Scott H. Young’s advice for (career) decisions

Do what others won’t or can’t do.” -Scott H. Young

Instead of doing what you’re passionate about, following your heart, as the saying goes, do things that other people either won’t do because they lack the motivation or can’t do because they lack the skill or opportunity.

Scott expands on his idea by sharing how it plays into why he decided to tackle his latest challenge, a four-year, MIT degree in Computer Science in only a year, without taking any classes.

  • What others won’t do: Even though anyone can find the curriculum for the challenge available online for free, most people don’t have the internal motivation to stick to such an intense task.
  • What others can’t do: Most people have normal jobs that would keep them from dedicating 60+ hours/week to a challenge like this. Since Scott works online teaching others how to learn faster and smarter, he’s in a unique position to not only attempt the challenge but also benefit from the exposure it will bring.

This advice resonated with me because when I recall my decisions in the past, many of them reflected the same attitude. My university experience, for instance, mirrors Scott’s challenge, though nowhere near as ambitious.

  • What others won’t do: Anyone can add extra classes, take them in the summer, or ditch textbooks. But not many do.
  • What others can’t do: I graduated early from high school. After that, I continued to live with my parents and had most of my classes paid for. I didn’t have to split my time and attention between school and work. Not many students have that opportunity.

The same motivated my decision for too.

  • What others won’t do: Not everyone is willing to move to a foreign country without speaking the language at all. Not everyone is willing to speak everyday for a living or try to keep a class of kids under control and learning.
  • What others can’t do: Some people have jobs, or job prospects. Others have girlfriends or boyfriends or husbands or wives or kids or houses or whatever that keep them from moving.

These are just a couple examples. The more I think about it, though, the more I realize how much Scott’s mantra has motivated my decisions in the past, even though I just read about it the other day.

In fact, it adds some extra insight into why I try new things. Perhaps it’s unconsciously the motive behind that gut response.

Maybe it can provide a further motive for you too.