Gary North on current economic affairs and investment marketsGary North -- Specific Answers
HomeContact MeTell a FriendText SizeSearchMember Area
Gain immediate access to all of our current articles, the question-and-answer forums, dozens of free books, and article archives. Click here for details on how to join.

About This Site
Academic Gaps
Articles
Capitalism and the Bible
Clichés of Protectionism
College Finances
Debt Management
Ellen Brown: Critique
Federal Reserve Charts
Gary North's Free Books
Get Published Here!
Gold Price & My Report
Keynes Project
Price Index (U.S.A.)
Questions for Jim Wallis
Remnant Review
Social Security/Medicare
Sustained Revival
Tea Party Economist
U.S. Debt Clock
Yield Curve
Your YouTube Channel
Gary North's Miscellany
Advertising
Blogging
Budgeting for Wealth
Business Start-Up
Career Advancement
Digital Tools
Education That Works
Evernote: Free Notes
Federal Reserve Policy
Fireproof Your Job
Goal-Setting for Success
Great Default
Inheritance Strategies
Insurance
International Investing
Investment Basics
Job and Calling
Keynesian Economics
Leadership
Marketing Case Studies
Obamanomics
Precious Metals
Real Estate
Retirement
Safe Places
State of the Economy
Stocks and Bonds
Study Habits
Video Channel Profits
War With Iran
Members' Free Manuals
Our Products
Contact Me
Help
Tell a Friend
Text Size
Your Account
My 100% Guarantee
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use


This site powered by MemberGate

Dear Miss V: About Your College Scholarship. . . .

Gary North
Printer-Friendly Format

April 21, 2011

Dear Miss V:

Your home school education has worked well. At age 16, you have beaten the system. You jumped through all of the mandatory academic hoops without ever having walked into a tax-funded school classroom. You have not received a standard textbook education. You are ahead of your chronological peers.

You will soon be off to college. I understand that you have done well on several CLEP exams, so you will be entering with some college credit. You have also won a full-tuition scholarship in piano performance, so your parents will not have to fund the bulk of the costs. This is good. But it is not entirely good. There are no free lunches in life.

The scholarship is a major temptation: a private education funded by your own talent and hard work. But college will cost you more than money. It will cost you time: at least four years.

Usually, a 16-year-old's time is cheap. High-paying jobs are not plentiful these days even for college graduates. This means that the opportunity cost of going to college is usually quite low. Such is not the case with you.

You are a gifted pianist. You have a strong work ethic. But you are an even more gifted painter. There are a lot of very fine classical piano performers out there. There are not many gifted painters.

What if you devoted the next four years, including summers, to improving your skills with the paint brush? At 8 hours a day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year, the total is 8,000 hours. In Malcolm Gladwell's book, Outliers, we learn that 10,000 hours of intense work usually are required to become a virtuoso. This investment of time does not guarantee such status, but it is necessary, though not sufficient.

If you devoted this amount of time, plus three hours a day plus Saturdays to more CLEP exams and upper division distance learning, you will be able to earn a B.A. degree in four years, including summers. You can do this for about $15,000. That is a rigorous schedule, but it can be done. It is what virtuosos do. If you can find a mentor who paints well, that would be ideal. You can finish college with distance learning in four years, even when serving as an apprentice.

Of course, you could not practice your piano, which you are devoted to. So, what about six hours painting and two hours with piano? That would cut your painting time to 6,000 hours. That still puts you ahead of your peers.

You could probably make a living today by selling your paintings, though not a good living. In four years, if you put in 6-hour days, you should be able to make a middle-class living. You will have that option for the rest of your life. Just keep at it, improving your painting skills. Spending an hour a day on marketing would be wise. Get a Website up and running.

The odds against your becoming a successful piano concert performer are enormous. That career would also require travel. Painting can be done at home.

I realize that there are a lot of young Chinese painters who sell their paintings for very little money. But you could become a regional painter. That would give you an edge.

Your likelihood of making an unique impact with your painting is good. The likelihood of doing the same with classical piano is unlikely. It's a question of supply and demand.

I come to the issue of job and calling. What is a calling? It is the most important thing you can do in which you would be most difficult to replace. That clearly is painting at this stage in your career.

Can you make piano playing your job? Unlikely. What about teaching at a low wage in a private high school? Maybe. Teaching ungifted students, decade after decade, yes. But you should be able to make a lot more with your paintings.

I knew a graduate of Julliard forty years ago. He drove a cab for a living. Today, he helps rich people put together high-end home music systems. Yet he was a gifted performer. His calling did not become his job.

It is always difficult to identify your calling. You are in a unique position: you may be able to make this choice at age 16. I was 18 when I did this, and I was young. It is not that classical piano is anything to dismiss lightly. But, compared to your potential in painting, I think you should consider mastery there as a greater opportunity.

