or worse, abject depression later on.
And if you have been one of those conquer ’em all types, then don’t be too smug about it. Even if you have been driven for success all along, whether by parents or by self, and you’ve been moving steadily forward up the ladder since the day you were out of diapers, there are still ways that things can go sideways.
This must-read article from The Kellogg School talks about the ways we self-sabotage and how a career can get derailed — not by external forces like layoffs, or the very-real issues of bias and discrimination that can restrict opportunities, but by the person him or herself.
From the article:
[I]t pays to understand whether aspects of your own attitude and approach to work may also be holding you back.
It may either be illuminating or totally depressing to read that article.
On the one hand: “Wow! I might be holding myself back?! What can I do to not do that?”
On the other hand: “Damn. I know that I do this. Can I ever change?!?”
We believe that you can!
As they say, knowledge is power.
You’re young enough — all of you — to not have ever made any mistakes that you cannot recover from (we don’t actually believe anyone has ever made unrecoverable mistakes in the history of Mankind, however the older people get, the more it may seem to appear that such mistakes are possible). Making the most of your lithe limberness and taking advantage of today’s opportunities is what we’re about on the blahg this week.
Here’s another quick one: How to Jump-Start Your Career
We may have a few more Food for Thought posts in the coming days.
How about you; any insightful or transformational or otherwise thought-provoking articles cross your path lately? Leave the links in the comments, we’d love to see them!
One of the best gifts you can give to yourself and a great use of that momentum you built up from preparing your apps for Round 1 is to get organized.
If any part of your life got neglected while you put all of your attention on your applications, then now is a great time to fix things!
Did you let the paperwork pile up?
Did you cancel any important appointments, like with the mechanic for your car’s regular maintenance, or with your doctor to get a check-up?
Have you gotten your flu shot?
Are there whole colonies of dust bunnies living under the bed?
Did you leave your dry cleaning at the cleaners for more than a month?
What about that unfamiliar charge that hit your credit card that you kept meaning to contact the bank about?
When was the last time you went to the gym?
Now is a time to break out that to-do list for life and get cracking!
In Snarkville, now that we’ve dug out from under the piles of essays we’ve been buried under, and happily supported many BSers on their way to getting those applications submitted, it’s time for us too to look around and see what else has been neglected.
There have been a number of posts that we started where we said, “Stay tuned for more later!!” including the start of a career goals essay review for LBS (OMG we posted that in –>June<-- and never went back to it!!), and a post where we asked all of you to weigh in on how a sentence should be written.
We’ve also gotten a number of essays submitted for consideration in our freebie review service here on the blahg. Much as we always would want to respond to those in real time when they come in, alas, the most typical tendency for many BSers is to only send them over at the very last minute, when there’s just no time to review on a freebie basis before deadline. However, we still like to respond to them – and we certainly encourage anyone reading this who’s got a deadline further out on the horizon to try it out. Send it in and see what happens!!
We’ll start with our own Catch Up with the To-Do Tasks project right now by talking about that sentence we asked you folks to comment on. Here’s the subject sentence:
It is the failing of liberal technocrats to think reason governs how people act.
We asked you to try your hand at rewriting it, and these are the suggestions you submitted:
- Thinking that reason governs how people act is the failing of liberal technocrats.
- Liberal technocrats have failed by thinking that reason governs how people act.
- Liberal technocrats are wrong to think that reason governs how people act.
- To think that ‘reason governs how people act’ exemplifies the failure of the liberal technocrats.
When we struggled with this ourselves (without looking at the attempts that you guys’d already made), these are the options that we came up with:
Liberal technocrats’ failing is due to their thinking that reason is what governs people’s actions.
Liberal technocrats have failed because they think people’s actions are governed by reason.
Both of those kinda suck. Maybe the second one ain’t so bad but it still seems cumbersome, and perhaps not totally accurate to what the original writer meant.
This was so difficult that we wanted to review the original sentence in context. The original article appeared on the Financial Times right after the U.S. election last fall, and since registration is required to view that article, we’ll extract a chunk of it here:
Mr Obama took office at a geopolitical inflection point. As he prepares to leave, few any longer dispute the fact of relative US decline. For all his high aspirations, Mr Obama was unable to stop the process. Can Mr Trump reverse it? One of Mr Obama’s core traits is to believe that reason governs how people act. It is the perennial failing of liberal technocrats to suppose human affairs are settled by rational argument. When people failed to see the merits of the case — whether Republican legislators, or foreign leaders — Mr Obama would retreat into injured silence. The world has been a disappointment to Mr Obama. When Vladimir Putin’s Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, John Kerry, the outgoing secretary of state, said: “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in a 19th-century fashion by invading another country on [a] completely trumped up pretext.” But that is how the world often operates. The US had done just that to Iraq in the 21st century. (emphasis added)
Hunh. Look at that. Those two sentences actually aren’t that bad.
It was some EDITOR who crammed those sentences together to make a hook for the article that caused the problems.
Seeing that, we went back and tried again:
It is the failing of liberal technocrats to think THAT reason IS WHAT governs how people act.
Even if you just introduced the word “that” into the clause, it would have improved readability.
So let’s examine what BSers submitted.
#1 From buffalo:
Thinking that reason governs how people act is the failing of liberal technocrats.
This sentence is in passive voice, which isn’t ideal; passive voice weakens the phrasing since it places the actor (in this case, the liberal technocrats) far away from the action (in this case, failing).
It properly captures what the original writer meant, but it’s a little cumbersome due to that passive voice thing.
#2 From OmManiPadmeHBS:
Liberal technocrats have failed by thinking that reason governs how people act.
