Conform – (of a person) behave according to socially acceptable conventions or standards.
When we were younger and growing, our parents used one constant punchline to motivate us, “Study hard in school, pass your examinations and work towards earning a degree in campus. That will be your ticket to a good job.” And that’s what we knew.
But at this point, most of us can attest that a very vital piece of information was always left out: that we need to acquire vital life skills to navigate the ‘outside world’. Most of these life skills are not learnt in class, we learn them from the exposure we get by interacting and networking with other people our age and those who are where we hope to be in future.
See, we conform to specific rules that we must follow, without the slightest consideration of what else we could learn.
While I do attest that education is important, I am of the opinion that how we view education is the root of all our problems. For an economy trying so hard to alleviate itself from poverty, how we view education is why we are not where a country with our economic potential should be. Education should be one of the means through which a growing child’s mind and way of thinking is sharpened, to allow the child to think as an individual and progressively identify areas in which they find interest, are good at and they enjoy doing.
To shape potential at a young age and nurture growth towards innovation and creativity is the best way to avoid personal conflict, career dissatisfaction and potential quarter-life crisis among the youth of tomorrow.
Looking at the people we know who have made it, it is easy to see that it is the ones who dared to dream and follow their dreams who soar high.
Have you ever really sat down to think about what your life goals are? If so, did you truly analyse them, and check whether these are YOUR goals and dreams, or if they have been shoved down your throat and are now what you look at as ideal?
In my interactions with very many youth, I find that most of us conform to what we have been told should be: Go to school, graduate from campus, secure employment, get married, have kids, raise your children to go to school, graduate from campus, secure employment, get married, have kids; and the cycle goes on and on; generation after generation.
And I ask, at what point then do you live?
At what point do you get to do what sets your soul on fire? When do you pursue your own passions and dreams?
You have to do what makes you happy. Don’t get me wrong, this could be what some may find to be exactly what they want; but for the rest of us, are we conforming to social expectations?
Food for thought.