Join the Military or Go To College?

Look, I’m not here to tell you that one decision may be good for everybody. For instance, for some, college is good. You know, it works for them, so for some, it’s military, intern, backpacking and traveling, but today, I’m going to make a case to you on why this may be an option. I’m going to explain to three different audiences. One is a 13, 14-year-old kid who doesn’t really know what they want to do. They’ve always thought, “Maybe military.” I’m going to give you some points on why you’re going to have a lot of benefits of joining military. The other one’s going to be an 18-year-old kid now, becoming an adult. You’re graduating high school. You already did. You’re looking at possibly military, and it’s the parent. Some of the parents are worried about their kids joining the military. I’ll make the case to all three, and then, you make the decision at the end what you want to do because for me, I will never forget.

I was 14 years old the first time I thought about military because a guy named Jesus Guerrera came up to me in Glendale. He said, “Hey, you want to consider joining the military?” I got some options. I laughed at him. I said, “I’ll never join the army.” Four years later, I went to him, and he recruited me. You never know the story, but I hope this makes an impact on the way you look at military.

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#1. Classroom-style teaching versus real life

In college, it’s a lot of classroom. Somebody talks from up there, and you sit down. You take notes. You’re learning to your best abilities, but we know the best way we learn is hands-on. It’s somebody working there with me. It’s somebody showing me, “Here’s how you do it. Look how I do it, and then, you do it. Look how I do it. Then, you do it.”

My kids go to a private school. Yesterday, we had a parent … What do you call this? A parent-teacher conference type of thing. I went to it last night. One of the things they believe in, which is the reason why I like this school is they believe kids learn more by playing, by building, by doing instead of lecturing. I think college, sometimes, it’s way too much lecturing. There isn’t somebody getting there and showing to them how to do it. Now, if there is a college you’re going to that does do that, more power to them, but most colleges, it’s more classroom style.


#2. Problem solving on the go

I don’t know if you learn problem solving on the go in college. I do know you’re going to learn it in the military all the time. I mean I can’t tell you how many times we’d be in the back 40 or we’re working in the fields. Something would come up, and you don’t have a long time to be thinking about it. You got to figure out a way to solve it right there. “Hey, John, what are we going to do?” “Let’s do this.” “Okay, great. Give me that. Give me. Let’s grab this.” You have to go on the go, so it created your brain to be able to constantly think about problem solving on the go. By the way, one of the things that you’ll realize value to, and I talk about one subject mainly, which is entrepreneurship. Everything is around entrepreneurship. You will see a lot of these things that you learn in the military will help somebody who wants to one day run a business.


#3. Teamwork

They don’t teach you teamwork in college. Honestly, think about it. They do not teach you teamwork in college. Maybe a couple group projects you do, but there’s not really emphasis on teamwork. Do you realize, I would tell you everything we did in the military was all teamwork. Everything we did from bootcamp to AIT to being at the 101st Airborne Division Air Assault to breakfast, to running, to exercising to working to projects. Everything was teamwork. Everything was you have a buddy. Everything was you have somebody. You got to have their back to have your back. Everything they taught you was about teamwork. One of the things I will tell you that’s the toughest things any CEO, leader, parent, coach, the toughest thing anyone struggles with is to create an environment where everybody is working together as a team.

I’ve been running a business for a long time. I’m going to tell you something here. One of the things I miss from the military when I got out was the comradery of how it was to build a team. I told myself, whatever I do, wherever I work, I’m always going to bring that tool. When I worked at Bally’s, it was absolute teamwork. When we kicked every other gym’s butt, it was teamwork. When I went into sales, it was teamwork. When I was running a company, it was teamwork. When it’s running a family, team. Everything to me is stemmed from teamwork. College is too much about you, you, you, you, you. Military was about team. We can do something big together.

#4. Diversity

I’m from Iran, okay? I joined the military, and I go to a bootcamp. I’m in South Carolina, and there’s people there from South Dakota, North Dakota, Mississippi. You got Arkansas. You got people from Oklahoma, people from Montana. They have never met a Middle-Eastern before, right? I didn’t know anybody from New York or Miami or Chicago or all these other places. You hang out together, and you learn about different diversity, and you learn about cultures. You learn about certain communities. You learn about what’s important to them, and what’s important to … You learn so much about diversity that, yes, you may pick up in college because may make the case and say, “Well, in college, people go to college from all across the country as well.”

In many cases, from all over the world. I get it, but you’re in the classroom. You don’t have to do anything with them. You’re just in a classroom. In the military, you have to work with them. You have to get to know them because it’s teamwork. I have to get to know who you are because I’m going to work on this project with you for three weeks. I have to know you. I don’t have to know you in college. I may party with you, but I don’t have to know you. We’re just in a classroom together.

