Setting Up Your Children For A Thriving Future

Life is unpredictable, even though humans are bent on always looking for predictability within systems and functions.

This explains why we ask our children questions like “what do you want to be in the future?”

Although we don’t expect their answers to be perfect, yet we believe that they should have an idea of what they want to be.

From their answers, we tend to try and carve a way for them. We say you go to Art class and you go to the Science class since this is what you want to become.

Largely, that strategy has been proven wrong and ineffective. Because we all grow up almost always to do something entirely different from those childhood dreams.

Some motivational speakers leveraging that childhood says things like “where’s that your childhood dream? 9-5 has stolen it from you. Wake up and follow your passion”

Well, you and I know that that’s almost always bullshit. Childhood passion was a dream of naivete, cluelessness and gullibility about the happenings of the world.

But how can we help children make important decisions early on in life when they suffer from gullibility?

The answer I found is interesting and simple but can be difficult.

You see the problem with childhood dreams is not just that it is deprived of the happenings of the world and overwhelmed with gullibility. It is also that it is limited in scope and imagination.

Scope in the sense that it doesn’t fully understand the array of possibilities. As a child, we weren’t aware of all the possible problems and active solutions tackling them. When we dream, the best we could do was to extrapolate from our parent’s career or pick cues from the movies and literature we’ve been exposed to. That’s the best. Let me say, unfortunately, some adult still suffers from childhood limitation. That may explain why they are where they are. But this is not about them.

Scope and imagination.

Let’s talk about imagination.

Children’s imagination is limited because of a lack of exposure and non-existence of something (yet).

If you are 20 and above today, there’s no way you would have dreamt of becoming a blockchain developer who wants to build applications on the Ethereum protocol. Absolutely no way. That’s what I mean by limited in imagination.

You see, it’s impossible to dream some dreams until you leverage on those things that are in existence already. And there’s no way you can do that except you know they are in existence.

Things get even more tricky when the things that will end up enticing you were not in existence yet when you start to dream.

This explains a favourite quote of mine: “Don’t look for your passion yet, it might not even be in existence as of now”

If blockchain technology happens to be your consuming passion right now, all the hours in the past spent on asking what’s my passion would have been an effort in futility.

Okay, so what can we do?

Do hard things!

Do things that increase your options!

Do things that give you leverage!

That’s to say when directing your children when making decisions on their behalf, help them to choose things that will do any or all of 3 things.

That’s the ultimate leverage.

That’s tricky and simple but difficult as I said earlier.

Hard things

Everyone will run away from it, but if your child can run towards it, it will differentiate them and help them stand out. Standing out comes with an advantage from the early years. But most importantly, when grown up, such knowledge that very few possess will mean less competition and high rewards for them.

Hard things are hard for a reason. And society will reward anyone with a commensurate value who knows and can do what the majority can’t do.

Things that increase options

The best of life comes when you have the best of things to choose from. Yes, there is a paradox in having too many options, which sometimes mean you tend to not settle on one thing. But that’s a better problem to have. Not having an option is paralyzing.

So directing your children on a path that increases their option may be the best career choice you made for them.

How does that work?

I will use both an extreme and my favourite example. Studying Mathematics gives anyone more options than studying Accounting. And yes the former is more difficult.

You see, for a mathematics graduate, pivoting into accounting, finance, computer science, physics, and a host of other disciplines is quite easy. That’s because of the nature of the course.

The same can’t be said of someone who studied accounting.

I studied accounting but no one will employ me as an engineer. I have a few things that I can dabble into but not as many options as one who studied mathematics.

That’s about an option.

When options and hard things are combined, you have leverage.

However, one should not be small-minded when thinking about the subject of options.

The greatest career gift

The greatest career gift you can give your children is the gift of CURIOSITY.

Curiosity is an option and leverage multiplier. In fact, if they studied mathematics and curiosity is lacking, there won’t be any difference between those who did hard things and those who didn’t.

You see, curiosity is that light that keeps guiding them no matter what they have as a background.

The background would only count as a multiplier of their curiosity.

As I write this, someone reminded me that I’m a Data Scientists despite having an accounting background. That’s just a tip of who I am / what I do. I have developed a website, I’ve done marketing, I’ve done content marketing, I’ve done SEO, I’m a writer, I’m an educator, I am quite a lot of things including yes, an investor (startups, stocks, crypto).

Does background not matter again then? It does but curiosity amplifies and awakens other real potentials.

Background matters because there are some things I can’t dream of taking on today because I wouldn’t stand a chance (for a lot of reasons). Yet, with the help of curiosity, one can transcend the limitations of background at least enough to satisfy oneself.

Curiosity is built on exposure

Don’t shut yourself up on your questions, look for the answers. And don’t stop your children from their inquiries rather point them in the direction where they could go to find the answers.

Exposure informs the kind of questions you will imagine or ask. If you are not aware that something exists, your thinking will be limited to the universe of only what exists in your mind. And so does your curiosity.

The best exposure comes from books, documentaries, movies, science fiction, geographical adventure, and many more.

Find the one you can afford and give them to your kids.

While this has been about kids and their upbringing, I am fully aware that some youths and adults who were not privileged with exposure growing up still lack exposure as of now.

It explains why some who studied English will still be looking for a way to get a job as an “Englishian”.

As I’ve always said here, your course of study is only to provide you with a framework of thinking, it is not meant to dictate what you must think. What you must think should be driven exclusively by your curiosity.

Where does curiosity come from for an adult? I used to be clueless with no expectations at all for the future. All that changed when I started reading and feeding myself with noise-free knowledge.

We are all the summary of the kind of information that we consume. Not consuming anything means your head lives free of possibilities and you are bound to repeat mistakes that could have been avoided.

Once you are grown and you make your decision, you need to be deliberate about building your curiosity and exposure chest. No one can do it for you anymore. It’s all on you.

The best place I know you can get it from is also from books, blogs, and the contemplations of your heart. 

What you think about matters.

It’s a self-reinforcing circle and the more you attempt to satisfy your curiosity, the more curious you become and the more options you will see that are available to you.

Adults, be curious!

Curiosity can also come from picking interest in fixing or building something.

When the thought of my website started, the first thing I told myself was this is an opportunity for me to learn how to build one, I’ve always wanted to. Well, I ended up doing it.

Last year, I was interested in helping people think for the long term. That attempt will later contribute to my new adventure building “wealth from ground up

You should do hard things, things that give you options and leverage.

The good thing is that just by being curious, you can get everything on a platter of gold.

Think about all this!