When given the choice between hiring someone who is “smart” and someone with good work ethic, the latter wins every time. There is no sin in being smart or trying to be smarter, but the point is that very few people who are “smart” have poor work ethic. Most of the smart people I have met in my life are people who work hard.
Even in the classroom, I have found the same result. The majority of the teens I have known over the years, the ones who are “smart,” work very hard to earn the grades they receive. I have wondered this outloud for years, “funny how the harder a high school student works, the smarter he is.” Yes it is interesting, indeed.
Passive parenting rarely produces teenagers who are problem solvers. When it does it was accidental. If anything, passive parenting serves to produce teens who feel that they are entitled to get their way. These are the youngsters who will behave as if they know more than their boss who happens to have years of experience.
In my experience, I have witnessed this scenario play out dozens of times. The teen openly defies the boss, is fired or reprimanded, but still fails to understand his or her place in the great scheme of things. They go home, complain to their passive parent, who in turn does not set them straight with some actual parenting. Instead this weak parent will call the boss to try to smooth things over for their offspring.
The choices we make or fail to make will largely determine our future. Most the young men I have worked with have made some pretty bad choices early in life. Contrary to popular opinion, most of them knew they were in the wrong when they made those choices. It was due to these bad choices that we became acquainted.
What was that magic solution, that program that straightened them out, that truth that helped them turn it around. There was none. In most cases they made one good choice and then another and then another. Pretty soon making good choices, albeit difficult, became a habit. Until one morning they awoke to a different world. One of achievement and tranquility. Choice is such a powerful tool or a vicious enemy.
Success rarely comes to those who sit and wait. It almost always happens to those who earn it. Over my life I have met many a young man, from a poverty community, who erroneously thought that success was a matter of a lucky break. That somehow, someone was going to give them a shot at something big and the money would begin to rain down.
First of all, what is success? Define it. In order to achieve a goal one must know what the target is. This will be crystal clear if one develops a simple plan on how to achieve this goal. Keep the plan simple. Life will bring complications and as you adjust to adversity your plan will change. Above everything else, you must be determined. You must want this goal more than the critics believe their criticisms.
Over the years I have met too many teens who do not understand how the world works. No one offers us a job because we need a job. An employer hires an employee because the employer needs a set of tasks accomplished. What you do or don’t want is of no consequence to your employer. Basic skills are required to be employed; reading, writing, proper communication, and work ethic.
A work relationship is a simple matter; you exchange dollars for hours. Don’t over complicate the relationship. If you are working in your dream job be the model employee. And finally, all businesses must make a profit; either you are helping achieve this goal or you aren’t.
“Mr. Augie when I make it big it’ll be as a rapper.”
“I going to be a professional football player.”
These are just two of the many overly ambitious comments I have heard over the past 26 years. All of them have come from a courageous teen who had taken the step of trusting me with their dream. For this I am grateful. Along with being grateful, as a real friend, I often make a few suggestions and ask some questions. My approach towards all the young people I have worked with has always been to treat them as I treat my own children. What I have found has been anything but comforting.
If my children had made these comments I would have asked many questions to find out how much they knew about their chosen field. Also, as a means to give them advice, and perhaps most importantly, to find out how I can help them reach their goal; this is the true definition of support. To my surprise, other than what a TV shows presents or what a video game has portrayed or what their friends have said, most of my young teens know very little about their chosen career field. They imagine or assume many things which they deem to be factual without doing any research. Life has a way of making things sound easy.
Let’s take the music industry for example. How do you break into it? Well from the outside looking in, I would say that there is going be a lot of hard work involved. But work at what? This is the real question. I’m not in the music industry, but I know a dozen or so people who are and scores of others with this dream. Here are a few of the things they have taught me. You will need a social media presence, across several platforms and you must aggressively publish. You will need to get noticed and have a special quality. This special quality must rise above everyone else’s. Or at the very least your quality must be appealing enough to get the attention of someone in the industry.
The effort required to become successful is not for cowards. It must be a consistent effort. You must consistently and continuously learn. You must meet people, bear criticism, but above all you must believe in your dream more than anyone else. And you must also be willing to go down this road alone.
Many of the young people I have worked with will never begin their journey because they never take a step towards it. Just like the man who boards a broke down bus and smiles because he thinks he is so fortunate to have found an empty bus and he can sit anywhere. What he didn’t notice was the hazard lights flashing or the missing driver. All he sees is that he is aboard a bus that says it is going his way. So he sits down and waits for something to happen.
Dreams are wonderful, but without proactive steps they are merely delusions. Unfortunately many of my young friends find themselves in this stagnant mindset mostly due to their upbringing.