Stop waiting until you have your medical, nursing, or law degree to help people.
Since when did “helping people” have to be this thing that only doctors, nurses, and lawyers do? Are we really so brainwashed to believe that humans are incapable of helping others unless they have a graduate degree? Or they’re wearing a professional uniform, or sitting behind a fancy desk?
In fact, doctors, nurses, and lawyers are some of the LAST people I want to regularly meet to get their help.
First, they cost $$$. Second, it means I’ve fucked up my life or body somehow. Third, have you ever been to a hospital or law office? They’re some of the most depressing places in the modern, non-imprisoned developed world.
Saying “I’m in this ____ program because I want to help people/save the environment/feed the poor/solve injustice” is basically code for “I have no fucking clue how to actually make an impact on people in day-to-day reality and be compensated for it, so I’ll get this degree to defer doing that for a few years, and maybe the degree will magically make people want to hand over their money.”
Similarly: Why do we insist that the ONLY way to live one’s purpose or passion is to have a 9-5 job in it? Or that the only way to help people is to quit your job, forsake the modern world, and try to start an organic farm in India with no experience and end up bankrupt and miserable?
The world does not benefit if you are stuck in a wavelength of misery. We’re trying to solve suffering – your suffering does not make everyone else’s suffering OK.
Starving activists, starving artists, starving entrepreneurs – they’ve all got one thing in common (besides starving), and that is that they’re all martyrs. We love stories of martyrs, because we think that the only way to do anything meaningful is to be an extremist (i.e., get a degree, quit job, hold out for unicorn dream job, tie yourself to a tree to protest forests being cut down).
I applaud those who follow these paths. But it’s not the only way to make things happen. And too often, I see people with great dreams procrastinate or give up, because they believe they have to go big or do nothing.
I believe the better way is:
Work towards your cause NOW.
You can help people and work towards saving the environment and resolving poverty and injustice in SO MANY WAYS without spending a single dollar on an educational institution. Volunteering, teaching, recycling, reducing your use of disposable items, hell, just being compassionate and aware of your fellow beings and creatures on the planet are all ways to actually live out your purpose and passion on a day-to-day basis.
I don’t care how “small” the act is. “Small” and “big” are definitions from the limited perspective of the human mind.
So do something. You have my unaccredited, non-diploma permission.