To be young is to be questioned. What are you doing? Who are you? What you are all about? What is your place in society? What is important to you? What do you value? What are you going to do with your life? Questions about business, love, family – the whole span of life.
Young people are the group that has not yet decided, still haven’t found their place, the group that are still figuring it all out. But how do you actually figure it all out? How do you figure out where to put your efforts in to get the most back? And how do you ignite other young people?
We can look at it in two ways. In our socio-economic structure, we are only concerned about what is coming next in our favor, and that it is successful. Identity can be conceptualized in terms of two basic sets of self perceptions:
(a) perceptions related to skills, characteristics, and competencies, and (b) perceptions related to personal values and goals. Together these two sets of self perceptions inform both individuals’ expectations for success and the therefore the importance they attach to being involved in anything.
Within this perspective, we can focus on the role that personal and collective identities can play on motivated action through their influence on expectations for success and subjective task values. This is where we can utilize our youth. We just have to concentrate on motivation and simplifying our target.
Social roles influence behavior through similar mechanisms as personal identity or interest. Social choice or decision is also dependent however on one’s individual understanding on their social norms. So, being outlandish may generate some rumours and social awkwardness, but in the long run, the gossip will fade if you are content on your progress and confident about choosing to use your time in a positive way.
”Youth is a special time where we have the opportunity to try, and fail, and try something else.”
Being young does not last long but it impacts your whole life. You can choose to spend your youth going with the flow, living your life like the people around you, not thinking too deeply about what you are doing or where you are going. Or – you can play with your life. You can try out things, start things, apply new concepts to the way you spend your days, think outside your existence and look at how you can contribute to a bigger picture of the planet. Youth is a special time where we have the opportunity to try, and fail, and try something else. We have time to search for the meaning of our life. We have more free time than we will ever have again, and we have the most energy we will ever have. That is an explosive combination.
The math of life is not always at the top of our minds, but still, when we are deciding how to spend your time, we can make it a conscious decision. Instead of just going along to whatever because everyone else is, we can take a breather and calculate the cost/benefit analysis – what are you getting out vs what you are putting in? If clubbing makes us happy, enjoy it, but if you take the time to calculate – what are you getting out of your time? The energy you are putting to get some momentum or excitement in your life, how good is that and long will it last? By spending time doing that, what other things are you not spending time doing? Youth is a time for trying new things, but do the math before they become patterns. Drugs? Many of us are doing and have done drugs in our life. Although many of us do not talk about it, it important again to do the math. If you continue to do them, they are nothing but a temporary stimulant and to continue it, you need to constantly take more and more. And eventually, if you do not overdose, you will have to come back to life again without them. Why not make your life into something you do not want to escape from? Now is the time! Youth is definitely for experimentation – but does it have to be partying, shopping and selfies? Could it instead mean doing things others have not done before, going places others have not been before? Isn’t that real experimentation?
We all love to be different, so we try to be different – but how are we doing that? By living in our own world of style, seeking sophistication in every material way we can, are we actually really doing anything different? Can sophistication actually be purchased?
To be sophisticated is not hard nor do you need to be from an affluent class of society. Money does not buy style. The simplest way is to do whatever you want to do to the fullest. Get the most out of your time. Calculate. Time will bring sophistication, and reorganization in society.
”By placing emphasis on new, different and bigger picture things, we change our definitions of success. ”
You can start social entrepreneurship. This will present many challenges, even within your family but if you are strong on what you want to do, you will attract others – and you can then get hands from your network of friends and favor banks. Experiences linked to both external socialization and self-socialization shape both individuals’ self-perceptions and their goals and values, and so over time we will acquire different self-concepts, different patterns of expectations for success across various activities, and different values and goals. By placing emphasis on new, different and bigger picture things, we change our definitions of success. Experiment, calculate, find your own path and organise yourself – and then inspire others to come along with you. We are so busy hurrying, stressing and pressuring ourselves to be successful, that we do not always take the time to figure out actually calculate what we want to be successful at and why?
Try the different, be content and own yourself instead of following the flow. Life won’t wait and you won’t get another chance at youth.
Love and love living!
Picture source: Muntasir Mamun Flickr Profile
About the Author
Muntasir Mamun is the Co-founder of Urban Launch Pad LLC, coordinator at First Bus Map of Dhaka and is the Moderator of Kewkradong, Bangladesh.