Venture capitalist Peter Thiel has put out there the meme: Create something new.
That's frontloaded in his bestselling book "Zero to One." And, as Kathryn Rubino reports on Abovethelaw.com, that was a theme in Thiel's commencement speech at Hamilton College. Here you can read Rubino's coverage.
Great wisdom. After all, Thiel observes there is already the social network Facebook. So, you don't want to aim to create another social network. Focus on what would be new.
But once we are juniors in college the pull force toward the new has been socialized out of us. We have been terrorized into thinking compulsively about making it out there. And we search for what seems a proven path. That's the way it goes. One of Thiel's missions is to discourage folks from attending college.
Sure, there are those who start successful businesses in the dorm. I have ghostwritten a book for them. And there are those who have no strategic plan for making it and knock about. One of those was my boss in the Fortune 100. But, they are exceptions.
Probably it takes authentic adversity to blow up the socialization. For Thiel it seemed to be a combo package of hating BigLaw (he quit after less than a year) and being rejected for a clerkship at the U.S. Supreme Court.
Somehow that double shock erased the memory of what he should be doing. He migrated to California. There he did create something new: Paypal. Continually, TechCrunch, Re/Code, and BusinessInsider let us know what else new Thiel is up to.
Unfortunately, it seems to take a brutal bang to the ego that you are doing it all wrong to stop doing all that. Maybe that can be administered in a systematic way to most college juniors. The forces of liberation can march in, engage them about their Plan, and then expose how unhappy they will be, along with probably not achieving those goals.
Once they recover in the college mental-health unit from the meltdown, then they can begin to create something new.
What about those who have already earned the JD? Corner each in the rest room at the law firm and ask: "Who made you do this?" Then, just like Thiel, he or she can simply walk out of the law-firm door. And not return. At the very least, what will be created is a new life. I had walked out of Harvard Law School after a month. Who had made me do it, that is, go there? There are too many to list.