May 29th, 2015

Jerusalem, Israel

I received the “Don’t go to college, work instead for yourself.” speech today. Of all places, it came from the owner of Sam’s Grill House in Jaffa Gate, Jerusalem. You may know it by other rhetoric, but you have most likely heard the expression, “college is nothing like real life” and there are many such phrases bouncing around in business culture. The idea of working for yourself is appealing to many. While so many of us do indeed spend large amounts of our time working for someone else’s business, idea, etc, it’s easy for a freedom such as being your own boss to take root in your goals and become the purpose in your life.

I think this makes sense and while conversing with the merchants in Jerusalem it’s easy to see that this entrepreneurial spirit runs deep in the veins of people of any faith, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Atheist. It makes little difference what book you live by. More than any street in my own hometown, Jerusalem is flooded with small colorful shops and merchants of every variety. I just bought water from Jacob’s well where Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman today from a Greek Orthodox Priest! It’s almost like each person here is a small business owner. Often a shop owner is a member of a family of shop owners. The idea of the self-made “rags to riches” success story is… everywhere. This guiding narrative we consciously and unconsciously live our lives by, to be our own boss, to call the shots, to take orders from no one, is not from streets of Compton California, the pirate ships of Somalia or the skyline offices of Wall Street. This notion of freedom is a simple and human one.

However, freedom seems to take many forms. While some of these merchants look at me, befuddled that I could work for another person, I look at them and wonder how they could be content merely going through life a salesman…

We have much to learn from each other but what I want to say is this: Determining what you are passionate for in this life is scary. Occasionally, eventually, it becomes fulfilling but it will certainly be filled with challenges and trials no matter who your boss is.

There is lots of heavy of rhetoric in the business world on this subject coming from entrepreneurs who have pulled feats of discipline and strategy by becoming their own boss without going to college who call for a withdrawal from the academic study. At least the kind you pay for anyways. Internet personality and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuck, for example, reminds his followers that college business studies are a waste of time in the eyes of the business world (when he himself happens to be a graduate).

Another such commentary by Damon Dash on New York’s station 105.1BreakfastClub goes even more in depth into Dash’s line of reasoning for why he refuses to have a boss, “There’s no pride in having a job. Having a boss is like calling another man daddy.”

Dash is a wildly successful entrepreneur as is Vaynerchuck, but does this mantra echo the calling of every person’s heart?

To determine this passion in your life, your calling, but let anything within yourself resist it is just a crime against your potential and fulfillment. It could be having too much pride to struggle through a miserable job while you pay bills so you can pursue your real passion or the fear of dropping out of college to be the professional your dream of being. Knowing what you love and pursuing it is real freedom. Don’t let anything keep you from it.

Gary Vaynerchuck rant:
Damon Dash Breakfast Club short:
Damon Dash Breakfast Club full:

4 thoughts on “Drop-out-trepeneur

  1. Hey, Scott. I’m Rae, a friend of Otto’s, which is how I’ve come to read your blog 🙂
    Thanks for sharing it, I enjoyed it and the multicultural insights were really cool.

    I totally feel this topic!

    I went to uni and I went late on because I lacked confidence in myself. I finished and realised that ‘I had what it takes’ all along. So, what I learnt at uni didn’t give me the confidence itself, which I think is why people propagate avoiding a life of academia aka mega debt. Yet, going to uni and realising it was just about applying myself did give me that confidence, which is why I think people, also, might propagate going down the academic route.

    Essentially, for me, once I realised what I was capable of if I applied myself, following my passions came down to two things: 1) coming down to earth a bit and accepting that even choosing what your passion is is just about making a decision, and; 2) committing to that for the long term.
    And you’re right those do take courage and conviction.

    We can say that fear is a given for every person no matter who they are and courage is a decision not to let that fear deter us. I believe courage and passion go hand in hand in this respect. Whereby, if you haven’t yet made that decision and committment to a passion, then you have no reason to be courageous. Maybe the biggest obstacle we have is choosing and committing in the first place. The latter was a huge factor in my own journey without a doubt.


    1. Something else that ties into this journey of discovering calling is knowing yourself. I hope to cover that more in depth later. What didn’t make it in here is that I think knowing yourself is most difficult part of finding your calling. Thanks for the input Rae!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s