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Friends don't let friends do stuff they don't like

At a conference in August I overheard a college student say, "Well, my major is accounting, but that's not my passion at all. I'm just doing that to get a job after college."

I've been kicking myself since then for not finding a way to join her conversation and challenge her on that statement. I feel as if I watched her get mugged and didn't do anything about it. She's spending so many hours in college studying stuff she doesn't like so much, with the intention of spending most of her waking hours after college doing more stuff she doesn't like so much. Her life is being stolen, most likely by just a bit of fear and ignorance, and it doesn't have to be that way.

You are doing a disservice to your friends if you don't challenge them when they say any variation of the following statements:

"Well, I work in the ________ industry, but it's just a job. I'm more interested in ________."

"My major is ________, but I don't really like it. I wish I could study _______."

If you're really a friend, it's your responsibility to ask them why they're doing what they're doing and what's stopping them from making the change to doing what they want. You have to make them think about it, even if only for a moment, because no one else will.

You can do this. I'm only asking you to challenge your friends on this stuff. I do this with new acquaintances and sometimes even complete strangers, and almost always they welcome the challenge and encouragement. Often, they're absolutely shocked that someone else believes they can achieve their dreams.

Posted by Ian Ybarra on 11 November 2005