What Know-it-Alls Don't Know About College: Concern vs. Action

This week's tip comes from a self-help book I read over the summer and it actually works so obviously I have to share it with you. Self-help books are literal hidden gems. People who are experts and extremely successful in their fields have taken the time to publish a piece of their genius brains for us nondescripts to absorb.

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams is a great self-help book about, you guessed it, adulting. In her book she talks about the circle of concern vs. the circle of action.

College students have the tendency to be overly ambitious. There's a lot we want to accomplish in a short amount of time. This isn't always practical because we don't yet have the necessary resources we need to achieve our goals.

At the same time it is easy to become discouraged by the successes of your peers.

I have a friend who is well on his way to becoming a Youtube star. Another friend just scored a huge internship opportunity and another friend just launched her own app! Comparing yourself to those around you can be a motivational tool but can also be extremely damaging.

These four years in college is the time to build your skills. It's also the time to make mistakes and learn from them. This takes patience, time, and effort. You can not do everything all at once.

Tip: Compartmentalize your goals and concerns.

Generally your circle of concern is HUGE. It's full of all your goals, wishes and dreams. Anything worth worrying about and obsessing over goes into this circle. Here are the two major concerns I've had this week:

  • Paying off my crippling student debt

  • Landing my dream job at VICE

There is nothing that I can immediately do to solve these two problems. Unfortunately I don't currently have the thousands of dollars I owe the federal government. There is also no way I can start my dream job at VICE tomorrow because I am inexperienced and without a degree.

This however is where the circle of action comes in. You can take baby steps to reach the big goals you want to accomplish. Think of some actions you can take in the present to help with your goals placed in the future.

Your future goals don't have to be ones set ten years from now. Graduating from college, even scoring that summer internship can be considered a long-term goal.

Taking things step-by-step will make your goals much more practical. For me this means taking at least ten dollars out of my paycheck to put towards the interest rates on my student loans. To land my dream job I'm taking the necessary classes I need and interning to gain more experience. When it comes to apply for my dream job I will be prepared because I've taken those baby steps to qualify.

You have to start small in order to grow big. Without this you will suffer from constant anxiety and that will only break you in the end.

What are some of you long-term goals? What small actions can you take to reach these goals?

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