In lieu of a college degree, achieve each one of these goals:

A Letter to 20 Year Olds From James Altucher:

If you want to make money you have to learn the following skills. None of these skills are taught in college.

I’m not saying college is awful or about money, etc. I’m just saying that the only skills needed to make money will never be learned in college:

1. How to sell (both in a presentation and via copy writing).
2. How to negotiate (which means win-win, not war).
3. Creativity (take out a pad, write down a list of ideas, every day).
4. Leadership (give more to others than you expect back for yourself).
5. Networking (a corollary of leadership).
6. How to live by themes instead of goals (goals will break your heart).
7. Reinvention (which will happen repeatedly throughout a life).
8. Idea sex (get good at coming up with ideas. Then combine them. Master the intersection).
9. The 1% rule (every week try to get better 1% physically, emotionally, mentally).
10. “The google rule” – always send people to the best resource, even if it’s a competitor. The benefit to you comes back tenfold.
11. Give constantly to the people in your network. The value of your network increase linearly if you get to know more people but EXPONENTIALLY if the people you know get to know and help each other.
12. How to fail so that a failure turns into a beginning.
13. Simple tools to increase productivity.
14. How to master a field. You can’t learn this in school with each “field” being regimented into equal 50 minute periods. Mastery begins when formal education ends. Find the topic that sets your heart on fire. Then combust.
15. Stopping the noise: news, advice books, fees upon fees in almost every area of life. Create your own noise instead of falling in life with the others.

If you do all this you will gradually make more and more money and help more and more people. At least, I’ve seen it happen for me and for others.

I hope this doesn’t sound arrogant. I’ve messed up too much by not following the above advice. Don’t plagiarize the lives of your parents, your peers, your teachers, your colleagues, your bosses. Create your own life. Be the criminal of their rules. I wish I were you because if you follow the above, then you will most likely end up doing what you love and getting massively rich and helping many others. I didn’t do that when I was 20. But now, at 46, I’m really grateful I have the chance every day to wake up and improve 1%.

1.  Wayne Alderson.
2.  Coping With Difficult Bosses, Robert Bramson, 1994.
3.  Fat-Free Meetings, Burt Albert, 1996.
4.  How to Manage Conflict, Career Press, 1993.
5.  Listen Up!  Jim Dugger, 1995.
6.  Managing Conflict at Work, Jim Murphy, 1994.
7.  The Dilbert Principle, Scott Adams, 1997.
8.  Why Didn’t You Say That in the First Place: How to Be Understood at Work, Richard Heyman, 1994.
9.  Improving Your Interpersonal Skills, Bob Bly.

Manage Conflicts.  Plus this.

  1. Accept conflict. Remember that conflict is natural and happens in every ongoing relationship. …
  2. Be a calming agent. …
  3. Listen actively. …
  4. Analyze the conflict. …
  5. Model neutral language. …
  6. Separate the person from the problem. …
  7. Work together. …
  8. Agree to disagree.

1.  Bob Bly, 1998.