In the Spring of 2012, I was taking a college class called Law and the Media. My professor was a prominent lawyer who taught evening classes in his spare time. I really enjoyed his class.
Because he taught me a valuable lesson. He said if he had to pick a favorite word from the dictionary, it would be the word: why.
I thought about that for a moment. At first, I didn’t recognize what was so special about the word why. After writing several case studies on Supreme Court decisions, I understood.
The word why can stand alone in a sentence. Just three little letters can incite profound reflection. Ask yourself why and your mind will venture down a rabbit hole, deep into your subconscious thoughts. Motives not previously known will appear.
If you voted for a political candidate, ask yourself why. When you have an answer, repeat the question. Repeat the question until you find the ultimate answer. This process may take awhile. When you have finished, you may have an epiphany.
I believe this can be a life-changing experience. Start asking why about everything and you’ll begin to unravel what makes you, you.
For me, I have spent the years following that class asking myself why. I’m still discovering things. Like last night, I asked myself why I majored in Communication Arts. I thought I knew the answer, but the question leads me to some interesting insights into life and how career choices are made.
I’ve witnessed many of my peers realize the naive reasons why they chose their major. It was a surprise to them. I know it was a surprise to me when I realized why I chose Communication Arts.
Sometimes we are too sure of ourselves. “I know why I chose my major! I have a plan. Those other people clearly didn’t think it through.” Really? Ask yourself why. I did and I was surprised.
Why I Chose My Major
I chose my major as the result of a series of life events. The final verdict: I never had a plan. I just thought I did.
After some reflection, my story begins in the fall of 2001. I was 10-years old, my dad was in the hospital with appendicitis, and my mom had me stay the night at my aunt’s house.
I was thrilled to spend the night with my cousin. He had received the 1349 Lego Studios set for his birthday.
“Lego Studios was a popular brand of Lego toys released in the early-2000s and mainly focused on movie-making and the steps thereof. Lego Studios was first distributed in November 2000, and was later discontinued in 2003. The last series in the franchise was the Lego Spider-Man set. The appeal of Lego Studios was that it featured stop-motion animation to make real movies with Lego bricks. In response, many websites have grown that are dedicated to the product and feature many uploaded videos, such as Brickfilms.com.” — Wikipedia
My cousin showed me a video he had created with the included stop-motion camera and that was all it took to get me hooked. I originally was set to spend a couple of nights at my cousin’s house, but after getting hooked on filmmaking I asked my mom if I could stay the week!
We made several videos that had nothing to do with Legos and very quickly outgrew the stop-motion camera. The camera that was included with Lego Studios resembles a modern webcam. It had to remain wired to a computer, with a cord that was about 15 feet long.
After we had run out of material to film in my cousin’s computer room, I wanted a laptop so we could move the camera outside. My aunt had a better idea, the following year she got him a Hi-8 camcorder.
My cousin, at the time, wanted to become a Hollywood Director. This was an upgrade from wanting to be a hotel manager. Previously, I had wanted to be the President of the United States, which was an upgrade from a train engineer.
As children, we are inspired to pursue careers that coincide with the toys we play with and the shows we watch. The Lionel train set I had as a young boy probably had something to do with my initial career aspirations. Bill Nye likely inspired me to want to run for President so I could stop world pollution.
It is really something to go back and trace how I got to now. My pursuit of video production finds its roots in a childhood experience.
I didn’t calculate the ROI (Return on Investment) of my college degree. That wasn’t something I was told to do. I chose my major because it was the closest degree to filmmaking that the University of the Incarnate Word offered.
By the time I was applying for universities, I had become a skilled video editor. This was all thanks to a church photographer who introduced me to the church video guy who in turn introduced me to Sony Vegas 6.
A lot happened, but they were all coincidences. Life events that carried me to where I am now. There was no plan. Or at least I didn’t make the plan.
The past 16 years of my life were shaped by a moment. I identify myself as a creative. My identity and my career path can trace their roots to a moment.
The revelation I had about why I chose my major doesn’t end there. Instead, it leads me to an even more profound discovery.
There are those who pursue dreams and those who pursue opportunities. Sometimes the opportunity is snookering a dreamer out of some cash while they are in pursuit of a pipe dream.
Entering college I was in pursuit of inviable dreams. Many students, particularly creative students, pursue dreams that will never materialize. Somewhere toward the end, we recognize our error.
Others see our folly as an opportunity.
JumpCut Academy comes to mind. I saw an advertisement on Instagram for JumpCut Academy promising to teach me the secrets of becoming a YouTube star. Of course, I want to become a YouTube star! So I sign up for more information.
