People usually think that they need to finish university in 4 years or as soon as possible, that after they finish college they will make money, which will make them happier. Or maybe they just feel too much social pressure to "grow up" or to do "what your are supposed to do." However, massive surveys adding up to 1.3 million randomly sampled individuals from 51 countries all indicate the same pattern: people are happier "in their late teens and early 20s. But as the years roll by, people become more and more miserable, hitting a nadir in life satisfaction sometime around the early 50s." Although individuals' income tend to increase from ones late teens until their 50s, happiness levels constantly decrease. Happiness, however, rebounds from there around retirement.
Americans are too optimistic relative to actual levels of social mobility in the country (Alesina et al, 2018). 75% of Americans believe that hard work is a very important for economic success. Only 20% thinks that a wealthy family leads to economic success. However, the US ranks very low in social mobility when compared to other rich nations. In the US, the relationship between mean child income ranks and parent income ranks is "almost perfectly linear," even after holding for race, educational level, gender, parents marital status, and other factors (Chetty, 2014). Meanwhile, in several European countries (such as Finland and Denmark) the correlation between father and sons' earnings is lower than 20%. Basically, only several highly unequal developing countries, like Brazil, have lower intergenerational mobility than the US.
Alesina, Alberto, Stefanie Stantcheva and Edoardo Teso (2018). Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution. American Economic Review February 108: 521-54
Chetty, Raj, Nathaniel Hendren, Patrick Kline, and Emmanuel Saez (2014). Where is the Land of Opportunity? The Geography of Intergenerational Mobility in the United States. Quarterly Journal of Economics 129(4): 1553-1623.
OECD and The Economist
"[...] don't you remember when you went first to school? You went to kindergarten. And kindergarten, the idea was to push along so that you could get into first grade. And then push along so that you could get into second grade, third grade, and so on. Going up and up and then you went to high school and this was a great transition in life. And now the pressure is being put on, you must get ahead. [...] when you get to college, you're still going step by step up to the great moment in which you're ready to go out into the world. And then when you get out into this famous world, comes the struggle for success in profession or business. And again, there seems to be a ladder before you. Something for which you're reaching for all the time.
You [are] always living for somewhere where you aren't. And while it is of tremendous use for us to be able to look ahead in this way and to plan. There is no use in planning for a future, which when you get to it and it becomes the present you won't be there. You'll be living in some other future which hasn't yet arrived. And so in this way, one is never able actually to inherit and enjoy the fruits of ones actions.
You can't live it all unless you can live fully now." - Alan Watts
1. At age 29, this person travelled to Italy and discovered Italian coffee culture. They brought the concept back to America and built a company now worth $78 billion dollars.
Guess who? It's Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks.
2. At age 40, this person travelled to Thailand and noticed the 'tuk-tuk' taxi drivers drinking a beverage to stay awake. After enjoying the taste, they purchased rights of the small company and turned it into a business now worth $20 billion dollars
Guess who? It's Dietrich Mateschitz, Co-founder of Redbull.
3. At age 25, this person was stuck on a delayed train travelling from Manchester to London, and came up with the idea of a 7-part novel series which they spent the next 5 years writing. The book series is now worth $15 billion dollars.
Guess who? It's J.K. Rowling, Author of Harry Potter. Net worth: $1 billion dollars.
4. At age 23, this person went on a 7-month pilgrimage to India, and later described it as "one of the two or three most important things I've ever done in my life."
Guess who? It's Steve Jobs (1955-2011), Co-founder of Apple. Net worth: $10.2 billion dollars.
5. In 2008, Jobs recommended this person also do an Indian pilgrimage, which they later admitted "was an important part of our company in the early years."
Guess who? It's Mark Zuckerberg, Co-founder of Facebook. Net worth: $52.2 billion dollars.
6. At age 30, this person travelled 3 thousand miles across America while writing a business plan onto spare napkins. They built the company to now be worth $355 billion dollars.
Guess who? It's Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon. Net worth: $71 billion dollars.
7. At age 17, this person ran away from home and took a voyage to London. Inspired from the trip, they started up a printing company. Their travels to France became crucial to America winning the civil war and declaring independence.
Guess who? It's Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father of America. Net worth: $10 billion dollars (after inflation)
8. At age 37, this person wrote a book on their one-year adventure through Italy, India and Indonesia. The book has sold 9 million copies and became a movie worth $204 million dollars in box office sales.
Guess who? It's Elizabeth Gilbert, Author of Eat, Pray, Love. Net worth: $25 million dollars.
9. At age 16, this person travelled to the US from Pakistan. Washing dishes in the day and sleeping on the floor of YMCA at night, they built a company now worth $30 billion dollars.
Guess who? It's Shahid Khan, Owner of Flex-N-Gate. Net worth: $6.9 billion dollars.
These people are no smarter or talented than you. At the time, some had little or no money at all. They still travelled and observed the world around them. They decided to have a big dream and accepted their ability to turn it into reality. They have made a fortune. But it's nothing in comparison to the gold mine in every cemetery. All the ideas and dreams that could have forever changed the world. Each a gift to humanity. Buried in fear and doubt.
Your biggest challenge is not accomplishing great things. Your biggest challenge is admitting how much power you truly have to do them.
Credit: GLOBAL DEGREE