#5. Independence

Smallest listing, watch this. The smallest thing is you have to wash your own clothes. You have to iron your clothes. You have to learn about starch and crease and shining your shoes and making sure your room is clean, right? You got to mop the floor. When’s the last time a teenager mopped the floor seven days a week? You got to learn how to clean. You’ll learn a lot of the independent stuff that you have to make decisions on your own. You got to make decisions. It’s on you now. There is no more hiding behind mommy and daddy. Some of the parents that are afraid of having their kids join the military at the same like, “I want my kids to also be independent.” Yes, but you know? A little bit of this that makes a lot of sense, right? You learn a lot about those. By the way, sometimes, a teenager was like, “Get off my back. Let me make my own decisions a little bit for myself.” The military may not be a bad option for you.

#6. Mental and emotional toughness

Honestly, if you ask me, I was asking Jessica earlier. I said, “What is the opposite of a softie?” You know, somebody who is a softie. I see a lot of people that are soft. I see a lot of people that are too sensitive. I see a lot of people that are too emotional. I see a lot of people that are not too stable. I just see a lot of that. By the way, I’m not just talking about millennials, Gen X’s. This is a young generation thing, not at all. I was a softie. Completely in high school, I was a softie. The military toughened me up mentally and emotionally. I learned what it is to be mentally tough. I learned what it is to be emotionally tough.

By the way, there’s a part of it that you may go into bootcamp and realize you can’t hack it, and you get out. There’s a part of you when you go in, and you realize you can do a lot more than you thought you could do. By the way, in the business world, if you are not mentally and emotionally tough, the business world definitely ain’t for you. This could be a good wake-up call into one day running your own business.

I got a message yesterday. What was it? Guy on Snapchat. What was he, marines? He’s in marines. He watches every single Valuetainment video. He says, “I’m in the marines right now.” He shows me his entire barracks. He says, “I watch every single Valuetainment video because I cannot wait to get out of the marines so I can become an entrepreneur.” Well, good for him, because he’s also got the mental and the emotional toughness from being in the marines.

#7.Hands-on leadership

Let me tell you about hands-on leadership. Oh my gosh. Someone’s working with you constantly. I talked about it briefly about real life style, but you have somebody’s always hands-on with you. There’s a certain level of accountability. I would put seven and eight together. This is why I have it like this.

#8. Discipline

You got to be disciplined. Let me explain.

First time I went to college, and I went into my classroom. It was me and this other guy named Armand. He runs a business that does 12 million dollars a year, very successful guy. We got our class, and the professor’s name is Van Dam, ok? What a great name, by the way, English teacher, Van Dam. We go into this class, and he says, “Hey, I just want you guys to know this. You’re officially adults. If you don’t want to be in my classroom, you don’t have to be in my classroom. There are no roll calls to all the freshmen here. You don’t have to” … He went through this whole thing. I looked at him, and I’m like, “You got to be kidding me. These guys are serious. I thought they were kidding that you don’t have to be in a classroom.” No, you don’t have to be in a classroom. I said, “Bro, let’s get out of here.” We got up. We went outside. We sat in front of the cafeteria. We played spades every single day. We never went to Mr. Van Dam’s classroom.

A girl there would tell us what the homework was. We would do our best, and that was it, but we went to play spades. We would play spades because there is no accountability. That teacher doesn’t care if you come to the classroom or not. In a military, you have to come to the classroom. I mean what do you mean you’re not coming to training? You’re going to get an Article 15. You have certain responsibilities and accountability, which in some ways, this teaches that to become a habit because you always show up. Sometimes, this game of life is just about showing up. Sometimes, college tells you, you don’t have to show up if you don’t want to show up. Military shows you, you got to show up.

#9. Seeing the world.

You’re going to travel and see the world. I can tell you for myself, when people ask me questions, and they say about how much fun I had, man, I had a lot of fun in the army. I mean really. I had a lot of fun in the army. I am always grateful that Instagram wasn’t around when I was in the army. You have no idea how grateful I am that Instagram came out after my partying days because it would be embarrassing. Some of the short clips and pictures you would see about my army days on how hard we partied in the army when we saw the world. You’re going to see the world. You’re going to have a good time.

#10. Respect

You’ll learn respect for elders. You’ll learn respect for the game. You’ll learn respect. It teaches respect for the opponent. It teaches respect for the enemy. It teaches respect for your competition because you always have to be prepared if an enemy decides to attack you. There’s respect for a lot of different things, right, that you’ll learn, but they teach you that in the military.

#11. Constantly being challenged.

