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If You Want to Be Truthful, Build Something (or Someone)


There are two types of truths: unpleasant ones and pleasant ones.

When we think of truthful people, we typically think about those who aren’t afraid to tell us about the unpleasant things we need to hear. These are the “facts don’t care about your feelings” types.

But truthfulness also equals “here’s what’s right with my world and this is how I will build on that.”

It’s more than just “I’m bold enough to point out what isn’t working.”

You can’t possibly be a person who keeps it real and tells it like it is if you never express appreciation, hope, and creativity.

Fearless communication isn’t just about having the guts to say “you did a terrible job” or “we’re in a terrible place” or “you’re making a terrible argument.”

It’s also about having the guts to say “I’m grateful for what you’ve done well” or “I believe we can do better” or “I think we’ve found a common ground we can build upon.”

To be honest is to be constructive, not just critical. The courage to complain is not a substitute for the courage to create.

If you want to be truthful, believe in the possibility of a better world and start building it; believe in the possibility of better people and start building them.

Sound the Alarm, Swing the Axe

Photo by Kevin Schmid on Unsplash

If your message can’t be misunderstood, I strongly doubt if it’s any good.

People will beg you to make your philosophy safe, but they’ll hit the snooze button on your ideas as soon as you do.

We complain about alarms, but there’s a reason why we use them to wake ourselves up.

A good idea is one that serves the same function as Kafka’s observation regarding a good book: to “be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”

Don’t make us comfortable. Make us feel alive.

A Few Promises You’re Not Gonna Like

I promise to stop criticizing and mocking the bad arguments that people make for going to college…

As soon as the hundreds of college opt-outs I work with on a daily basis let me know that the people in their lives have finally stopped interrogating them with those very same arguments.

I promise to stop picking on the “easy targets” who say silly things in defense of college…

As soon as the hundreds of college opt-outs I work with on a daily basis stop asking me how to deal with these “easy targets” when they go to social events and get grilled with questions about how they’re going to deal with every possible scenario for how their lives might play out without a degree.

I promise to exclusively focus on the positive aspects of what Praxis and other college alternatives are doing instead of pointing out any negative aspects of college…

As soon as the hundreds of college opt-outs I work with on a daily basis let me know that the people in their lives are ready to exclusively focus on the positive things they’re doing without bringing up the subject of college as if it’s the missing piece for a meaningful existence.

And lastly, I promise to stop picking on people who go to college….oh wait…I’ve literally never done that one before. That’s just an excuse people make to avoid the real issue: that we live in a society that exercises a religious-like devotion to attending college and we have a ugly problem with treating opt-outs as if they are heretics.

I promise to fight against that nonsense. And I promise to never apologize for it.

Introducing T.K.’s Tour of Bad Arguments for College (And yes, the world needs this tour)

Yesterday I launched a new video series with Praxis called “T.K.’s Tour of Bad Arguments for College.”

In this series, I critique and make fun of fallacious or misguided arguments people make for going to college.


Because in the daily work that I do with college opt-outs, these very types of arguments are constantly being presented to them as a basis for why they should go to college even though they may not enjoy it or believe it’s the right fit for them.

After hundreds of individual and group coaching sessions where I’ve offered my support to the opt-outs who are frustrated by these arguments, I’ve decided to make a series to provide opt-outs with a little ammo. This series will not only give them some ideas for how they can respond to their critics, but it will also invite them to have a sense of humor about the people who hate on their choices.

There’s nothing wrong with challenging college opt-outs to think twice about their decision to not go to college…


That also means there’s nothing wrong with challenging the people who challenge college opt-outs to think twice about the things they say whenever they find out that someone they know isn’t planning on going to college.

And that’s what this series is all about.

In the first episode, I address an argument from a Wall Street Journal article that claimed you’re at risk of becoming a well-paid drone if don’t attend college.

To watch my response, check out the video below:

Dear college opt-outs,

Photo by Vasily Koloda on Unsplash

Dear college opt-outs,

You really need to think critically about what you’re doing…

but not because you’re opting out of college.

Your duty to become an intelligent and open-minded person who constantly strives to follow the truth wherever it leads isn’t some kind of punishment or compensation for deciding that college is a bad fit for you.

You need to think critically about what you’re doing because that’s just part of what it means to be a decent human being…

but I digress.

Back to my point…

Dear college opt-outs,

Don’t let anyone make you feel stupid, foolish, uneducated, or guilty with bad arguments for why you should do something that you have no interest in doing.

The dreams you’re pursuing matter just as much as the dreams of all those people who get tons of congratulatory remarks on their status updates about going to college.

Congratulations on being true to yourself.

And while I strongly encourage you to think critically about everything you do, remember to do it for you.


T.K. Coleman

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