I'll tell you what. You can sell me a painting for $500 or a CD for $17. I'd rather have the painting.


Printer-Friendly Format

 Tip of the Week
Sign up for my free
Tip of the Week
Verification Characters:    Type     U  E  M  B  K     here   


Tip of the week archives
On what this icon
means, and how it
can help you,
click here
 Q & A Forums
General Q&A Forum
Advertising and Resumés
Affiliates
American History Topics
Backyard Food Gardening
Banking and Politics
Blog Sites and Web Sites
Books Worth Reading
Bumper Sticker Slogans
Business Forum
Buying Smart
Christian Service Forum
College -- The Cheap Way
Copywriting
Education Alternatives
Food Storage
For Women Only
Fukushima
GNC Benefits
GNC Testimonials
Gold and Silver
Great Default Forum
Health and Diet
Health Insurance
Homeschooling
Investments Forum
Iran War
Job, Calling, and Career
Leadership Development
Legacy Building
Less Dependent Living
Local Political Action
Non-Retirement Forum
One Good Idea
Police State
Privacy
Public Speaking
Real Estate Forum
Remnant Review Forum
Safe Places Forum
Taxation Policy
Typographical Errors
Video Production Basics

 Archives
Reality Check
 Discussion Forum
Search Discussion


Recent Forum Posts
• Retirement Fund: Advertising budget
• Kotlikoff says SIPC insurance is a fraud
• How to Evaluate A Country's Economic Condition
• Eugene Fama's Dimension Funds
• Financial Management Sites
• Don't Touch Principle Follow Up
• FOREX (I use OANDA.com) - trading ideas -
• Funding Retirement vs. Paying Off Mortgage
• Timing Canadian dollar purchase
• Investing in specific stocks
• Investing in Christian Businesses
• Asset seizure risk
• 403B Sidelines
• Ammo hoarding
• Abandon Ship?
• Housing Costs
• I inherited a house in SF CA, rent it or sell it?
• Any advice on how to deal with city council
• RE investment dinner and seminar
• Goodbye California, Hello Texas
• Would you consider selling using an auction?
• First debt free rental done
• Plaster wall repair and paint
• No-recourse loan in an IRA
• Buying duplex for my 72 yo sis to run from afar
• Depreciation versus maintenance expenses
• lease to own
• Real Estate Wholesaling - Direct Marketing
• Selling a house without a real estate agent
• Inspection before listing house
• No City for Old People
• Will you die getting to your bug out location?
• teaching English overseas - some questions
• The state with the most Liberty
• Switzerland and Firearms
• On "Zip Code Searching On The Web"
• Crash Course in becoming an Expat
• Anyone tried Puerto Rico?
• Chattanooga, Tennessee
• Middle Class squeezed out of Chicago
• An Article on Chile
• 5 Amazing, Cheap Places to Live as an Expat
• Oil Field Job Security
• Moving to TriCities Area
• PJ ORourke on the Baby Boom
• advice on how do I interact with my older parents?
• Do You Sincerely Want to Be Rich? Why?
• Req. For No 401(k)/Other Pensions via Relocatio
• Cashing out 401K to pay student debt?
• SS @ 62 and still working
• Desolation or Prosperity?
• I take it Retirement Armageddon is not available
• Post Retirement Career
• Social Security - when to start collecting
• 401K Risk
• Detroit Retirees Fight 83% Health Care Cut
• Lump Sum Early DROP
• Underfunded pensions
• 401k strategy
• Can I Avoid Medicare Entirely?
• Kremlin Dramatically Changes Rules Of Doing Busine
• Vote fraud in Scotland election?
• advice for a young father
• Consider Canadian drugstores4 cheaper prescription
• Why so many Americans would consider Seceding?
• A generation of sissies
• Opinions please
• Gold & Silver IRA ~ YOU Hold the Metal
• The Economic Recovery as Seen from the Air
• The Code
• Which Global Hegemon Is on Shifting Sands?
• Illustration of Ill Lustration
• Cataract surgery in India
• Class of 1964 in Rural Virginia
• Staying with the Dying Company
• Good Marketing Book
• Day Care in Cary
• RE: If This Is Your Boss
• Entrepreneuring in a socialist nation
• Undoing the Walmart model?
• Quickbooks Alternatives for Small Family Business
• Make a few bucks selling books
• Retail vs Online - a personal experience
• freeman workbook on entrepreneurism
• Selling ad space in my newsletter
• Angel's Game
• aweber list and marketing
• Paid counseling web site
• Wife's small business - Spanish Immersion 4 chldr
• Alternative to Quicken 2014 needed