Don’t Worry, College will Prepare You for the Real World.

Don’t Worry, College will Prepare You for the Real World.

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at

The idea for this article came from my friend, and future great seminar leader, Theo Androus.

They lied. When you were in high school they said, “Take these courses and you’ll be ready for college.” They lied. When you were in college they said, “Take these courses and you’ll be ready for the real world.” They lied.

How many courses did you take in positive attitude, goal setting, responsibility, listening, pride, and understanding others? How important are those lessons in the successful execution of your job function?

The courses you really need, they never gave. Why? Bad question. Heaven forbid we should make academia accountable for an individual’s preparation for the real world. Responsible for offering the educational programs we really need. NOTE: I’m not saying abandon what we’ve got, I’m recommending we supplement the stuff that makes us excellent Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy players (Geography, Literature, History), for the information and lessons we could really use.

If you’re in sales or customer service, there’s a set of beginners skills to master in order to succeed. These elements are prerequisites to the actual selling or serving process. They give you the background to tackle the task. Asking you to sell or serve without these skills is like asking you to do algebra without being able to add and subtract.

Here’s a list of courses that would prepare you for success in relationships, friendships and the working world. Imagine the fun you could have had in school if it was real world oriented. How many have you had?

1. The Magic of Creating a Positive Attitude. We become what we think about. The magic of creating a positive attitude. The secret of success. Building quality performance that starts with a positive attitude. Why not offer a course on how to establish and maintain a one?

2. Setting and Exceeding Goals. Everyone knows they should set goals very few know how. Don’t confuse activity with accomplishment. Goals are the road map to success. Selecting and exceeding goals increases chances for success and personal satisfaction. When’s the last time you took a goal setting course?

3. Establishing Pride on the Job. Having pride in yourself, your company and what you do. Liking yourself, your and your career. Building a belief system. Developing pride skills are critical, especially in sales.

4. Understanding People. Sometimes people need our help and have a strange way of expressing it. A brisk walk in the other persons shoes to better understand how to deal with them. This course is the gateway to sales and customer service.

5. Taking Responsibility. For your actions, what happens to you, and the success of your company. If you think everyone else is at fault except you…think again. How to accept and take responsibility. Take ownership of your job and your dealings with customers and coworkers.

6. Effective Listening. The best way to know how to serve a customer or help a coworker is to listen. The vital importance of listening with the intent to understand, and then with the intent to respond. Listening is the weakest personal development skill we possess.

7. Effective Communication. Communicating to be understood. Coworkers and customers want clear concise information. Communication skills the most important, and least taught skills in the universe. Why?

8. Embracing Change. Change occurs every day and it’s resisted often fought, even though it’s often better than what we now have. We need to teach the ability of how to capture the opportunity of change.

9. Building Friendships and Long Term Relationships. Establishing, building and maintaining relationships that last. Methods and techniques to build respect, friendships, and relationships with coworkers and customers. The “value first” method of dealing with others.

10. Making Effective Decisions. Gaining the ability to make effective decisions (which means taking risks). Why and how decisions are made. The steps of effective decision making, is combined with the message that it’s OK to make mistakes. Taking responsibility without fear and guilt.

11. Working as a Team. You can’t make it alone. The power of one plus one is ten times greater than two. Understanding how teams work individually and collectively will lead to success.

That’s the curriculum I recommend. Wish I ran the schools. Oops, better run my own life first. If you’re ready to resign your position as general manager of the universe, and want to get these lessons instead of blaming others you’ll have to seek out self help or professionally developed programs.

Thank goodness you are responsible for your own success. Take control of your own personal development to achieve your goals and dreams while the school systems continue to wallow in their own mediocrity, and persist in telling the big lie.

FREE GitBit… Want a test to see how positive your attitude is? A simple test to see how you rate in the most important area of personal development. Just go to, click Access GitBit, register and enter the word ATTITUDE.