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A Dose of Reality – 4 Gen Y Lessons from Daniel Tosh

A Dose of Reality – 4 Gen Y Lessons from Daniel Tosh

This past week, I read a blog post at YouTern by Erica Roberts: “4 Gen Y Career Lessons from ‘Gangnam Style’”. On top of that, I had a conversation with my favorite, future PR Diva, Kate. Couple those two, and I’m inspired to draw ties with generational icon: Daniel Tosh. Enjoy!

Many of us know him for his edgy comedy routines. (If you don’t, my sarcastic soul weeps for you.) I enjoy his controversial sense of humor, as he’s what I like to call an Equal Opportunity Offender. “Role model” is certainly NOT the first term that comes to mind, but we can grab bits (pun?) from his comedy act and tie them back to the “real world”.

Before diving into the post … watch the 2-min skit, below. You’ll get a good laugh, or at the very least understand the motivation for this post.

Daniel Tosh via Comedy Central

“High School – How did you do it?”

I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your high school GPA became irrelevant the moment you graduated high school. You’re in college, now. I know, I know. You were valedictorian – 4.0 GPA! I’m happy for you. Not Really. In my 4-years of college, I’ve met two-dozen valedictorians at my school of 7,000 students. Two-dozen. Still not convinced?

This past spring, David McCullough delivered an awesomely real commencement speech. His reality check to the seniors of Wellesly High School, “You Are Not Special”, notes that 3.2 million seniors are graduating across the United States at more than 37,000 high schools. That’s at least 37,000 valedictorians, though probably many more as my graduating class had seven. Count ‘em. One, two, three … you get the idea … Seven valedictorians! Are you still trying to tell me it means something in college?  I’ll move on. Point made.

For many students, the post-graduation goal is college. Well, congratulations. You earned entry. Mission accomplished (almost). Now, you should have new goals. Maybe you’d like to earn that same 4.0 in college – or – perhaps, you’d just like to get out alive with a degree in hand (though I don’t recommend that either). The point is: make new goals. Hold yourself accountable – and – accomplish them.

Commencement Address Turnaround

“Excuse me? No, no … it just clicked. So you’re saying I can be reality-checkanything? Oh yeah, that sounds way better than what I was gonna do.”

Besides laughter, the main takeaway here is: you are responsible for your own motivation. Others can encourage you, inspire you, or spew words at you via blog post, but the want to do more must come from within. You need to find that thing that drives you to work your ass off in school. You need to inspire yourself to do more. Motivational speeches aside, you are responsible for your own inspiration.

Pro tip: look to past successes. I don’t care how small they are. Find them. Use them. Duplicate them.

“I’m a Bad Test Taker…you mean you’re stupid?”

Before we get our panties in a bunch, let’s think about what Albert meant when he said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” Obviously, fish can’t climb trees, just as all students can’t excel in Calculus or Hypersonic Aerothermodynamics. We all have our areas of expertise, and it’s important you find your niche; although, the opposite of this is that you must be ready to accept that maybe … just maybe … your niche isn’t what you had in mind.

Tosh didn’t put it quite as eloquently as Dr. Einstein, but his comic relief is valid. No, it doesn’t mean you’re stupid, but it should cause you to think twice about your situation. Have you chosen the right major? Are you studying enough? Evaluate your position. Don’t blame the class or teacher.

Remember, you are responsible for your circumstances. Nobody else.

Edgy, Bold, & Unapologetic

No, no, no. I’m not advocating you run around your classroom yelling obscenities in an attempt to be funny. Sure, Tosh has offended his fair share of people, but the 37-year old comedian is worth $6.5 million. He found his niche – controversial comedy.

The takeaway: you’re not going to please everyone in your search for stardom a job you love. You need to accept this. Be bold in your efforts (see what I did there?). You will meet people who disagree with you, and you’re sure to run into people who try to hold you back. It’s important you let them stay at the bottom of the barrel. Don’t apologize for your high aspirations. Revel in their hate. Fuel your fire – and – smile from the top.


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Samuel is in charge of products & content for Undergrad Success. Most days he’s figuring out how to spend less time working than he already is. When he’s not on the beach in Oceanside,CA, he lives online at http://hershberger.co/ where he coaches young men and women looking to get unstuck in their lives.

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