A message to today’s young generation
The world is suffering from globalized sameness. For that specific reason, I deeply believe that we need a new diversity. Not one based on biological characteristics or on politics, but on a diversity of opinion and worldviews. The world needs young people who are in a hurry to learn, who open their imagination and who don’t trust the gurus. I hope you are one of these young people reading this article.
This world is crying for people who seek out conflicting opinions, who ignore the accepted standards and who embrace people who strongly disagree with them. While growing older, you will see that the world is full of echo chambers with lots of people inside who all broadcast the same thinking. Avoid these places where rules are written down in stone. In fact, following the rules does not always create success. It just eliminates extremes, both good and bad. I repeat myself: be in a hurry to learn. Not in a hurry to get validation by respecting the rules. Personally, I have always valued exposure from the other side and I’m happy to be wrong because being wrong is just an opportunity to find out more about ‘the truth’.
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to your courage
To all young people: you have the unique chance to design a new world that can even be better than the one we live in. Creating such a world requires not only critical and new thinking, but also courage. As a 40y+ human, I know that life shrinks or expands in proportion to our courage.
Have the courage to suffer – because suffering is often a moment of clarity when you can no longer deny the truth of a situation and when you are forced into uncomfortable change. Have the courage to be fearless and to take risks. Try everything you think you might want to do professionally before accepting whatever backup plan you have in the back of your head (but that you are very much hoping to avoid). Do not be intimidated by anything. The adult world is not full of gods. It’s full of people who have acquired skills and habits that work for them. So develop your own skills and habits around your unique strengths and passion.
Treat your time as a venture capital company
Some people, however, are struggling to figure out what their life mission is or what they are passionate about. Let me give you a suggestion based on my personal experience: pay attention to activities, ideas and areas where you love the process – not just the results or the outcome. People are often attracted to tasks where they can receive validation through results. However, over the years, I have learned that true fulfillment comes from love of the process. Look for something where you love the process and the results will follow.
And whenever you can – now or within 20 years – try new things. Take 5 to 10 percent of your time and treat it the way a venture capital company handles money. VC firms invest in things that have a comparatively low chance of success but, if successful, could turn into something really big. They put money in ten companies expecting seven to go bankrupt, two to break even, and one to be the next Google or Facebook. Spending 5 percent of your time trying new things, knowing you will quit most of them, can lead to great opportunities.
Dear young people, you have the power to create a better world. Are you ready to be a hero and to find your way to improve humanity in some way? We, adults, are looking forward to it! So whatever path you choose, have the courage to be the best. It’s the only market that is not too crowded. Work harder than everyone else. Outwork them all, while taking enough time for friends and family. Focus is indeed key – because the price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it…
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