More Powerful Than You Know

THE UN-COMFORT ZONE with Robert Wilson

“Writing is not a job; it’s a hobby!” thundered my father when I told him my plans for college. “You need to get a profession: medicine, law, engineering or accounting.”

I cheerlessly acquiesced and enrolled in a Pre-Med program, but at the end of my first year, after struggling through Chemistry, I changed my major to Philosophy. When I told Dad, he grunted, “That and a dime will get you a cup of coffee.” He passed away shortly after that but his words echoed in the back of my mind for years.

After graduation I searched for a job in writing. At the same time, I wrote short stories like crazy, and sent them off to dozens of magazines. Years passed and I failed to find a job in writing, so I supported myself by waiting tables and bartending. Meanwhile, rejection letters from the magazines began piling up, and I was beginning to get discouraged.

Then one day, I met a friend for a beer in a bar near the campus of my alma mater. When I visited the restroom, some graffiti written on the wall with an arrow pointing to the toilet paper dispenser caught my eye. It read: “Bachelor of Arts Degrees – take only one, please!” Rather than laugh, I grimaced and thought, “Boy, does that sound like my Dad.”

Five years had gone by, and other than a few freelance jobs writing advertising copy, I had not made a penny from writing. I was beginning to re-think my life, when I recalled the encouraging words from my ninth grade English teacher.

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Robert Evans Wilson, Jr. is a motivational speaker and humorist. He works with companies that want to be more competitive and with people who want to think like innovators. For more information on Robert’s programs please visit

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