I didn't start out as the college student with a nice shiny car
.... but somehow I ended college that way. I started as a scared freshman, like most, but the best decision I ever made was to not fold to the fear and follow the fray, but to break the mold and get out of my comfort zone. This can happen in many ways, for me, it was knocking doors.
Fear’s biggest enemy is the person who is willing to stare it in the face and then beat it down, many time’s a day, everyday. These people are known as winners, these winners are winning because they are willing to do what others will not. These winners were born scared, and still are, the difference is what they do with that fear. For people my age and younger in college, now is the best time to break out in the marketplace and win. Why? Because we understand the modern world better than our older peers, we have nothing to lose, no house to foreclose on, no family to go home to at night. Bill Gates was 20 when he started Microsoft. Mark Zuckerberg, age 19 when he founded Facebook, a platform that has changed the world as we know it. Or lately, Vitalik Buterin, age 18 when he founded the 86 billion dollar cryptocurrency and development application Ethereum. The list goes on. My point is that the opportunity is here, right now, in college. There are many ways to break out while in school and there is one I hold near and dear to my heart - going and knocking doors for the summer.
Unfortunately, there is big problem everyone faces, especially people who are young who don't have a full identity or self understanding quite yet - this problem is "the norm”. Most people in this world are conditioned to live a life of fear and retreat, and the scariest part is, they usually don’t know that they actively are. Think of all the negative or heart wrenching stories constantly on rotation in the news and on social media. Stories plucked from a sea filled with mostly great happenings. Stories that portray a scary, hateful, and tough world when in reality our world is beautiful and filled with incredible opportunities, people, and experiences. Think of all the well meaning loved one’s who tell you to “play it safe”, or tell you that “you are working too hard” or, “that you are doing enough”. Think of your close friends around you who influence you to procrastinate, play late night video games, watch TV marathons, run on little sleep, go on fast food runs, and get into overly excessive substance abuse or other “normal things” that, “everyone does all the time anyways”.
While these things in moderation are part of a well rounded life for many, too many are conditioned to the wrong attitudes and self talk. They have a negative outlook on the world, and are trapped in retreats and vices that are easy go-to’s in the face of obstacles or challenges. Obstacles and challenges that when pushed through can actually propel one’s life forward to a point where they have very few worries or challenges, a life of excellence and freedom where one can dip their feet into mediocrity, not live it. Unfortunately, many of these people who are conditioned to fear and retreat will live mediocre lives, have little self worth, or spiral into even worse conditions.
For the sake of example, here’s a make believe scenario to think about that my friend Erik enlightened me with:
Imagine that you are an average college student who gets through school but otherwise lives a pretty mediocre life with sub par efforts. However, there is a little spark of your entrepreneurial go getter spirit in you that you give a little attention and motivation to from time to time. You slowly develop a new product you really believe in but don’t know what to do with. Now imagine you wake up one morning real early and you want to go back to sleep. However beside you feel something like old parchment. You turn on the light. A list of 1,000 people with a note above the list that says “call, and they will buy” is resting on your bed sheet. You pick it up, here in your hand, a gift from a genie, is a list with a 100% guaranteed success rate and each purchase is worth $1,000 in personal income to you if you just call to sell your product - something that was a roadblock and that you were scared to do.
However, one unique thing about this list is that at the very bottom it has fine print. The fine print says that it is only valid for the next 24 hours before it vanishes along with the magical prospects. If this was the case, what would you do? Would you go back to bed because the sun isn’t even up yet? How early would you start calling people? 10:00 am? 8:00 am? 6:00 am? Right now? How late would you be calling people? 5:00 pm? Sundown? Through the night to the 24-hour mark? Would you stop to take full meals or to shower? Or even take a coffee break? I think most anyone would be insane not to wake up and start calling for 24 hours while only stopping for the essentials. I mean, this would be the closest thing to winning the lottery, right?
In this situation, most people would be fearless all day for that one day and leave aside the attitudes, procrastination, and vices they are used to. They would be enthusiastically calling every person on that list and there would be virtually nothing that could pull them away from the phone for that 24 hour period. Every new sale would raise this person's self concept and income, and the next call would go even better, they would feel like a winner and would be hungry for more.
Now obviously this example isn’t a realistic real life scenario and because success and opportunity doesn’t happen overnight like this, most people don’t know where to start on the path of success; they don’t have a vehicle. However, knocking doors for a summer, in my opinion, is pretty much the closest thing you can get. Knocking doors can be a catalyst to greatness in many areas of ones life, trust me, i’ve seen it many times with dozens of college students. Why wouldn’t you place mediocrity aside for a short three months during your summer off school and break the mold that our world tries to keep you in?
It is not uncommon to find some sales reps making $1,000+ per day consistently and the very best pulling off rare days that are 3x that income. Even an average rep who sells 3-5 accounts per day is typically making around $500 each day, an amount that is 6x what a minimum wage worker would make working the same hours. Not bad, right? But it isn't about the money.
The real take-away from knocking doors is to learn how to hustle, as anyone would if a genie made it easy, but to hustle everyday when it is much more difficult. They say you are a product of who you surround yourself with. The final benefit to knocking doors is to be surrounded by and learn from the most motivated college students you can find. The one’s who understand that success isn’t given like in the genie story. The one’s that know that every door they knock on won’t be a 100% guaranteed sale, that are alright with a summer away from the pool, that know they have to work like crazy everyday, the one’s who understand that success is earned. These are the individuals i've seen go on to be excellent in their field, even if it isn't sales . Because they learned a mentality, not just a skill. All because they were willing to take the exit ramp off of their comfort zone in college.
These types of people will rub off on you. They understand the key to success. That the work they are putting in right now, and that the “chill” days and vices they are holding off on, will pay dividends in their future. What they live by is the compound effect. Sure, their mindset and tenacity helps, but more than anything they understand the vision of what their grind is helping them build toward - the multiplication of success.
Because they are willing to be consistent through the continuum of the mundane, unsexy, and difficult daily disciplines it takes to be the best at whatever they are doing in life, their results seem to compound - exponentially. As Darren Hardy, the author of “The Compound Effect” states, “The compound effect is the principle of reaping huge rewards from a series of small, smart choices. Success is earned in the moment to moment decisions and disciplines that in themselves make no visible difference what-so-ever, but the accumulating compound effect is profound.”
I’m sorry, there is no easy way to success. But what I can tell you is there are opportunities and that these opportunities don't always come in shiny cute packages. One that has changed my life in all areas is deciding to spend a summer in college knocking doors. What will your break away be?
As a college student, you are in your prime, if you were a machine you would be a jet airplane, and that jet airplane has 4,534 yards of runway ahead of it followed by beautiful open skies.
At what point in flight does a jet airplane have to use the most fuel in the shortest amount of time?