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Playing it Safe is Playing it Down

If you ask a child who is maybe six or seven years old “What would you like to be when you grow up?

I am willing to bet that kid will have an answer for you. The problem however is that we, as adults don’t take them seriously. Why? Probably because when we were kids, adults didn’t take us seriously.

You could argue it matters not that little Leyla or David aren’t being taken seriously. But when do we start taking kids seriously? Ten years old? Thirteen maybe? How about eighteen years old? You see, chances are, most kids and young people, if they’re honest with you, want to do something they’re passionate about and really love doing. I have done it

I recently I asked a 14 year old boy, let’s call him Sam, what he wanted to be when he ‘grew up’. It is not unusual for young people in their teenage years to answer me the way Sam did. “I don’t know sir” he said. I did not say anything, just left the question there fore a few minutes and then reapproached Sam and said, “Come on, if you could do anything you really wanted to do what would it be?

Because my question was less inhibited Sam replied, “I’d love to be a dancer but my parents want me to do something serious, so dance will never happen.

It probably doesn’t matter what Sam told his parents because whatever he is interested in it isn’t likely to be in line with what his parents regard as ‘serious’. Herein lies the problem for millions of kids and young people

Sams parents wanted him to play it safe. For Sam that meant he has to play down his passion.

At another event, the head teacher of a school asked a few children in a primary school to tell the class what they ‘wanted to be’. Interestingly all of the kids who mentioned a job in the creative sector or wanting to setup a business, were given this advice,  “That’s wonderful but make sure you have a back up.”

All of the kids who said they wanted to be something like doctor, lawyer or bus driver were not given that advice.

Is that because those jobs more secure? Are people happier in those jobs than others? Do they live longer and prosper?
In effect that teacher was playing down the passion of the next generation of creatives, who should see ‘sense’, play down their dreams and get a ‘sensible’ job. Only to then end up in front of a business or life coach lamenting that 20 years earlier they should have followed their passion and not listened to their parents or teachers.

Enter entrepreneurship...

Whilst I do understand the reservations of the parent and teacher - because no one has a job for life anymore - we all can see the changing patterns of work with the advent of artificial intelligence, and machine learning. These innovations are downsizing even some of the most highbrow professions, from law to wealth management.

So maybe, just maybe we should be planting the seeds of entrepreneurship: a seed that says follow your passion and profit from it.

Learn how to fail, how to pivot throughout life so that you can respond to the demands of your industry and survive.

A seed, which says you are in control of your employability and still do what you love. Now the thing about seeds is that they take time to grow. So planting that seed in adult life is good, but not as good as planting that seed at an age where Leyla, David or Sam have more time to water that seed before adult life.

Nelson Mandela said “It’s only impossible until it’s done

And with that entrepreneurial spirit, the world changes and continues to do so. The new ‘playing it safe’ is ‘playing it up’.

Ultra and Out ;-)

Julian Hall

Julian Hall

Founder of Ultra Education (UltraKids Club and UltraAcademy), Julian 'The Ultrapreneur' Hall is a Leader in Entrepreneur Education


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