The Contrarian’s Cycle of Criticism, Acceptance, and Awe



I just wrote a massive guest post for I Will Teach You To Be Rich, the blog of New York Times best-selling author Ramit Sethi.

It’s called “The Psychology of Putting Effectiveness Before Ego, and it describes some of the reactions I got when I earned my DIY Degree. One of my best friends hated it, simply because the approach was new and unfamiliar to her. She told me it was a huge mistake and that I would surely regret it in the end. Yet, when I actually graduated (with zero debt) her position changed completely.

“I can’t believe you’re doing this” became “I wish I didn’t have student debt either.”

What happened there?

It’s a fascinating phenomenon that I call The Contrarian’s Cycle of Criticism, Acceptance, and Awe. It goes like this.

When you try a new or uncommon approach, other people will:

  1. Protest your decision
  2. Begrudgingly accept your decision
  3. Applaud your decision after it works

The key to pushing through the criticism in stage one and the passive-aggressive doubts in stage two is always focusing on the vindication in stage three.

I’ll be sending DIY Degree insider’s list subscribers an email about this soon. For now, check out the post—it lays out some of the core ideas behind my approach to college, careers, and life.


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