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Discussion Starter #1
I'm posting this here for many reasons. First off I feel like I have a great group of friends here, I respect all of your criticism, opinions and suggestions. Secondly, being the type of vehicle Lotus is, there is a plethora of successful individuals on this forum, and from you specifically I need some guidance.

I'm 21, and for the last 7 years of my life I've been a website/graphic designer. I absolutely love my work, however it has slowed much in the last few years. Currently I still work freelance, and as Head of Communications for a non-profit organization. I am also Director of Activities for a sports complex the same organization owns. I really enjoy every day I have. The work is simple, pay is fantastic for the responsibilities I have, and I get to skateboard every day (my passion aside from driving), but I feel like I have capped off. All through High School I was on a constant flow to success, as opposed to partying and doing the normal teenage routine I preferred to spend my time brainstorming about new ways to revolutionize the internet, and working towards those aspirations. Now I've settled into the day to day customs, and I don't see much of an advancement from my situation in the future. I drive around all day and all I see is success. Huge skyscrapers, franchises, and a world full of potential. I've always wanted to be responsible for the success of an organization, such as a macro-manager or CEO, but I'm not sure where to start. I know would need an MBA to get accepted in most of those positions, but there is no way I could afford to commit the time I need to unless it was an online course, and from a professional standpoint, the applicant that has a degree from a physical university will most definitely overcome the applicant who's entire degree was earned online.

If it's not too offensive to ask, I'd like to hear some of your stories. What were your plans at my age, how did those plans come to fruition or change? What advice could you give someone in my situation?

Perhaps I am being ungrateful for what I have. As I mentioned, I really enjoy every day I have, I just feel like I could be doing so much more. Even if you have nothing to add, I appreciate you taking the time to listen.
 

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First of all, you're very young. You have tons of time on your hands. At 21 I was a year away from my first degree and 12 years away from a real paycheque (MD).

Your drive is admirable and I guess unusual at your age. Again, you have time on your side. You can afford to get involved in a nearly infinite number of things, have some of them fail, and see what you enjoy.

Re: the MBA, my opinion is that an MBA is like an answer. A business should probably ask a question first, and that MBA should be the answer. In other words, as per what most of my successful MBA's friends tell me, they were sent off by their companies to get an MBA after several years of experience, when a specific skillset was to be honed or augmented.

Most success stories are predicated on a few basic cornerstones: 1) Be driven at all times 2) Work work work but don't forget to play play play 3) Be honest and never cheat or **** people over 4) Give back to those who helped you, or to your community at all times 5) Think BIG.

I find this has worked for me so far. I'm not going to light the world on fire, but I've got my own thing going on, and it's going pretty well so far. Good luck!!!!
 

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Very impressive. You already seem to have the qualities that successful people need to possess......motivation, drive, desire, and a reasonable amount of intelligence. While I can't comment specifically on your situation, I will say that there's a fine balance between being appreciative for the things you've achieved and have, and being hungry for more. Don't feel like you're being ungrateful. It's basic human nature to want to achieve more, more, more, but the key is to not let it go to your head once you do achieve that goal.

Perhaps some LT members that might relate more to the IT and corporate world can chime in with more specific advise. I will say that lately I've really started to buy into the saying, "Successful people are successful because of the way they handle the bumps in the road, not because of how they handle the smooth stretches". That's paraphrased of course, but you get the idea.

Don't get bummed. Be thankful for what you have, and accept the fact that it's perfectly normal and okay to strive for more. Some tell me that I've got the world by the balls at 38 y/o, but it sounds like you've got a really bright future at 21 y/o. Good luck and whatever you do...........DON'T GIVE UP.
 

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I'd be happy to chat. I have an MBA from Harvard and thought much like you did at 21 (although I was never a good skateboarder!).

I agree with what's been posted above. You definitely need to get the MBA for the right reasons. If you'd like to chat more, send me a PM.

You're asking the right questions, which coupled with (very) hard work and relentless perseverance, will get you success -- in this country.
 

