On Pulling the Trigger

September 2, 2007 — 12 Comments

To make a choice a hundred times in your head doesn’t make up one in reality. To think you know what you want and to take it are on opposite sides of the river–the Rubicon. The die is cast. You can’t unroll it but you can maybe roll again.

Can you have everything that you want? And if its offered to you, do you take it? The Resistance, fuck it. The taboo, fuck that even harder. Fortune favors the bold. And so does failure. The strategy paradox. To strike too early is almost unrecoverable. To strike too late…it’s a little bit harder to judge when you’re ahead of the curve.

I think you can guess the decision now. The offer came. To Do or To Be. I have the opportunity now to leave school and live in the real world. An actual job, legit money, a pass to the front of a six year line. And of course I have been driving myself insane over the decision.

Negotiate while advancing. Trade space for time. Contradiction consumes me. I’m trying to make the choice the right way–no money, no superficials. These will come no matter what. But is the choice right? That is the variable. Maxims, axioms and one-liners. God protects fools. Who wants to be a fool? But they don’t mean anything. They don’t help you, alone and pacing,…

I told myself that I would when the time came, it wouldn’t even be a debate. School was just a means to an end. I’m sure many of you have told yourself the same thing. Or–even without knowing the details–think that you could come to a conclusion in a second. Trust me, it’s a bit more difficult. Yes, these are good, GREAT, problems. That only makes them easier after the fact.

It’s a hundred and seven. I am pacing outside in jeans. Sweat it out. Sweat it out. Fortieth play of the same song. Pull the trigger. Buck fever. This should be easy. Where am I happy? Never let school get in the way of your education. I started college on that note, I can’t finish on anything else. I think its time. Logistics, they’ll sort themselves out. Ok. I’ll keep that in mind. Exhale. Prepare for the pendulum swing.

I have cleared the table of distractions. The first thing I did was look up the Sunk-Cost Fallacy and get rid of that bias. You can’t let a month’s rent influence you here, or time served dictate time to be served. One of my stories tipped on StumbleUpon and I’m enjoying the rush. What do I like? What do I dread? Which gives me the most of one and the least of the other?

A degree? Or a stair below the seat of knowledge? Its not about school, but about time. Where will I get the most of it? Punch it now.

I told myself I was different. But to cement that difference for the rest of your life is again, a very scary thing. Do you want to be the kid who went but didn’t graduate? Do not mistake reflection for weakness. Or second guessing for a lack of commitment. The decision has already been made, I just haven’t discovered it yet. Blink. I knew before I will. And though I know now, I just don’t know. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Can’t let myself get deluded. Refuse to let any of it go to my head. These offers say more about them than they do about me. The risk for them is probably greater then me quitting school. I can always recover from the wrong choice; this a reassurance, not a cop-out. Am I crazy? Probably, but it’s served me well so far.

I think I know what I want to do. I think it will surprise everyone. But I’m putting in all the calls and hearing all the input I can.

Ryan Holiday

I'm a strategist for bestselling authors and billion dollar brands like American Apparel, Tucker Max and Robert Greene. My work has been used as case studies by Twitter, YouTube and Google and has been written about in AdAge, the New York Times, Gawker and Fast Company.

12 responses to On Pulling the Trigger

  1. It’s exciting watching your thought process evolve before the audience. I have nothing I want to add in the way of advice, I feel you have that covered, just good luck and I hope you’re satisfied with your decision when you make it.

  2. Here’s a vote to pull the trigger and quit school. What’s the point of putting drivel into your head when you know what you want to do, and the opportunity is there waiting for you to become what you want to be? Honestly, I wouldn’t think twice.

    You are right, school is a means to an end; not unlike money.

  3. I’ve always looked at finishing college like having kids. It’s just something your parents want to see you do someday. But it’s not required. Graduation ceremony and weddings. Both derived for the same reason – Parents.

    I think Tucker said a while back on the forums something to the effect of, unless you go to an elite school or top 25 school that would stand out to an employer, why even bother with post grad or Law school. Do you think an employer values a marketing major from Wichita State? Princeton, Harvard, Yale, MIT. Sure. These top tier schools will get you access.

    My 4-year degree from Arizona State University proves two things: That I can concentrate in a lecture hall with 50 hot girls wearing next to nothing and that I can endure 113 degree heat for 4 months, that’s about it. Come to think of it, other than UCLA and USC, I think you can disregard the entire Pac-10 and SEC. I know Tucker’s opinions about UT…

  4. No question. And to finish school for anyone else is stupid. Although I think it’s ridiculous to say a degree means NOTHING, it just doesn’t add much that you couldn’t work hard to compensate for. My problem is 1) Is this the right job? 2) Is this the right time?

  5. This bullshit reasoning process is exactly why you guys keep getting shot down in H-town, and why you’ll continue to get shot down…

  6. Haha. Dude, am I really that important that you have to throw up your third comment under a third fake name? I’m sorry I make you so angry, but you could at least try and make sense. Yes, my internal monologue on a major life-decision is the reason that “us guys” keep losing.

  7. Ryan, love your blog. I vote for taking the job. After finishing college at a slightly advanced age (26) and misfiring with law school and a masters program, I place little value on the traditional route to success. I envy your exciting position at such a young age. Your out-of-class reading is giving you a fantastic education on its own. Good luck!

  8. If you feel really confident that it’s what you want, then take the job. I see college mainly as a springboard, which sometimes can launch earlier than you think.

    I think the critical thing is weeding out all the social factors: (what will my parents think? How cool will I look as that dude that dropped out of college and got an awesome job?) that you may or may not have admitted are important factors.

  9. Just reading this now.. Couldn’t be more timely for me. Any advice looking back? On what are the most important factors to consider?

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