The first weekend of college

You’ll meet a lot of new people that weekend. In what might be your most vulnerable moment as a college student, you’ll meet people who seem very sure of themselves. They’ll seem certain that college is just high school with more binge drinking. They’ll be more concerned with their party schedules than their class schedules.

Ignore those people.

The people you’re looking for are a lot like you. They’re not quite sure who they are; not quite sure where to start. They feel a little afraid, and a little weird. They want to matter, and they’re concerned by what they see going on around them.

Look for those people, even if they take longer to find.

Because after all, you should feel weird in a culture that has deviated so far from what’s important.

Getting dumped

Anger is a perfectly reasonable response to getting dumped. Rejection is hard, and anger is our mind’s go-to response to cope.

The response is helpful if it initiates some change — some further clarification that might help both parties understand better. The response is not helpful if it lasts longer than it should. It should not initiate months, even years of resentment.

The solution is simple: practice not being resentful. In fact, practice exactly the opposite.

Matthieu Ricard, dubbed by scientists as “The World’s Happiest Person,” had this to say recently to Krista Tippett on her podcast:

“You cannot, in the same moment of thought, wish to do something good to someone or to harm that person. Those are mutually incompatible, like hot and cold water. So the more you will bring benevolence in your mind at every of those moments, there’s no space for hatred. It’s just very simple, but we don’t do that. We do exercise every morning, 20 minutes, to be fit. We don’t sit for 20 minutes to cultivate compassion. If we were to do so, our mind will change, our brain will change. What we are will change.”

I’d recommend listening to the full interview here. Krista keeps churning out beautiful works of art with every show.

How to be cool

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.” ~ Mark Twain

To be cool is to be a part of the majority. By definition, to be cool is to be average, because cool people need to appeal to everyone else in the middle of the bell curve.

This is how “cool” worked when we were in high school, but it’s not how it works in the world of adults.

Instagram, Airbnb, Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Tindr, Netflix; they all started by purposely not being cool. They started by appealing to the weirdos — the people who were willing to go out on a limb to use an untested product. “An app that lets me find strangers’ homes to sleep in? Awesome!”

Then, the weirdos told their friends. Then those friends told more friends. Only then did the products became cool to use. Not the other way around.

Now, more than ever, to be cool is to be weird.

How to make a lot of money (no, really)

I started investing money for my retirement when I was 20-years-old. A professor explained to me how I could make hundreds of thousands of dollars by making small, consistent investments starting at a young age. Ten years later it’s already paid huge dividends.

Thank you, professor.

A few years ago our athletic department invited a speaker to talk to our student-athletes about saving money for retirement. The general consensus was that the presentation was boring.

I was blown away. A simple, proven method to make a personal fortune was made boring? Please reconsider.

Here’s a guide to get you started from my favorite personal finance expert, Ramit Sethi: The World’s Easiest Guide To Understanding Retirement Accounts.

Here’s a guide to investing in your twenties: 4 best ways to invest in your 20’s.

The best time to start investing was five years ago. The next best time is right now.

Love happens when you least expect it

But don’t most things worth talking about happen when we least expect them to?

The unexpected job promotion? The unexpected traffic on your commute to work? The unexpected proposal? The unexpected kind gesture from a stranger?

I’m not sure we need any more dating apps — any more attempts to make love certain. The market is saturated. But it would seem we need more ways to cope with uncertainty, as Eckhart Tolle makes clear in his book, Stillness Speaks:

“Become at ease with the state of “not knowing.” This takes you beyond mind because the mind is always trying to conclude and interpret. It is afraid of not knowing. So, when you can be at ease with not knowing, you have already gone beyond the mind. A deeper knowing that is non-conceptual then arises out of that state.”

Binge drinking

By all measures, the more social capital a college campus has, the less binge drinking there is. What’s social capital?

Researchers who study social capital often measure it with this question: “How many organizations do you belong to?”

It turns out that the more organizations you belong to — anything from a sports team, to a sorority, to the College Republicans — the less likely you are to binge drink. That is, the more you feel you belong to something meaningful the less likely you are to waste time.

This is how it works in the “real world” too, where the stakes are much higher.

Activities night is August 30th this year. Go do something meaningful.

When you’re not named captain

So what?

Eventually, a coach or captain is going to make an unpopular decision. A decision that the team grumbles about. A decision that seems odd. A decision that, if followed, might require people to do things that scare them.

Be the first follower.

Be the first one to stand up and say, “Yeah, she’s right. We should do that.” The first follower begets more followers. Nothing changes without the first follower.

This three-minute TED Talk on the topic is billiant.

(h/t to Charlie for this reminder)