Our Generation is Different, So Don’t Pay Attention to Gurus
Don’t copy your parents, invent your profession and most importantly, be yourself
As I grew, I wanted to be like my father. Most men do. Young boys often (unintentionally) copy their fathers’ behaviors, phrases, ideas and give them out as their own.
Copying our parents is how we all learn. Like ducks following the mother-duck to the other side of the road. It’s natural.
At some point though, you’ve got to realize that you’re not a little boy (or girl) anymore. You don’t have to copy your parents. The times are changing, the generations are switching and a new world is being created by people like you.
Realizing this soon will help you become who you want. Faster.
Don’t copy your parents.
If you’re twenty-something (like me), you’re building your life. You are creating yourself. You are still figuring stuff out. I guess it will take some more time, probably 5 or 10 years before we finally do.
And then, we’ll probably continue figuring out the little parts of ourselves all our lives.
But right now, you’ve grown up. You have your own set of ideals and values. Your friends may or may not share them. But you deserve to think for yourself. You are an adult.
And yet you may continue copying your parents in many more ways than you realize. After all, they have been a major influence on you for the past 20-something years.
Maybe it’s in the ideas. Maybe it’s in the self-imposed limitations. Maybe it’s something subtle.
Growing up is opening a box of your mind and examining each item inside.
Most of the stuff in this box was thrown in by your parents, school and society.
In this box, you’ll find what type of ‘job’ you should pursue, whether you should or not get a ‘college degree’, what ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ you should marry, and whether you should ‘marry’ at all.
Your job is to examine each item and decide whether you want to leave it or get rid of it. That’s growing up.
And it’s your choice. It always is.
Don’t choose a profession, invent it.
You were probably told by your parents that you have to choose a profession. There is a cliche list of professions in every young person’s head — a doctor, a lawyer, a journalist, a banker, etc., etc.
I say, let’s not choose a profession. Let’s invent it.
Choosing is a bad idea, because when you choose you have to pick only from those professions inside your (or your parents’) heads. There is a limit (10? 50? 100?) to professions your head can remember, while there is an endless list of (by the final count, 500k+) professions out there in the world.
Instead of choosing, ask yourself, ‘What am I really passionate about doing?’ and don’t be surprised by the answer. It may be something ‘stupid’ (as you might think) as standup comedy. Yet, many people make a living doing it.
If that’s something you would like to pursue, go on.
I don’t know what to say when my grandparents in Russia ask me what I do for a living. Well, I blog. And I help others create content for themselves and their companies. Blogger? Content producer? Get it, grandma?
Em, that’s kind of hard for a Russian grandma to understand.
Don’t be pressured to ‘pick a profession’ just because your parents want you to. You’ve got to understand, in their world — the world of factories and white collar workers — choosing a profession and going to college was a prerequisite to a good life.
In today’s (thanks to the Internet) merit-based world, it’s not.
You can do anything you want. And make money on it.
There is no such thing as a ‘profitable profession’.
Now this is something I hear a lot. Instead of picking what they want to be doing, they follow what they think will make them the biggest (and quickest) buck.
How many people are bankers by DNA? I mean, how many people are deeply passionate about becoming investment bankers and moving money from one pile to another, all their lives?
1%? 2%? Maybe 3%?
Yet, why do 30–40% of students from the top prestigious universities choose their professions in banking?
There is only one possible answer: they think that’s where the money. And the good life. And the status, the prestige, oh yeah, and it’s ‘safe’.
I am sorry to say, but that’s bullshit.
You can make money on just about anything. You can be a poor entrepreneur and a millionaire artist. You can be a low-paying banker and a rich blogger.
There are no rules.
The only rule there is, is that you become successful (and rich) by doing something you’re good at and deeply passionate about. It makes sense to invest time in figuring that out.
Find heroes, but don’t listen to them.
I wrote an article a couple of weeks ago about finding heroes instead of looking for mentors. The idea I picked up from Seth Godin is that mentors are overrated because they are:
a) unscalable — everyone wants GaryVee to be his mentor, yet only 1–2 people get it;
b) an easy way out — because you can procrastinate by saying that you can’t do anything useful until you find a mentor.
Seth proposes that we find heroes (i.e., online personalities) who don’t even have to know we exist, and learn from them by watching their YouTube interviews, and read their blogs. Every time we encounter a situation, we ask ourselves, ‘What would Mark Cuban do?’ or ‘What would Gary say?, and that’s how we learn.
That’s great. But heroes are people too. And most of the time (forgive me, Mark, Seth and Gary) they are old people.
They are people of another generation and they think in other terms. In the U.S. and the western world it’s less a problem, but in developing countries (and yes, I think that Russia is a developing country although the Internet says otherwise) it’s a major problem.
The gap between the younger generation and the older generation is so wide, there is absolutely no understanding between them. They are like people born 100 years apart, not 20 or 30.
It’s good to listen to wise people, who have experience and success in the field you want to pursue. But at the same time, keep in mind — that they are another generation, and some of the things they say are probably not applicable to you.
Everybody gives advice to themselves. Or advice they would give a younger version of themselves. That may not always be true to today’s realities, so keep that in mind when you search for heroes (or mentors).
No guru well give you advice to go build a blog (again, except for the great Seth Godin, of course) as a platform for your future.
Yet, it may be the best advice on the market.
What Do You Choose: Blogging or Going to College?
Blogging may be a better platform for you than a college education
Just be yourself.
When you are still growing up in your twenties and coming up with answers to some of life’s most difficult questions, it’s easy to start searching for these answers in the heads of other people.
Society, friends, school, parents, heroes, mentors, colleagues, bloggers, etc.
That’s what I did too, when I wrote my first book a couple of years ago. I thought that some mentor can give me an answer that I should have been looking elsewhere (i.e., inside).
But the key thing is to keep being yourself, and following what your gut tells you. After all, you’re the ultimate expert of yourself. Nobody can ever take that away from you.
Remember: what worked for Mark Zuckerberg, won’t work for you. And if you’re trying to copy him, you’re not really learning from him.
If you learn 1 thing from all extremely successful people out there, it’s this: don’t listen to anyone, just be yourself.
Thanks for reading! :)