By: Anna Sobczyk
I had a lot of illusions about starting college. Having grown up in a small town, I figured my move to Portland would initiate everything “falling into place.” To me, living in a big city meant an endless supply of opportunities and experiences. Six weeks after moving to Portland, nothing had fallen into place for me. I’d had no life-changing revelations, and I really started to question why I was here.
Then, of all things, a Business 101 lecture led me out of my rut. We watched a TedTalk of Simon Sinek, who developed the “Golden Circle” concept. It’s used to explain how companies communicate to consumers through three layers: what, how, and why. Most companies communicate from the outside in, starting with what and ending with why. Exceptional companies, however, will communicate the exact opposite way. Sinek demonstrates the difference this can make with Apple Inc, who begins its marketing message with answering why, ”With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” The way Apple communicates with the consumer market has separated it from its competitors. People are inexplicably drawn to Apple, simply because by starting their message with why, Apple is appealing to the emotional impulse. They recognize that profit is not a reason why to do something, but a result of a deeper reason.
Afterwards, I began to draw parallels between the lecture and myself in college. I figured the reason I came to college was to earn a degree strictly so I could get a good paying job. However, getting a job after college wasn’t the reason why I was attending, it was merely the result I expected. Even though this a result I still want, my perception of attaining it has changed. For me, college isn’t just a pathway towards a career, but also a way to cultivate and explore my interests. Until that lecture, I hadn’t realized how overwhelmed I’d become from trying to force that result. Now, I’ve stopped trying to connect my major to job titles with fat salaries in favor of choosing classes that pique my curiosity.