How to Avoid a Life of Boredom and Mediocrity After College

Posted April 02, 2012 by

John StreleckyYou’ve done it.  Congratulations!  You have made it through the challenges of higher education and are about to graduate from college. Now what are you going to do with the rest of your life?

Well, you could end up in the very sad category of the 64% of people under age 25 who report being “unhappy” in their jobs. Or, if you make a few good choices, you’ll be in the much happier group of graduates who absolutely love what they are doing.

Here’s the way to be in the second group.

1.     Get a job directly in line with your interests

Ideally this started with your first job at fifteen or sixteen years of age. If not, better now than never.

Put yourself in a position where the type of work you do is completely in line with your hobbies or past times. If you love biking, and you got your degree in marketing, do marketing for a bike shop, or a bike manufacturer, or an online reseller of bike parts…

Really successful people end up being really successful because they love what they are doing. Could Steve Jobs have achieved what he did if he didn’t love technology? From high tech to comedians to film makers, and everything in between, a common thread among those who do really well is they are passionate about what they do. That passion is what creates drive, and that drive is what leads to success.

Your first job leads to your second, which leads to a career. Start outside of your interests, and you will probably finish there. However, start inside your interests, and you can spend an entire career getting paid to do what you love.

Remember, for the average worker, seventy percent of their awake life Monday through Friday is spent at work, getting to work, or thinking about work. Do this step well, and it pretty much guarantees that at least 70% of your awake time won’t be mediocre or boring.

2.  Take classes that align with interests.

If you are still in school, make this your mantra. Typically it is a combination of course work and job experience that opens up new career and life opportunities. So if you take classes you don’t like, that will probably lead to work you don’t like either.

Remember, if you have no interest in your college classes on a Monday morning, you’ll certainly find your job boring all week long. Fifty weeks of boring, for forty years, is way too much boring.

This is particularly important if you are paying for your own schooling. You don’t want to spend all that money and take on all that student loan debt to learn about things that don’t interest you.

3.  Become an expert

People who are experts get the chance to travel to exotic places, meet interesting people, work on cool projects, and make significantly more money than generalists.

If you take classes you’re interested in, you’re going to learn a lot in those classes because people like learning about things that interest them. The more you learn, the more of an expert you become, and the more money you can command in the job market.

If you become a deep expert in almost anything, people will pay for that expertise.

4.  Make things happen on your own

Start your own business, volunteer at a non-profit you believe in, write your own blog, learn another language, invent something, travel to a foreign country… Those things are interesting. They make you interesting. They are the types of activities that get you scholarships, internships, interesting job opportunities, and the chance to meet fun and fascinating people.

The world is not impressed if all you’ve done is wait for someone else to jump start your career. The job market however, is blown away when a proven self-starter walks in the door.

5.  Listen to and study people who live interesting lives

Mediocrity and boredom are well within your reach. So is an amazing life. Avoid “Mad How” disease and you’ll be a lot closer to the amazing life.

Don’t waste your time asking “How?” to do things. Instead, find your “Whos”. Find people who are already living the type of life you want to live, who are engaged in the type of career you want to have.

Find two or three people who have excelled in the field you want to excel in and learn everything you can about them. They are proof it is possible.

Learn everything you can about the paths they took to the life they have. Then imitate those paths.

This is so much faster and more effective than trying to struggle your way to success. The formula is out there. Just imitate it.

You don’t have to start at the bottom and crawl to the top. When you find and imitate the right people, your career will launch ahead.


Life is too long to live it in a way that is mediocre or boring, especially when you don’t have to.


John P. Strelecky has been honored alongside Oprah Winfrey, Tony Robbins, and Deepak Chopra as one of the hundred most inspirational thought leaders in the field of leadership and personal development. His books are used by forward thinking professors at universities in the U.S. and abroad as a way of inspiring students to find their path. He is the author of the #1 Bestsellers, The Why Cafe and The Big Five for Life. 

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