For as long as I can remember, telling people that my dad was a used car salesman elicited skeptical looks and even laughs. The “used car salesman” has been satirized time and time again for being a sleazy, slightly chubby, manipulative creature. I suppose that’s what people imagined when I told them that’s what my dad did for a living.
My dad’s always been a salesman, since long before I was born. Every time we went out to eat at a restaurant or walk around the mall during my childhood, random people would stop and say hello to my dad, with smiles and greetings and sometimes even great big hugs, like they were family.
These people were not family. They were customers, and they loved my father. For nearly two decades, my father spent six days a week in a used car dealership helping people from all walks of life buy their next vehicle. Major League Baseball players, teachers, housewives, and executives alike grew affectionate after purchasing a car with him. My dad was not any old used car salesman. He understood his purpose as a salesperson: to help and serve those who needed a car, not to simply make money.
Success is directly related to a clear purpose.
If your express purpose is to make money, you eventually will turn into a sleazy used car salesman. If your purpose is to feed your ego, then you’ll quickly lose friends and influence among others. If your purpose is to prove others wrong, you may very well achieve your goals and prove them wrong, only to stagnate when you have nothing left to prove. If you have no purpose at all, you will end up in mundane, meaningless work that leads to nothing.
We didn’t drop out to do nothing. We didn’t drop out to become homeless, either. Past having enough money to house ourselves, eat, and live, it’s time to look past making money. To do this, we have to identify our why. Our purpose. The underlying reason(s) for the rest of our activities.
Why do we do what we do?
To create meaningful and positive change for us and the people around us.
That’s why we’re dropouts, literally or mentally. We don’t aim for ten percent better. We aim for ten times better. Ten percent better is getting a 4.0 GPA when the average is a 3.6. Ten times better is creating the most innovative company in the history of modern technology.
That’s the type of meaningful and positive change we’re looking for. If you’d rather not change the world, then that’s perfectly acceptable. There is nothing wrong with pursuing traditional goals if that fulfills you. You can easily go to college, find a secure job that you work in for a long time, retire, and call it a day.
If that swift coast through life doesn’t sound appealing, then chances are, you’re a dropout.