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10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College

10 Successful Professionals Share What They Wish They Knew in College

You hear about successful individuals and wonder about the journey they had to get there.

Perhaps you imagine them parading confidently down their college halls, studying their perfectly chosen college major. They must have been one of the smart studious kids that had it all together, knew it all.

And they ended up happily ever after as the wizard of their chosen profession.

That doesn’t seem to be the case. The amazing people in all different fields below have retrospective ideas about their college years. They wish they knew certain things, and may have made choices that they have some regret about.

In hindsight, they reflect on what they wish they knew in college.

Stick around until the end and read about an up and coming young film-maker, a recent college grad of 2014. Does she have some different ideas, having so recently graduated?

Here they are (in alphabetical order) reflecting on what they wish they knew.

1. Chris Brogan

cbheadshot

    What I Wish I Knew in College:    “I wish I knew that I knew so very little”.

    Chris Brogan is an adviser and strategist to professionals and owners. It’s business strategy meets powerful personal development.

    Chris has consulted with companies you know like Disney, Microsoft, Coke, Titleist, Pepsico, Google, Motorola, and many more. He is the New York Times Bestselling author of seven books and counting.

    2. Bob Burg

    BobBurgHRHeadshot

      What I Wish I Knew in College:   “Probably more than anything, just how little I knew about life…but *thought* I knew about life”.

      Bob is an advocate, supporter and defender of the Free Enterprise system, believing that the amount of money one makes is directly proportional to how many people they serve.

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      Bob regularly addresses audiences ranging in size from 50 to 16,000 — sharing the platform with notables including today’s top thought leaders, broadcast personalities, Olympic athletes and political leaders including a former United States President.

      The Go-Giver shot to #6 on The Wall Street Journal’s Business Bestsellers list just three weeks after its release. It’s an international bestseller and has been translated into 21 languages.

      3. Ann Convery

      AnnConvery

        What I Wish I Knew in College:  “In the real world, no one gives you an “A” for getting it right.  You can be perfect, and still not get the job, the date, or the promotion”.

        Ann Convery is an international speaker, seminar leader, trainer and author. Her list of clients reads like a “Who’s Who” of top professionals in the fields of politics, medicine, law, business, health and beauty.

        For 17 years she has prepared clients for CNN, 60 Minutes, The NY Times, Time Magazine, Oprah, People, Vogue and other outlets.

        “I got straight A’s in college, and I was an apple-polisher.  If the teacher said, “Hello”, I wrote down “Hello.”  If there was a right answer, I’d find it.   I wasted a few years trying to find out how to “do life right” before I realized that the answer lies in following my own North Star.  That path is uncertain, it’s scary, and it yields the highest rewards on earth.  And
        guess what?  The world doesn’t make it easy.  As I bring my vision into an uncertain world, I am living for something greater than myself, and there is no happier, richer, deeper way to earn your wings”.

        4. David Essel

        david

          What I Wish I Knew in College:   “That discipline and hard work were more than important steps for success, they were everything”.

          David Essel, M.S. is an Author, National Radio and Television Host, Master Life, Business and Relationship Coach, Adjunct Professor, All Faiths Minister, Addiction Recovery Coach and International Speaker.

          David’s professional presentations on how to lead a passionate and inspiring life have drawn rave reviews from corporations such as Chico’s, Nestlé, and Boeing, media outlets such as FOX and Premiere/Clear Channel Radio, as well as non-profit organizations like the March of Dimes and Unity Church.

          “I wish I knew:

          • The chaos alcohol and drugs could create in our lives.
          • That being in love started with loving ourselves.
          • That saving 10 dollars a week starting in college could make us all millionaires in life.
          • That gratitude, for my eyes, legs, heart…basically for what we take for granted…could lift us up on the crappiest of days.
          • That co-dependency in relationships was as devastating as heroin.
          • That my athletic abilities, while great, were nothing compared to my creative nature in life.
          • That I could become an author? National radio host? National television segment host? International speaker? I wish I knew I was that talented!
          • That my parents had given me the tools needed to be a nice person, and they were actually on my side from day 1.
          • That God loves the homeless as much as he loves me.
          • And that we all have the strength to become who we desire…over and over again.”

          5. Jeff Goins

          Jeff Goins

            What I Wish I Knew in College:   “Commit to something. The fruit is worth the cost”.

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            Originally from Chicago, he moved to Nashville after graduating from college and spending a year traveling with a band. In college, he studied Spanish and Religion and spent part of his junior year in Spain, which unlocked a passion for travel, writing, and making a difference in the world.

            He has written and guest-blogged for over 100 magazines, publications, and blogs and is also a speaker, creative coach, and consultant.

            6. Rhea Lalla 

            lalla

              What I Wish I Knew in College:  “I wish I’d known how to actually feel my feelings, listen to them, recognize & honor them and how to experience my emotional cycles all the way through to completion”.

