I had a friend during my undergraduate studies whose singular dream was to travel abroad. He grew up in an environment where traveling out was the sure way to break out of financial lack. He often had stories to tell of guys who traveled to Malaysia, Germany, and Indonesia, and returned rich. This observation shaped his perception of what the path to success looked like.
True to his dreams, he abandoned a business he had set up after school to travel abroad. But things didn’t go as planned, so he returned within a few years. Shortly, he abandoned his master’s degree program for another travel opportunity. This didn’t go well either. Within 13 years of completing his undergraduate degree, he had travel to three different countries in search of greener pastures. Unfortunately, he is back to the country with nothing to show for it.
His options are now limited. He has little work experience. His travels don’t count as leverage for his career. His age is now beyond most entry level jobs. His degree is almost obsolete. At this point, it’s almost like starting all over again. It’s an unfortunate situation but there are important lessons younger people can learn from this. I’m going to share some of these lessons with you. Before we get to it, I’ll like to invite you to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
Here are 3 ways Young People make decisions that turns out to waste the first 10 years of their lives After School.
1. Relying on your peculiar world view
Most young people develop an understanding of how the world works from a place of limited experience and lack of guidance. For example, my friend developed the view that it’s impossible to be successful in his home country. The only way to become successful is to travel abroad in search of greener pasture. He developed this belief from observation from his environment. He believed that every successful person he knew had something to do with traveling abroad to hustle.
However, what he didn’t see was the enumerable number of people that didn’t succeed from their sojourn abroad. If he had observed objectively, he would have probably noticed that for every person who succeeded from going to hustle abroad, there were hundreds or thousands who did not succeed.
He did not realize that the grass is not always greener on the other side. He was so blinded by this belief that he had to abandon his growing business and master’s degree to embark on this quest. Not even a friend with a contrary option could convince him otherwise. He had to learn the hard way; wasting over a decade of his life.
One thing my friend and I have in common is that we both developed a strong world view and held tightly unto it. The difference was what informed our views and beliefs. My view was that I could survive and thrive where ever I was. I believed and still believe that there are lots of untapped opportunities out there and that I was going to find and partake in it. Like my friend, I could have been wrong. I could have wasted over a decade of my life believing this. But the difference was that unlike my friend who simply acted out of emotions and social pressure, I sought knowledge and information that gave legitimacy to my beliefs.
The point I’m trying to make is that having a world view is not a problem. The problem is what informs your world view. Do you believe that it’s impossible for someone without a connection to be successful in your country? Do you believe that you have to indulge in illegal activities to become financially successful? Do you believe that everyone is out to get you; so get them before they get you? Do you believe that it’s the responsibility of the government to provide a job for you?
Whatever it is you believe, where did you get that belief from? Have you tried to prove the legitimacy of this belief with rational thoughts, facts and information? The consequences of relying and sticking to your peculiar world view without seeking to learn how things really works is that, if you are wrong, you will end up wasting a good part of your life. The solution is to challenge your beliefs with knowledge and information.
2. Choosing a career path solely for the money
I know a lot of people who feel trapped in their job many years after. These people were lucky to get a job almost immediately after school. The monthly income seemed attractive. We envied them. They were living well while people like us were struggling to build something. But 10 years down the line, they feel trapped. The job is no longer exciting. They are still getting paid but they now feel like there is more to life than this.
They feel they are not making any meaningful contribution; or any meaning impact. But walking away from the steady paycheck is not that easy. So they feel trapped. Some can’t even get a better job with the experience they have built in their current job. The skill is not transferable across industries. So they are trapped.
And to be honest with you, this is the most common way people waste not just 10 years of their lives but their entire working life. Choosing a career or a job – or even a business – just because of the money may seem smart in the beginning. But eventually your spirit will not let you have peace. You will continue to feel that lump of anxiety in your chest. That is when you will understand what it means when people say that ‘money cannot buy happiness’
Money should never be your primary aim of choosing a job, a career or a business. There are more important criteria like experience, personal development or impacting lives and the society. So, work to learn; not for money. The best would be work that gives you both learning and money.
3. Waiting for someone to give you a job
I believe unemployment is a choice; unless of course you live in some of the poorest communities where there is no infrastructure and little economic activity. But if you can watch this video, and you are unemployed, I’m sorry to say this, it’s your choice. You may be laid off and not have a job for a couple of months. Within that few months, it is your responsibility to create a job for yourself. I know many people will not like to hear this but that is how I have approached my life. If no one offers you a job, create one for yourself.
A job is what you do for someone or a group of people in exchange for a reward, right? Good. It’s an exchange of value; I do something for you, you pay me for it. Now, who said the pay has to be money in the beginning? Who said you can’t do something for someone in exchange for experience, learning a skill or the possibility of a paid position in the short term? For example, an entrepreneur is someone that creates a job for themselves and others, and works for many years, with the hope of getting paid sometime in the future.
Entrepreneurship may not be for everyone. But there is nothing stopping you from offering to work with someone for free in an industry of your interest for an agreed period of time. This will give you exposure to potential opportunities instead of idling around and waiting for someone to give you a job. Many employers will happily accept to have you work for them for free or stipend. And if you prove valuable, many will be happy to upgrade you to a paid employee.
Many young graduates are so reliant on their certificate that they waste precious years waiting for a job without getting involved in skill development. This is dangerous because the longer you wait doing nothing, the less competing power you have.
These three points complements each other. It’s a wrong world view that will make someone choose a career path solely because of the money or to wait for someone to give them a job. Life moves so fast you will be surprised how fast 10 years passes by.
The question you should ask yourself is this; “if I continue doing what I am doing now, will it make the next 10 years easier or harder for me?” The answer to that question will tell you if you are on the right path. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!