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You're asking the right questions, which coupled with (very) hard work and relentless perseverance, will get you success -- in this country.
Not as much anymore than when we were younger and certainly to an even lesser extent if he gets reelected, but yes there still is opportunity in entrepreneurship in the U.S.
 

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When I was your age I thought that everything was about getting the proper degree.

Now that I am older I realize that it is much more about who you are and the amount of drive you have. You already seem to have that part nailed.

I my case I graduated with an engineering degree but have always worked in computer programming at smallish companies. The funny thing was that I only have taken 2 computer courses in my life. The rest of my knowledge was obtained by being a computer hobbiest.
 

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Let me pitch slightly different perspective, what does not work.
At your age I had been married a year, had one child and soon another on the way. I worked within my comfort zone. Each time I changed jobs (which was very rare), I stayed within my comfort zone; jobs were selected which I already had the full knowledge set to succeed. As a consequence there was little challenge and little wage growth. Overall, it was a recipe to survive, but not thrive.
I went through a divorce, went through a tour in Iraq, and other various trauma; I got an entirely different view on life.
Afterward, I looked for work which was at the ragged edge of my comfort zone. Jobs which have significant risk and challenge. I no longer expect myself to stay at the same job for a decade. The focus is now on seeking bigger challenges which force growth and hardship; it has been most rewarding (both emotionally and financially).
It sounds to me like you have fallen into comfortable routine, you are currently well versed in your current skillset. It is time for you to take a leap, face harder challenges, walk into a job where you will feel overwhelmed. It is the pivotal point in your life where you must make the decision between security, or, real growth. I hope you choose growth. Great success only occurs when the risk of great failure must be overcome.
 

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Getting an MBA and trying to install yourself in an established organization seems asynchronous with the life you have described thus far. You can be the CEO of an organization without any degree at all by starting your own business. You'll be entirely responsible for the success or failure of the organization.

Its not what you asked, but I think you'd benefit greatly by more clearly defining what success you want to accomplish. "being responsible for the success of an organization" is vague enough that most would be challenged figuring out where to start.
 

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Let me pitch slightly different perspective, what does not work.
At your age I had been married a year, had one child and soon another on the way. I worked within my comfort zone. Each time I changed jobs (which was very rare), I stayed within my comfort zone; jobs were selected which I already had the full knowledge set to succeed. As a consequence there was little challenge and little wage growth. Overall, it was a recipe to survive, but not thrive.
I went through a divorce, went through a tour in Iraq, and other various trauma; I got an entirely different view on life.
Afterward, I looked for work which was at the ragged edge of my comfort zone. Jobs which have significant risk and challenge. I no longer expect myself to stay at the same job for a decade. The focus is now on seeking bigger challenges which force growth and hardship; it has been most rewarding (both emotionally and financially).
It sounds to me like you have fallen into comfortable routine, you are currently well versed in your current skillset. It is time for you to take a leap, face harder challenges, walk into a job where you will feel overwhelmed. It is the pivotal point in your life where you must make the decision between security, or, real growth. I hope you choose growth. Great success only occurs when the risk of great failure must be overcome.
Well put!
The business adage "high risk = high return" applies here.

Also, one of my favorite quotes:
“The value of life can be measured by how many times your soul has been deeply stirred.” - Soichiro Honda
 

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HERE is why you will be OK, and succeed no matter what you do:

I drive around all day and all I see is success. Huge skyscrapers, franchises, and a world full of potential.


You have vision. You have awareness and creativity. (and ethic)


I have had many "lives" and careers. From business to adventure to a doctorate degree, but the best advice regarding these decisions I ever heard came from Dr. Charles Telly JSD of Columbia University: "My god, you are ___ yrs old, you have your entire life ahead of you.... do what you are passionate about, and do it well."
 

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First, everyone defines success differently.

& to me it already sounds like the OP is successful in his own way... but if making a certain dollar amount = more success than obviously there is still room to grow

I don't have a ton to add to this discussion since I'm still pretty young myself, but I'm just curious as to what others feel is considered 'success'?
 

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First, everyone defines success differently.

