Recently I was talking to a friend of mine who has a fairly successful consulting business and we were discussing marketing strategies. I asked him about doing more mainstream advertising in order to gain more visibility in the local area—an idea that he quickly shut down. I asked him his reason and he told me that he wanted to be able to control who he works with. Hence, he wanted to be able to be picky with the clients he chooses to help. And then, in typical friend fashion, he proceeded to tell me about how I was exclusive as well. I think that part of human nature is to surround ourselves with people who share common interests with us. We belong to groups of people who look the same way as us, do the same things as us, and think the same way that we do. Doing this isolates us with our own kind and tends to make us exclusive in our little groups. You can’t really get more exclusive than growing up homeschooled. Your peers are your siblings and the only clique that exists is the one that you make. My entire high school experience consisted of doing homework on my bed with my dog beside me. To top it off, after high school I went to a small private school for college which was a small subculture in itself. The majority of the students, faculty, and administrators adhered (or at least claimed) to a certain set of beliefs that were very unique and also very distinguishable when compared to the mainstream typical college culture. The uniqueness of this environment lent itself to an attitude of exclusiveness because of the beliefs and practices that set the whole school apart from thousands of others. We have tons of inside jokes that would make absolutely no sense to anyone who has not been exposed to the school, its beliefs, or the accompanying subculture. All this being said, exclusiveness exists everywhere. Life consists of socialization and relationships with various people in groups. Point blank. But it’s also important to take time out to get out of our own little bubble and meet people who aren’t like us. Instead of hanging with people who we identify with, we need to take the time to talk to people who we want to identify with one day. A wise person once said to hang with people who have your solution and not your problems. Being exclusive may work for a while and it may even be to your benefit at times, but at the end of the day you separate yourself from people and experiences that could be opportunities to grow.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had conversations with women in which they talk about a man’s good traits and bad traits but then say that something that he does or believes in is an automatic deal breaker for them and thus, he is no longer under consideration for anything other than a distant friend. I believe in standards. I have them and for the most part, I stick to them. But the common theme that has been the deal breaker in conversations with numerous women is that the man does not have a college degree or above. The reasons given for this blatant disregard for anyone who doesn’t meet this standard is that there will be nothing to talk about if the man isn’t educated. In today’s society, so much weight is placed on where you went to school, what your grades were, what your degree was in, if you finished college. This has happened to the extent that there are people who honestly think that going to college is an indication of intelligence. Maybe it’s the homeschooler in me, but I honestly think that having an education is not an indication of intelligence at all. At all. These days you don’t even have to be smart to make good grades. I’m definitely a witness to that. You just have to know the system and how to find the right resources to get the information that you need. While I don’t necessarily consider myself “educated,” I probably somewhat fit the criteria for that particular term. I can honestly say that the many of the smartest and most intelligent people I know do not have college degrees. People who think outside the box tend to make more money and are more successful than those who don’t. Education is a box. My point in saying all this is that you miss out on a lot when you immediately disregard someone because they don’t meet a particular educational requirement. College is honestly not for everyone and there are plenty of people who have made millions without stepping foot inside a college classroom. It’s about the desire to learn and the ability to find the resources you need to get where you want to go. These days, almost everything you would get in a college classroom is accessible on some level through the internet at a much lower price. There are so many better things you can use to screen potential significant others but I don’t think that highest education level should be one of them.