A Message for Today's Young Professionals
Updated: Apr 17, 2020
Times are tough right now. We’re losing our jobs, losing our income, losing physical connections to friends and family, losing our chances to go out and have fun… We might be fearful of losing our health, fearful of losing our mentality, fearful of losing our passion… but with the right perspective, today’s youth have one of the greatest opportunities to make something of themselves.
Today’s youthful generations have been born into the most abundant time in all of human history. Never before have we had access to such resources for personal, professional, and social growth. The internet has brought us the entirety of human knowledge at our fingertips and everything you could possibly learn can be found out there for FREE. Yes… for free.
Want to take MIT’s Introductory Quantum Mechanics course? Here you go https://ocw.mit.edu/courses/find-by-topic/#cat=healthandmedicine … along with basically every kind of course you could possibly imagine. Willing to pay a couple of extra bucks? Try Udemy.com, TheGreatCoursesPlus.com. Want to go premium? Try MindValley.com or Masterclass.com. Thinking of learning a discipline that’s more physical? A craft, an art, a form of exercise? Well, you’ve got Youtube for that! You can learn ANYTHING on your own and online right now.
You might be thinking “Well… what’s the point? I don’t get a degree from it?”. Haven’t you ever learned something because it’s fun to learn? Because you’re passionate about it? Because you understand it’s value to YOU not just to your resume?
“Why do you go to school?… the whole point of coming to school is that you’re interested in something. You don’t come to improve yourself. The trouble is that the schools got the wrong idea. They gave people honours for learning. And… the reward for studying French should be the ability to speak French and enjoy reading French… and having fun with French people. But when you get a degree for it, then the degree becomes the point.”
- Alan Watts
The internet has also brought the entirety of humanity and the ability to connect us all to our fingertips. And I’m not JUST talking about social media. I’m talking about:
The practice of obtaining information or input into a task or project by enlisting the services of a large number of people, either paid or unpaid, typically via the Internet. (according to Wikipedia)
The practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet. (according to Wikipedia)
Not to mention the innumerable business and creative tools we now have available to us in the form of apps and websites. Everything you’ve ever needed to start a business is available to you. You don’t need investors. You don’t need a team of people (although that might make it more fun). You don’t even need capital to get it started. You just need to put in the work.
Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Disney, Dell… all of them are BILLION dollar businesses that were started in garages and they didn’t have half the digital resources available that we do now. But you don’t need to build a billion-dollar business to sustain yourself with something that makes you happy. These days you don’t even need a product. You just need passion and the will to share it with others. Think of your favourite Youtube channels, Instagram pages, Facebook profiles, TikTok accounts, bloggers/vloggers… chances are at least a few of them support themselves almost entirely through online channels, doing something they love. How did they do that?
They were extremely passionate about something.
They started sharing it online, documenting their experiences… learning, growing, discussing.
People felt their passion and started to follow along.
They built enough of an audience, trust, respect, and credibility to eventually offer paid content/services/products.
They kept doing it. Genuinely, passionately, energetically. One day, it wasn't a side-hustle anymore.
Today there are Instagramers that make a living by creating #oddlysatsifying goo and videos playing with it. There’s personal trainers, cooks, world travelers, writers, photographers, comedians, and personalities of every kind who make a living just pursuing what they love and being who they are. They are learning, and share that process with the world. One day, in return, the world pays them back.
And yes, I know it’s NOT an easy thing to start. Some people have bills to pay and families to support. But that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. @GaryVee talks about how he worked all day long then returned home to build his business from 7pm - 2am every single day for years and years. That takes dedication, lack of sleep, determination.
And yes, I know it’s NOT always clear how this thing you’re going to build will make you a lucrative income. That's not the point. I promise you, the money will not make you happy anyway. Isn’t the idea that once to get enough money you can do the things you really want? Problem is… you’ll be too busy maintaining that source of income to do anything else… and if that thing isn’t something you enjoy, you’ll just end up trapped in a cycle… lacking any kind of fulfillment. That's how people end up rich and miserable.
So if what you’re after is fulfillment, happiness, and a life of doing things you enjoy, why wouldn’t you build it by DOING SOMETHING YOU ENJOY? Not chasing money and assuming somehow the enjoyment will come later?
Alright… let’s return to our current circumstances. This virus is a serious challenge. Social isolation sucks. We’re stuck inside. We don’t have much to do. A lot of us are losing jobs. But with a shift in perspective, we can take advantage of the situation.
We can learn and become skilled at ANYTHING we are passionate about. Every course and class you could possibly imagine is out there waiting for us somewhere on the Internet. Many of them for free.
We can build a business doing ANYTHING we are passionate about. Crowdsourcing, crowdfunding, social media, and creative digital tools have made building businesses more financially and physically accessible than ever before.
Finally… we have time on our side. Time to reflect. Time to learn. Time to grow. Time to BUILD.
This is our time. Don’t waste this incredible opportunity watching Netflix and thinking about bad things could get. SEIZE THIS CHANCE. Build the things you’ve always wanted to build! Learn the things you’ve always wanted to learn! Share the things you’ve always wanted to share! There has never been a better time than now.
The time to do what you love is NOW. This is likely the greatest opportunity that our generations will ever have to make something of ourselves. To make our lives something worth sharing, something worth remembering, something worth LIVING. Something worth telling our kids about. A chance to show the world how valuable we are. That we have something incredible to offer.
Find what you love. Pour your heart into it. Reap the rewards.
Thanks for reading. Wishing you well,