& to me it already sounds like the OP is successful in his own way... but if making a certain dollar amount = more success than obviously there is still room to grow

I don't have a ton to add to this discussion since I'm still pretty young myself, but I'm just curious as to what others feel is considered 'success'?
Same here, though for me success is defines by attaining the position you value the most, and living comfortably within your means, doing what you are passionate about.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow, there is never a point when you guys don't seem to amaze me! If I responded individually to everyone of you it would take all afternoon, but I am very appreciative of all of the input I have received in the last day! I'm going to look at the thread every time I need incentive.

This isn't necessarily a monetary goal, more of a passion or change of pace I need to make. Now more capital is never a problem, it's just not the motivation behind this. I just feel like I have talents that could be of better use on a far larger scale than what I'm currently doing. As suggested above I would like to start my own business, just not sure what route to take. I would like to be innovative and capture a market that is untapped. I have several ideas, however our technology needs to be advanced another few years before I could successfully implement the best one. Mainly due to my background almost any business I started myself would be computer and internet based. The main problem with switching my web work into an actual business is that websites are getting TOO EASY to build. Almost every major hosting provider has an intuitive website builder and there are hundreds of websites that have designed simple and instinctive website builder programs for their clients.

Without going on and on, I'd like to say I'm in far better spirits after hearing what everyone had to say.
 

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Glad to hear it!! I am in a similar position, though I have my sights set on Entrepreneurship first, I ultimately plan to take a role in politics. Though I would rather work at it behind the scenes.

I truly think that you create your own opportunities, for the most part. Even if it is one given from someone you know, you took the time to know the person, or reach out to them in some way.

I will say this. Networking can be more potent, and usable than an MBA. And networking skills can be applied a cross the board. Never hurts to have both though. ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks again everyone, there have been many times I have come back to read your posts for encouragment.
I'm not where I want to be yet, but things are changing. A colleague of mine has decided to open up a production studio where I will be his creative partner. We have already shot several TV commericals and events, and the studio is currently under construction. It's not a life changing event, but it's a step in the right direction!
 

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well i had typed a realists point of view to your question but my computer crashed...let me just say. with the utmost respect for all of you here.

Are you lying to us when you say you are happy day to day? i think you are full of $htuff.

one poster said dont' take advantage of other people?! LOL YA RIGHT.

i defy you to show me one person who has "power" that doesn't take advantage of others.

a dr., a lawyer, a business owner...EVERYONE one of them takes advantage...NO? they simply justify it. but that is another arguement in itself.

FIND what you love and do it... or simply work to pay for what you love...there is no COSMIC MAGIC to life... period. it is not all cherries and roses... the meaning for life is your question and there is no right answer! there is only YOUR answer and you may not find it for years or maybe never!

my idea of success? helping 1 person smile every day...hold the door for a random stranger, help an old person carry their groceries...even if it is out of YOUR way...THAT is success...not driving a ferrari or parking it next to your maybach or lotus or in you big garage attached to your stupid big house. ALL of that stuff is just our way of buying happy! and it doesn't work!!

...i don't even have a house or an apartment currently...living with a friend and when i leave here i will live with someone else...and they will be glad to have me because in the reality being a good person will make people cae about you and LOVE you for who you are NOT for what you have...am i successful? i feel like i have conquered the world.

inner peace baby...no need for that next fake high...

you said you work for a nonprofit? are you actully HELPING people make their lives better? if so what more reward should you need? you want a thank you or a pat on the back? if so you are helping for the wrong reason. but this is all inner thought stuff and it can get pretty complicated...not everyone wants to face the reality of GREED and selfishness.

Sorry but i'm pretty passionate about this subject as i have been and am going through the same thing myself currently...and i have learned alot about who "I" am. i agree take some risk. if you want to know about my story more i would be glad to share it. there is no shame in being lost, just don't be afraid to stop and look around before you start walking in the wrong direction just for the saking of doing "something"
 

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Success is something you give yourself, fame/fortune is something others give to you.

The answer is within, my friend.
 
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