              Rhea Lalla is the founder of Build Great Minds as a professional trainer, speaker and coach for parents who want to develop their child’s emotional and creative genius so they achieve success in all areas of life. As a mother who values fun and ease, her strategies are simple, effective and produce immediate results.

              “I used to think feelings happened in my mind, but I now know that feelings occur somatically, and can only be experienced by attending to the physical sensations in my body.

              I’ve since learned the ability to breathe through intense sensations & let the wave move through me. This is the fastest way to find calmness in the face of stress, sadness, frustration, anger or fear.

              Now I have access to more inner peace, greater patience & empathy -with my kids, myself and others”.

              My practice for feeling my feelings goes as follows:

              1. I close my eyes, take 3 deep breaths -where the exhale is 2X as long as the inhale

              2. I explore my body for salient sensations: tightness, pulsing, tingles, and tension

              3. I take my awareness near the sensations and explore the texture, color, movement, curious about its message

              4. I try to identify & name the feeling, so I can dis-identify with it

              5. I appreciate and honor the feeling as being a teacher with a lesson for me

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              7. Anthony Mora

              AnthonyMora

                What I Wish I Knew in College:  “In retrospect, there is quite a lot I would have liked to have known in college, although most was best discovered as time went on”.

                Anthony Mora Communications Inc. is a Los Angeles-based public relations, media relations, media training, and internet marketing firm formed by Anthony Mora in 1990. He has placed clients in a wide range of media outlets, including: Time, Newsweek, 60 Minutes, CNN, The Wall Street Journal, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Times, the BBC, Los Angeles Times, Vogue, People, Rolling Stone etc.

                Anthony has been featured in: USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The BBC, CNN, Entrepreneur, Fox News, MSNBC, and other media.

                “What I do wish I had known in college was how different theory is from practical application.  It was almost a given that college was not the place to ask those nuts-and-bolts practical questions.

                In retrospect, there is quite a lot I would have like to have known in college, although most was best discovered as time went on.  Too much knowledge can be a dangerous thing.  Still, a melding of theoretical understanding and practical application, that would have been appreciated”.

                8. Leigh Newman

                Leigh

                  What I Wish I Knew in College:  “I wish I’d known that the friends I was making would be with me for 22 years”.

                  Leigh Newman is the Deputy and Books Editor of Oprah.com. Her memoir Still Points North was a finalist for the National Book Critic’s Circle John Leonard Prize.  She has received fellowships from the Corporation of Yaddo and has taught fiction at Pratt Institute.

                  “I wish I’d known that this would be the last time I could take oceanography. I would have taken more of that—and marine biology—and napping 101.

                  I wish I’d known that I like quiet, and it was okay to live off campus and go to bed early with a Melville novel”.

                  9. Debbie Pomerantz

                  Debbie Pomerantz

                    What I Wish I Knew in College:   “To go after what I want and not allow others to derail me.  I wished I realized my potential and recognized my abilities”.

                    Debbie Pomerantz, Assistant Vice President of Gebroe-Hammer Associates has been selected as a “Woman of Influence,” an elite ranking of the nation’s top female real estate professionals.

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                    She joined Gebroe-Hammer Associates, a dominant commercial real estate brokerage firm in the NY-NJ area as a sales representative. In less than one year with the firm, she was promoted to Assistant Vice President. 

                    10. Leah Gottfried

                    Leah

                      What I Wish I Knew in College:  “Having graduated this year, I can honestly say I have no regrets. A weekly meditation group kept me living in the moment”.

                      Leah Gottfried created the first Film Studies major at Yeshiva University.

                      She is the owner of Dignity Entertainment, a full service production company dedicated to creating meaningful visual content that she started while still in college.

                       

                      So it seems like when you look back at a time period in your life, such as your college years, there are things you wish you would have known or wish were different. From a newly graduated college students perspective,  it seems like at the time, during college there is mostly just in the moment college life.

                      As for the successful professionals that make great strides in their field of work, they continue to make their mark even though there were some crucial things they wish they knew or did differently.

                      So go ahead and make your mark, do your thing with whatever you have and know today, in this moment.

                      Rest assured knowing that during your college years you probably were just that – a college student looking at the world with the youthful lense of hope and promise.

                      For today you are exactly where you are meant to be. Your exact experiences, what you did or didn’t know in college make you who you are in this moment, and most things may best be discovered as time goes on.

                      Featured photo credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/drurydrama/4266958089/ via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on July 17, 2019

                      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                      The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

                      What happens in our heads when we set goals?

                      Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

                      Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

                      According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

                      Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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                      Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

                      Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

                      The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

                      Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

                      So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

                      Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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                      One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

                      Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

                      Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

                      The Neurology of Ownership

                      Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

                      In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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                      But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

                      This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

                      Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

                      The Upshot for Goal-Setters

                      So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

                      On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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                      It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

                      On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

                      But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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                      Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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