This one is better because the failure is clearly tied to those who have done it, based on the phrasing (active voice). However, we will quibble with the choice of the preposition “by.” This is purely subjective, but to the ‘Snark, the phrase “failed by thinking” is just not quite as precise as we would like. It’s good, don’t get us wrong, but we want to have more of a cause -> effect relationship established, through a word like “because” or “due to” or something that shows what’s responsible for the failure. Everybody thinks. So, saying that the technocrats failed by thinking is just not as clear as we want. It was the WAY they were thinking was the problem, right? Not just the act of thinking itself. However, as a rewrite to fix the issues of readability, this sentence is pretty good.
#3 From arkanian86:
Liberal technocrats are wrong to think that reason governs how people act.
This BSer was honing in on that same thing we identified, that it’s the way they were thinking that’s the problem (“wrong to think” more clearly expresses this). However, saying they are wrong is not the same as saying they failed, is it? Hmmm.
#4 From Jack Ma:
To think that ‘reason governs how people act’ exemplifies the failure of the liberal technocrats.
This one best preserves the ideas of “failure” and the fact that it’s the thinking that is wrong – but the phrasing of ‘exemplifies’?? Not sure. Yes, we can say it is what the original writer must have meant, but somehow it’s pulling it a little off the center of focus. At least, for us.
For readability and clarity, we have to agree with what the poll results said:
@arkanian86, your version was the runaway winner!
Thank you to all who posted their suggested sentences, and to all who voted on them too!
The takeaway message from this exercise is this:
When you come across a sentence that does not make sense to you, stop and figure out what the writer is saying, and see how you would rewrite it.
Yes, that’s awfully interruptive to the flow of your reading. If you’re just trying to breeze through an article about the how last weekend’s games might impact your fantasy football , then it’s not likely that you’ll want to stop and rewrite a sentence. But if you want to get better at this writing stuff — which you should, since communication is critical to leadership — then you’ll make it a habit to do so.
And if you want to make the most of this downtime between deadlines, then dust off those to-dos and see what progress you can make in the next week, in tightening up your life and getting everything ship shape again.
We will be doing the same around here!
aka, How to spend your time and focus your efforts in this between-round period! aka, How to create a life worth living!!! We covered the important next steps for moving from Round 1 to Round 2 yesterday. Today we’re offering some additional ideas on how to leverage your newfound-motivation to make it a permanent part…
Isn’t this supposed to be about MBA admissions? Shouldn’t discussions of getting into bschool be more about strategy?
Why does EssaySnark focus so much on the mechanics of grammar and English?
Why would we bother with a post like yesterday’s where asking you to critique a sentence — a sentence that has nothing to do with career goals or profile or background info, that’s never going to appear on an MBA essay?
The reason is that LANGUAGE MATTERS.
Here’s what Confucius said:
If language is not correct, then what is said is not what is meant; if what is said is not what is meant, then what must be done remains undone; if this remains undone, morals and art will deteriorate; if justice goes astray, the people will stand about in helpless confusion. Hence there must be no arbitrariness in what is said. This matters above everything.
(If you’re curious where we came up with that, it’s fromon this geeky-writery post from The New York Review of Books .)
We care about writing so much that we were going to make a weekly feature called Writing Wednesday but we didn’t want to make Snarkville into a ghost town in the middle of every week. 😉
But this isn’t just about writing essays for admission to bschool. Language is the only means we have to truly connect with other people. Lookee here, EssaySnark is connecting with you and we’re not even in the same room! Words are magic. Language is also the only way we can approximate reality. There is no such thing as reality “out there”, you know; all we have is what we experience, and if there’s going to be any chance that that experience can be validated, confirmed, or very important, improved upon then it’s going to come through language as an initial tool for analysis and discovery.
Language matters, in essays, and in life. If you’re not able to use language effectively, you’re cheating yourself, and everyone around you, of your brightest potential. The light coming from within you is tarnished, and may go overlooked when it’s most needed.
From a purely practical standpoint, clarity of language reflects clarity of thought.
This is why structuring your essays logically, with a proper flow and order, is so important. It’s doing a service to your reader, by making it easier to follow along with where you’re taking them. A logical argument is convincing. A muddled one will cause your audience to turn away.
In addition, putting ideas into words clarifies them FOR YOU. The act of writing the essay helps you to know what you’re saying.
If you’re writing an essay about what you want to do with your life or what’s meaningful for you, like in the Big Important Life-Changing sense of future career goals, or what matters most, then the act of writing, when you’re fully engaged in it and paying close attention to the way you’re constructing your thoughts, and validating that the concepts you capture on the page are actually what you MEAN, will reveal new truths to YOURSELF.
Writing is a way of communicating to the one who matters most: That being who lives inside you.
The one who’s asleep at the wheel, more often than not.
Clear writing is a voice from your soul.
(OK, OK, OK, EssaySnark is not being paid to be PhilosophySnark, we’ll quit while we’re ahead.)
Bringing it back around, in case we still have any readers left after all of that:
Writing clearly is an act of kindness to your readers.
Clear writing is critical if you want to make a positive impression on a stranger. As in, like, someone reading an MBA admissions essay.
Those in power who intentionally obfuscate speech and subvert words to the opposite of their meaning are dangerous, and they threaten our ability to evolve. (Read that NY Books piece if you don’t know what we’re talking about.)
The ability to communicate your thoughts, ideas, recommendations, strategies, and plans is perhaps the most important skill you’ll need as a leader.
No, it’s not easy.
Yes, this stuff matters.
Now, who wants to vote on the submissions we got from yesterday’s post about the sentence?
It is the failing of liberal technocrats to think reason governs how people act.
Well-meaning or not, a BSer we worked with this past season ended up executing on an application strategy decision that, had we known about it, we would’ve advised against. This person used our help to apply to a bunch of top-tier Round 1 schools. They did a good job on those essays. Apparently somewhere along…