Why Dr. Seuss....

I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it's a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life's realities. - Dr. Seuss

I smell the barbecue already - corn on the cob, BBQ chicken, and a game of

Kan-Jam. We can all hear the laughter, the congratulations, and the screams and shouts of seniors graduating, finally moving on from the dreary halls of school. Finally, he thinks - I've done it. On to the next rite of passage.

Move past the greasy fingers and ketchup-stained khakis and look deep in the eyes of the graduate and there lies fear. An abyss of fear. A holy crap, this is really happening kind of fear. An oh-boy, what am I going to do kind of fear. A crab-like retreat hoping to crawl back into the shell of childhood. 

Which is why every senior usually gets a book by Dr. Seuss for graduation. Oh, The Places You'll Go in the hands of every black-robed tassel-headed senior. 

How funny it is that you get a children's book at the point in time when you wish you had a few more years of childhood. 

Here's the reason: Take Dr. Seuss seriously. Really. As you walk into the "real world" don't forget to look through the telescope of reality through a kaleidoscope lens. Realize that reality is what you make of it. Remember, this is water. (Tweet this!)

Here's three more tips that extraordinary leaders know and keep secret:

1. Keep that sense of childhood wonder. Entrepreneurship and following your dreams can be lonely and filled with negativity, unless you choose to see the positive and laugh and play a little. (Tweet this!)

2. Your dog is the best role model. Dogs have all the best qualities of man, without any of the vices. Be happy and eager to please everyone, including yourself (even if that means rolling in the grass). (Tweet this!)

3. Keep a sense of play in your work. Work doesn't have to be work. Work can be fun and fun can be difficult. The last few minutes of the Super Bowl before a major win is difficult fun, just like the last few minutes before a Van Gogh or the last few minutes before publishing your work. 

I would write more, but I am off to jump on the slip-n-slide. Party time. Who doesn't love a good barbecue?

 

Start Dancing or Vroom Vroom

Nobody can settle for ordinary anymore. You have to stand out. You have to go the extra mile. The only way to do this is to find your passion.

Take the lonely doctor for example.

I recently learned of a doctor who went through med school, achieved top honors, and landed a high-paying job at a prestigious hospital. The only problem? She was robbing herself and robbing her patients. 

She noticed her quality of work waned downward to the simple punch-in, punch-out mentality. Not the quality of work that will take a doctor and make her Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. This mentality leads people to count the days to retirement then buy a sports car and fly to Aruba during a mid-life crisis. 

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This doctor wanted to be extraordinary and soon learned a major lesson. She didn't choose her own path. She followed her parents' orders, grew the yes man, yes sir mentality and lost autonomy in her career. When you lose choice, you lose action and you lose purpose. 

Then work becomes work. The chance to be extraordinary becomes a fight to hold a smile. 

The takeaway from this story is that you have to choose the path you are on even if it scares the bejesus out of you. Dance with this fear and embrace your true path in life. This is the only way to stand out. 

What path can you envision that makes you so excited you actually tear up thinking about it? Don't know, yet? That's fine. Start writing down all your possibilities and then once you get to a possible career path that makes you shake with excitement and makes you sweat a tear, choose that one. Start dancing.

The truth is, it's possible to define your own path. It's possible to make a hobby your career. You just have to see it.

Building your Ethos - Do You Need More than a Degree?

Let's face it. That slip of paper means something. 

This spring, high school students receive acceptance letters and mothers and fathers gleefully tell friends and family about young Timmy's launch into college then career stardom over a delicious bar-b-que party.

Timmy will go on to gain credibility. Proof that he is good. He is smart. He is worth hiring.

In fact, this is my story and I'm proud to have been the first college graduate in my entire family - extended family included.

Why do so many students go to college? After the Vietnam War, middle-class Americans were finally able to do what the rich did and go to college. The purpose? To get a high quality education and then successful job. The American Dream. It's really a beautiful thing.

College would take a student beyond the skills a student learned in high school (that of a factory worker in the Industrial Age) and catapult him into a higher-paying position - typically white-collar or one more distinguished. 

And college is hard (well, if you're anyone but John Belushi in College). It's years of diligent study and fear-induced testing. But it's worth it. Or, at least, it used to be.

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We all know now that a college degree isn't what it used to mean. Simple rules in economics clearly point out that with the market is saturated with students donning college degrees. And they don't have a job. Do you see the ironic paradox here? You need a degree to compete with others who also don't have a job. 

I've even heard a CEO say that degrees have become like toilet paper. He said 1 ply TP = no name college, 2 play TP = Okay college w/ good GPA and luxury TP w/ cashmere lining = ivy league, but I'll stop there.

I disagree. College is completely worthwhile if you own your education. Take charge over what classes you take and clearly forsee how each class will benefit your career. Network with classmates, professors and squeeze the academia bubble for all it's worth. 

College can be what you make of it. It need not be bricks and mortar if online schooling is better for you. It can even be a gap year and internships with lot of suggested reading. So, let's replace the term college for what it really is - betterment. Because isn't college really just a way for one to better themselves? Call it achieving the American Dream or what you will, but college really is just a medium for the average joe to not be so average. 

It's a chance to be extraordinary.