Big fish, small pond

When granted the opportunity, it’s much better for your own self-esteem and personal success if you choose to be a big fish in a small pond, rather than a small fish in a big pond.

Here’s the issue with being a small fish in a big pond. Sure, you’re in the big pond now, but you’ll get eaten.

It’s as simple as that.

If you are, instead, the big fish, you have the perfect little pond for you to grow, nurture your abilities. You have the flexibility to fail. This is your opportunity to make big mistakes, make big strides, and try to dominate your little pond.

Then you’ll be prepared for the ocean of life. And life is the biggest pond in the world.

Here’s the thing: we don’t compare ourselves to the entire world. We compare ourselves to our neighbors—our friends in the same pond.

If you choose to be an average Harvard student, you best have a lot of grit, discipline, and determination. Because you will be attacked. You will feel lesser. And it’ll be tough. The chances of survival are less, but if you do survive, you’ll have gone through the tough aspects of a big pond already.

Take a look at this chart. The bottom third SAT scores at Harvard STILL beat the TOP third at an average school. But the graduation rate is still symmetrical to that of the average school. If you are average or below average in a big pond, be prepared to be eaten.

I’d choose to be a stellar student at a lesser-known university. This is because I don’t think I’d have the emotional capacity to handle being “average” at Harvard. Everyone is “average” when compared to the entire world; I’d like to feel a little special at least for a few more years before I enter the big ocean of life.

YouTue Video: Does your school matter?

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Beware of the convenience trap

Convenience is something that humanity inherently seeks throughout life.

How can I get from point A to point B quicker?

How can I send a message to my friend who lives across the country?

How can I get food without having to cook it myself?

And the answers to these questions resulted in great innovations to combat the question of convenience: UBER as has made transportation so much easier, the internet and social media allows global connection, and fast food restaurants, food delivery apps, drive-thru’s and convenience stores have solved the issue of having to actually cook and make our own food.

Convenience is a simple concept. Essentialized, it makes life easier. Less effort is required when convenience is factored in.

And a lot of the time, convenience is great.  For example, if it’s super convenient to go to the gym, then you’re more likely to actually work out. If it’s convenient for you to attend the local college, (as in it’s close by and cheap), then you’re more likely to get an education. Even job convenience is a big factor in choosing one’s career due to location.

But the convenience trap is something I’ve noticed I’ve fallen into lately, because it makes me complacent, and work less.

It’s “convenient” for me to study in my room, but because it’s also “convenient” for me to take a quick nap, I might succumb to my beautiful bed. Last year, I remember purposely walking over to the library to study. That eliminated the convenience of slacking off.

It’s “convenient” for me to just continue writing my blog posts when I know that I should be creating better content like a podcast or YouTube videos.

It’s “convenient” for me to attend classes; but whatever happened to education outside of the classroom?

An interesting convenience topic I think that everyone should honestly think about is relationships.

Convenience friends or convenient relationships.

In high school, did you ever notice that you might have often hung out with some toxic people?

People you wish you could leave, but it would make the group dynamic “awkward,” and it was just more convenient to remain friends?

At the end of the day, there is no excuse to remain in a toxic relationship. And I mean this seriously across all definitions of relationship: friends, significant others, and even your family.

Convenience traps make us complacent, and we keep telling ourselves that we’ll change, or maybe they will change, or maybe I’ll just suck it up because it’s easy to do that. We don’t like discourse. We don’t like change. Convenience traps make us satisfied with the crap that we’ve put ourselves in.

It’s convenient to remain at a job you hate or continue dating someone you don’t truly love, or attending a university that you know isn’t the right fit for you.

But seriously. Don’t fall into this convenience trap.

I’ve noticed lately that I keep thinking somehow I’ll meet my “soul mate” at Villanova, which is both irrational and wishful thinking.

Because it’d be convenient for me, wouldn’t it? It’d be convenient to date someone who goes to the same school. But I don’t want convenience.

Don’t get me wrong; again, convenience is a great thing to have because it makes life easier. And everyone could use a little bit of a lift in life.

But don’t fall into this convenience trap. Don’t settle. Don’t allow yourself to remain complacent in life.