I begin receiving a series of emails that attempted to play weird tricks on my mind. I think that’s called marketing (an aggressive form of it). The emails try to convince me that I’m one of the few who will gain access to secrets, but I must act quickly because he won’t share them with slackers! When that doesn’t work he tries other methods.
In case your wondering, the content is recycled, the urgency is fictitious, and you’ll likely never become a YouTube star—but a sucker is born every minute. Here’s a sample from one of his emails:
Hey – Jesse here,
Ok, so this makes a lot of people uncomfortable…
But it’s something we NEED to talk about.
Here’s the deal:
The past few days, I’ve been seeing a LOT of this:
(These guys – and many others – loved the free video trainings…)
Those are comments on the free hour of video lessons we released last week teaching you about the opportunity of starting a profitable YouTube channel.
Clearly, this is something that most people were unaware of. They didn’t realize it’s possible to make a full-time living on YouTube even with a small audience. And I think that’s why people LOVED our video training so much.
But here’s where it gets really weird…
When I asked people if they received a ton of value from our training (and if they’re going to start their own channels), the response was overwhelming “YES.”
And to be fair, a lot of them took action and enrolled in Jumpcut Academy 2.0.
There was also a 2nd group that responded in a disturbing way:
They said they wanted to launch their own channels… and they said they wanted to be a part of Jumpcut Academy 2.0… but they became very, very nervous at the thought of enrolling.
Can you guess what they were nervous about?
These people were so afraid that they made up excuses for why they couldn’t join.
- “It probably won’t work for me…”
- “I’m not sure if now is the right time…”
- “I just don’t have enough experience to do this…”
This list goes on, and on, and on.
Even though they said they wanted to improve their lives…
…when faced with an actual opportunity to do so – they let it pass them by.
I have to be honest: This is heartbreaking for me.
Why is it that when someone is faced with an opportunity like Jumpcut Academy 2.0, they’re so afraid to take the plunge?
Why won’t they invest in themselves and their future? (Especially considering we offer a 365 money back guarantee with the only requirement being that you actually do the work.)
I’ll tell you why:
Because society trains us to shy away from self-investment:
We’re conditioned to buy a new $700 iPhone… every single year.
We’re told it’s normal to pay $1,000+ for a new TV even though the old one works just fine.
We’re taught that you need to buy the new Call of Duty for $60 (plus $60 worth of DLC), every year even though it’s exactly the same as the last one.
But you know what we’re NOT told to do?
Invest in our futures (and ourselves).
How many people do you know who spend more money on acquiring skills, knowledge, and real-world experience than “stuff” – crap that they don’t need?
Probably very few… if any at all.
For once, can we just face the facts: Society wants you to be lazy and unsuccessful.
They want you to spend money on things – not thoughts.
I’m sure that seems like a crazy concept to you right now. And I bet you think I’m just saying that because I want you to enroll in Jumpcut Academy.
But would you be willing to consider the wild possibility that BOTH of those things are true?
Listen – I’m not going to lie to you: I am trying to convince you to enroll.
I am NOT ashamed of asking for an investment in a step-by-step program that I spent years – and $100,000’s – pouring my real-world knowledge, experience, and advice into.
(This is a topic for a different day, but: Why are people so afraid of getting paid for the value they add to the world?)
Anyway – my point is this:
Do you think the elites who run colleges want you to realize you can succeed in life without spending $50,000 or more on college?
Do you think the guys who run big companies would rather you buy a bunch of their mindless products (and work for them for minimum wage)… or learn how to make money on your own and maybe even COMPETE against them in business?
If you can see through the fog, then click here and enroll in Jumpcut Academy 2.0 while it’s available for the next 6 days.
I’m sick and tired of people who have so much potential getting sucked into the “traditional path” in life.
Let’s change the way things work.
P.S. Do you think this guy regrets investing in himself? He landed a $3,500 brand deal after going through Jumpcut Academy.
(“THANK YOU JUMPCUT!!!!!!”)
And all he had to do was accept free tickets to a basketball game and film himself for his channel. (Sounds tough, eh?)
I’m not trying to be overly cynical here, but if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Salespeople tend to bombard you with sensational emails like this one. This should be a clear sign that something is wrong.
But I digress. My post isn’t about JumpCut Academy, it’s about asking why. The word why lead me to this discussion about psychological marketing. About how dreamers are exploited by opportunists.
What Will You Discover by Asking Why?
Had I never asked myself why I chose my major, I would have never unraveled my thoughts far enough to uncover this.
The word why prevents us from thinking we are immune to manipulation. It picks apart flawed reasoning. It helps us develop and discover new things.
I encourage you to ask why, not just to other people, but to yourself. Ask yourself why you chose, did, or believe something. You may find out that those thoughts were not originally yours or that they were based on something unexpected.
Isn’t why a powerful word?