Hustle Hard: There is no college degree that teaches you to grind

I run two businesses - wear a suit and tie everyday and am, by society's standards, a successful businessman. My older brother works for the federal government and makes an amount of money that most people would define as "a lot". My younger brother owns and operates his own construction business and has a set of skills that set him apart from most blue-collar workers. My baby brother runs his own business which has seen an obscene amount of growth over the last year, allowing him to quit his "regular" job and run his own company full-time. 

All four of us have one thing (a lot of things actually, but this one stands out for today's purposes) in common. None of us have a college education and only one of us has a traditional high school diploma. We were in and out of religious private schools and homeschooled for most of our formal education. My mother placed a high value on a classical education. We all took Latin, read the classics and learned about the world's great philosophers. My brothers are some of the smartest, most well-read people I know. We grew up together, in a tight-knit family - the four of us are held together by a bond stronger than any I have come across - they are my best friends. There are 9 people on this planet I would gladly step in front of a bullet for - 3 of them are my brothers.

 Origins: All four us learned at an early age that nobody would hand us anything. We grew up in abject poverty - we had two things - each other and an insatiable desire to get what we wanted.

Origins: All four us learned at an early age that nobody would hand us anything. We grew up in abject poverty - we had two things - each other and an insatiable desire to get what we wanted.

Growing up in poverty and being educated the way we were, instilled in us not only a wealth of knowledge, but a desire to make our own road - to hustle and be successful doing what WE wanted to do. I'll throw a disclaimer in here now - there are a myriad of career fields that simply require a college degree - if you want to be a doctor, lawyer, engineer, etc. you can't just "hustle" your way into that. A hospital is not going to let you operate on a patient because you "watched a ton of youtube videos last night" and you are "pretty sure you have the hang of this whole brain surgery thing."

College education should be valued - but value it the same you do anything in business - what is the return on investment? If you spend $100k to get a degree - and you end up working in an industry with a bunch of people who hustled their way there, you are an idiot who wasted $100k. I can't tell you how many people I hired over the years that were drowning in debt they acquired getting degrees to come work for me. Where's the return on that investment? Examine the career you want and have an honest discussion with yourself. Is college about getting to that goal, or is it an excuse to party for 4 years before the realities of life slap the taste out of your mouth? Can you achieve this goal without this investment in higher education? If the answer is yes and it just means grinding a little harder - then get to grinding and make it happen.

Do I look back and wish I had gone to college? Sometimes. I don't believe in the word "regret" - I know that the choices I made were the right ones. I wouldn't be the person I am today if I couldn't look back on my own hustle. I started from the bottom - the REAL bottom - and I achieved every goal I set for myself in my first career. That experience molded me into who I am today. I do however, at times, think of what I may have been able to achieve with a degree - but then I realize a million different things could have happened in college and I might have ended up being a lazy piece of shit.

 Working as TV Producer was all I knew for 15 years. It made me successful and miserable at the same time.

Working as TV Producer was all I knew for 15 years. It made me successful and miserable at the same time.

There is a reason that hundreds of famous entrepreneurs either didn't go or dropped out of college. We are rebels, we are outlaws - we see the world differently and we see opportunities where others see roadblocks.

I'll give you the Reader's Digest version of my own hustle -  I watched the movie "All The President's Men" when I was 16 years old. I knew right then I wanted to be a journalist, I wanted to hold the powerful accountable. I started as a part-time production tech at my local, tiny market, CBS affiliate when I was 18 years old. By the time I was 19, I was directing every major newscast on the schedule. By the time I was 31, I had lived from coast to coast and was one of the youngest Executive Producers in a top 25 media market in the country. I was running the day-to-day news operations for one of NBC's top affiliates - because that was the goal I set for myself. I had a shelf full of awards and was viewed as a "success" - and I was miserable.

 The IV: The only Fraternity I ever wanted to be a part of. We all embraced the grind and achieved success - because we make our own road.

The IV: The only Fraternity I ever wanted to be a part of. We all embraced the grind and achieved success - because we make our own road.

The business was not what I thought it would be. The importance was placed on cheap entertainment value, not investigative journalism. After 15 years of knowing only one career, I wanted out. I felt pigeon-holed in my career until my oldest son said, "Dad, you're only 33. If you wanted to be a Doctor, you could go back to school, do it and still have more time in that career before you retired than the one you've been in." He was right, and although I never wanted to be a doctor, his words reminded me that I can do whatever I want.

I decided to harness the skills I had acquired over 15 years of writing , producing and social media work - I wanted to get involved in politics, so I did. I started my own political communications consulting firm and landed a big client. I was set. I still wanted to do more - to continue to branch out - that's where wild/STRONG was born. I wanted another business where I could leverage more of my creativity. The point of my story; you never have to stop or be content with where you are - and you never should until you are doing exactly what it is you want to do.

 Our founder, circa 1999. If you think learning should end when you complete whatever formal education you are pursuing, think again. Only the fool believes himself to be so intelligent he can afford to end his pursuit of knowledge.

Our founder, circa 1999. If you think learning should end when you complete whatever formal education you are pursuing, think again. Only the fool believes himself to be so intelligent he can afford to end his pursuit of knowledge.

The world is filled with opportunities - you just have to be man or woman enough to go fucking take it. You think because you got a college degree someone  is going to give you your dream career on a silver platter? You want it? Start acting like it. Go take it - and then hustle hard enough to keep it. Stop talking about what you want out of life, stop admiring someone else who is doing what you want to do - start respecting yourself enough to make it happen for you. Nothing makes me laugh harder than when I hear someone say, "I've always wanted to do ______, but I couldn't/haven't because of ______." Stop making fucking excuses. You want your own business? You want to squat 600 lbs? You want to sail around the world? Map out the steps to get you there and make it happen. There is no college degree hanging on a wall anywhere on this planet that says "This Person has a Phd. in Making Shit Happen" (OK, there is one, and I should probably hang it on my office wall).

I run two businesses and work about 70 hours a week, minimum, including weekends. Don't whine to me about why you aren't doing what you want. Go get a degree in making shit happen - learn to embrace the grind it takes to be what you want to be, to achieve what you want to achieve. Or don't - just don't be surprised when I won't waste my precious time talking to you about why you are unhappy and how much you wish you could be like me.