You’re always going to be pushed. I don’t care what it is. There isn’t a single minute that you’re not being pushed. You’re always being challenged to improve.

#12. You stay in shape

You want to be successful in life, you got to have energy, enthusiasm. You got to have stamina. If you don’t have the energy, you don’t stay in shape, you’re just not going to cut it in the world of business because you’re going to last a long time. In the world of military, every day, you have to exercise when you’re in the military.

#13. Lesser chances of doing drugs.

Now, don’t get me wrong here. You’re going to see drugs. I saw a lot of drugs. One that I’m doing guard duty, and I’m going to one of my guys’ rooms. He had a mountain of nose candy on his table. You know what nose candy is. It’s cocaine, right? He had a mountain of cocaine. I’m like … I don’t want to say his name. I said, “Brother, you cannot be doing all this cocaine.” He says, “Well, a guy named [Rob 00:11:33] gave it to me.” I even knew this other guy. I said, “I get it, but you can’t do it. You’re going to go to jail.” A month later, he gets caught. He goes to military prison. It’s not the way to do it. Everybody saw, if you do cocaine in the military, you’re going to go to prison. You definitely don’t want to go in the military prison, right? There’s a lot of accountability that if you did any of that stuff, you lose it. You lose your rank. You lose everything.

In college, if you smoke pot, do you lose a class? Do you go from sophomore to a freshman? No. There is no accountability. No one cares if you do drugs. As a matter of fact, you know, a lot of people do drugs in college. Military, if you do, there is consequences. You work your butt off to become an E-5 or an E-6 or an E-4. You screw up. You’re going to go back down. That fear of losing that, people protect themselves from not doing the drug part.

#14. Benefits.

You got a lot of benefits. Listen. Benefits is one, healthcare. I’ll blow it right now. They don’t have the best benefits that they take care with the VAs, but I’m going to tell you benefits on a different side. When I say benefits, this is what I mean. I got hired at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter at 21 years old when I got my series seven, and I became a broker, I got hired because the guy who hired me, a man named Dave Kirby liked the fact that I had a military background. That’s why he hired me. He saw my resume. He said, “Do you have any college experience?” I say, “A little bit. I went to Santa Monica Community College and Glendale Community College, but that’s all I got.” He says, “Do you have a four-year or two-year?” I don’t. It was me and another girl who graduated in Berkeley. She did a four-year program in two and a half years. Genius girl. He says, “But you were in the military, right? They teach you discipline and hard work in the military.” “Yes.” “I like that. You have the job as well.”

Both of us were hired. She was college. I was military. We both were hired. The benefits on the resume being in the military helps you to do a lot of other things in your career. I like when I’m hiring somebody if they have military background, I know their skin is thick. They’re not soft. They’re not weak. They’re willing to work hard they’re disciplined. They know what it is to work like a team. I know that, so I like that on resumes. I like working. Matter of fact, the top earners that I work with, the best sales people in our company, he has military experience. He was in the marines for eight years. He did three tours in Afghanistan and all these other places. He’s tough. He’s great at bringing everybody together. I like that part, right? I don’t have to call this person, not knowing if he’s going to get sensitive, upset at me because he comes from that world.

#15. College paid for

If you go to college, you don’t necessarily learn discipline but if you go military, you can go to college at the same time. There was a lot of guys that were in the unit with me. You know, military endorses you to go to college. They want you to go to college. They don’t mind if you have classrooms that night. There was a lot of guys that got their four-year degrees when they were in there for four years as well at the same time, so you can get your Bachelor’s when you’re in there. Get all these other benefits and still get your college degree while you’re in the military. They’re going to give you scholarships for that as well.

#16. You will definitely work hard.

I mean I can tell you, I never thought I could work 36 hours straight until I did. You’re going to, without coffee, without anything, just water. You’re going to work hard. You’re going to push that limit where you hit. When you hit that limit, you know what you start realizing afterwards? When you got to another company or wherever you want to move up in a company, there’s one things you’re not afraid of. You are not afraid of out-working anybody because nothing’s going to be more work than the work you did in the military. Nothing is. There’s not a single job you’ll ever do that will be more work than the military. It’s just not going to be, not going to be, so that will give you an edge as well in the military of learning how to work hard.

These are 16 points. By the way, if somebody can come and do a video in saying 16 reasons why you ought to join the college instead of military, they can give their arguments. There probably is going to be some valid arguments there as well, but I’m just telling you right now. I would say for every 20 that goes to college, only a couple go to the military. There’s a lot of benefits of getting involved in the military. If you have any questions, thoughts, comments, comment on the bottom. If you haven’t yet subscribed to this channel, click here to subscribe to the channel. 




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