It seems that many young people today get to a conjuncture in education and are overwhelmed by the amount of choices that they are asked to make. And, in the absence of impartial guidance, they can be influenced by other people’s experiences—diverting them from a truly passionate path of their own.
Is this simply because we have an outdated way of helping people develop talent?
An educational conjuncture is a combination of events that provide us with choices. The decisions we make regarding these choices come at pivotal times in our lives, and they highlight the path ahead. It’s clear to me that many young people are unsure of what they want to do in the future, so they look to the broad base of career categories others occupy and ask, “Well, where do I fit in?”
Is it really a surprise that the young feel deflated engaging in such a process?
While we are truly in the “information age” when it comes to figuring out career progression decisions, the large majority of young adults still feel alone in the process. We might think that having all this access is a bonus, but deflated feelings often come up and become exaggerated unless we offer ways to help them navigate this sea of information.
A great example of this is my friend “Rob.” He felt a lot of pressure from his peer group, who were focused on financially oriented subjects. His parents also were in finance, so he thought that would be a reliable career and decided to study financial mathematics. He persevered through college and was rewarded with a degree. He then worked his way up from the bottom of a financial firm, where it took him five years to get to a place of stability. Now, at 30, he finally realizes the truth: He never wanted to have this career! Finance simply wasn’t his passion. What a waste to spend time and energy pursuing a path that did not provide him with happiness. This experience is saddening, but it helps show us the need for a better way to advise young people when they are at a crossroads in life.
First, there are some very natural pitfalls that nearly all of us fall into. When we get to a conjuncture at any point in our lives, we start looking around for people to advise us—those we respect; thus, we know them well and they know us well. But what if those people are biased by their own life experiences? However good their intentions, they have usually lived longer than us and want to pass on their life experiences—which is where it starts to get complicated. They project their pains, pangs, distortions, outdated realities or (equally as confusing) enthusiasms onto us without even consciously meaning to do so.
An extremely traditional mindset might be that we should stay within the family trade or, more commonly, our parents’ line of interest. A newer, yet still outdated, mindset is that “If you work hard and get a college degree you’ll get a job.” As many of you may already know, this is not a guarantee anymore!
Rest assured that when you were at a critical conjuncture in life people who knew you started to filter out your options before you even said, “I need some guidance.” For example, my parents knew that I was not innately gifted with an understanding of Science and English literature. Naturally, the advice was to play to my strengths and stay away from these weaknesses. It seemed like golden advice, but then five years later I found myself coaching people using the fundamentals of neuroscience in happiness and running my own online English Academy. This provided another vital piece of the puzzle and proved to me there is a key component missing in today’s career guidance practices. That is: Most of our advisors don’t know what is truly important to us. They don’t ask, “What is your passion, and how can you be truly rewarded by it?”
I’m not saying there are clear-cut pathways to follow. In fact, I’m saying there is more uncertainty than ever. But what lives in uncertainty? Possibility.
With all the uncertainty in the world today, there lies the possibility for young people to do the things they love by learning how to channel their energy, develop talent, and then leverage it to be rewarded in a career path.
The world we live in today has surpassed the former mindset of “stay in school and get a good job.” We need more. The government is making higher education more expensive, so young people must be smart and use what they have to their advantage right now.
This is the information generation—where we can connect with 2.4 billion people without ever leaving home. There is far too much opportunity in today’s world for young people to be given the same generic career advice of days gone by. What we need to do is stop for a moment, reevaluate, and think about creating guidance that is truly tailored to the individual. We can easily do this if we help our youth find, develop, and keep both their passions and talents in mind.
Take the first step! Here is the best advice to give to a young person looking to thrive in today’s world:
Discover your passion: the be all and end all. This step can be huge. So break it down into small approachable questions. Over the next week take just one hour everyday to dedicate time to answering these questions. Try to give as many answers as possible but do not feel discouraged if you struggle to answer a question. Just simply move onto the next question.
- What would you like to see solved or improved upon while here on this planet? The most successful people are those who help solve something that matters to them.
- What do you find yourself doing when you have free time?
- What pulls your attention when in a book store?
- What do you find yourself interested in when browsing the internet?
- If you had to watch a documentary what genre would you choose?
- What games have you enjoyed playing?
- What habits have you developed naturally?
- What is something you believe that almost nobody agrees with you on?
- What conversations or debates would you choose to get involved in?
- When do you feel alive?
Share this advice with young people and help to start a revolution in their thinking. Let them know that we can progress with passion when we leave outdated practices behind and embrace the new opportunities of the information age!
Charlie Baxter, MBPsS, is the coach for recent graduates. He has focused his BSc in Psychology and intensive training in NLP, HNLP, Mindfulness and Life Coaching towards the information generation. He realised how times have changed in regards to employment nowadays and that the process in which we approach finding work is outdated. Charlie has created a step-by-step manageable course for graduates to discover what they really are passionate about and how to take action. Charlie has coached and mentored many young adults since Graduating himself. He loves to see transformation and so works relentlessly towards helping create powerful shifts for graduates and young adults. As mentioned above Charlie works with the information generation and so believes that coaching via technology is the way forward. He is currently travelling South America with a home base just South of London, UK. You can connect with Charlie via Skype “Mind-Matter” and at www.mind-matter.net
This article is a chapter from the book Transform Your Life! written by 60 real-life heroes and experts and available at Amazon.com, BN.com, www.Transformation-Publishing.com and all ebook formats.