A little over a year and a half ago, I had a tough career decision to make. There were several options in front of me which didn’t make it any easier. I had just quit my job and published my first book. I could have gotten a job at a startup, or I could have stayed at my old company making a comfortable salary.

I had a vision for education that I wanted to share with the world. I couldn’t contain it. So I did what any clear-thinking individual would do: I sold most of my belongings and took out a loan to buy an RV.

I believed (still do) that most people are wasting their potential in school. I believed that they’d be much more equipped to take on the real world and build a life of their dreams if they went off on their own and didn’t rely on their teachers. This belief felt so right, but it was so unpopular among the people around me. I felt like my ideas didn’t make sense to anyone but me, but something inside me knew that wasn’t the case.

I had something to prove, so I set out to create a movement. I wanted to do this in the most “me” way possible to show people that following their gut instead of their teachers is what will lead to success and happiness.

I’d always loved adventure and exploration, so I decided to embark on a on a cross-country RV tour to spread my vision for education by talking to college students about it. I didn’t have the money for this and I didn’t really know what would happen. I didn’t have much of a concrete plan either — I knew I couldn’t possibly plan that type of experience out from the start. But I knew exactly what I wanted, so I resolved to figure it out as I went. I just jumped in.

You can read the full story here.

Long story short, I failed. I ended up broke and unemployed living in an RV within 6 months. I was forced to paint houses for a month over the summer just so I could afford to eat. It sounds like a pathetic ending to a story, but to me it doesn’t feel that way. I have an enormous amount of pride about this entire experience.

I’m proud because I had a belief and I bought into it completely. I bet on myself. I burned the bridge behind me and allowed myself no way out but forward. I had conviction.

I set out to do exactly what I wanted regardless of the way people viewed it. I was willing to buy into my vision. Failure was a possibility all along, and I was OK with that. I knew I was doing this for the right reasons. Plenty of people called me stupid and weird, but that didn’t matter. At the end of the day, I did all of it for me. The fact that people thought me weird didn’t change the way I went about it, and it certainly didn’t change my goals or my desires.

On top of all the self-knowledge I gained on this journey, and despite my failure, this choice brought me to a group of people who shared my vision for education. This group is called Praxis. Now, I work for Praxis where I get to help people start their careers by relying on their ability, not their credentials. It’s a dream job that I didn’t think would exist.

I believe this happened because of my conviction to do the thing that felt right regardless of all the negative noise around me. Most people drift through life trying to please everyone but themselves. Their actions depend on how they will be seen, and they avoid the potential embarrassment of failure at all costs.

The best opportunities come when you bet on yourself.