When I was little my Mother passed a comment to a friend in my presence that had a profound effect on my career choice and general outlook on life. At the time in the early nineties dressing kids in adult like formal wear had become a notable fad parents were eager to chase.
So on the day in question a friend of my Mom’s motioned to her that she should get me a suit and tie in-order to roll with the trend to which my Mom responded : ” Children should be allowed to be children and enjoy being young and should not be dressed as adults. It creates/ sets an unnecessary expectation or burden on their shoulders to be rigid and formal so no. I won’t allow my Son to cut his childhood short in the name of fashion.”
I’m not sure she was aware I was listening but that little exchange changed my whole outlook on formal wear and formal systems. From then onward, I hated wearing school uniform and loathed to get into any career that would involve dressing in a uniform and the like. Suddenly being a pilot was no longer appealing.
I didn’t have a dream job or career I was wild about. All I knew was that I didn’t want to get into anything that involved wearing a suit and tie or worse, a uniform.
Science and the Arts came naturally, I was equally good in both but preferred the former because at least Scientists could don whatever they wanted to underneath a lab coat so I figured that would be my chosen discipline.
But it wasn’t until I stumbled upon the concept of Entrepreneurship that I really found my true calling and got into stride.
Venturing into business for yourself offers the freedom and adventure that the low ceilings of the 9-5 world can only fantasise about.
The conversation I eavesdropped on planted a seed of non conformity undoubtedly spurred on by a parent who always had the courage of her convictions regardless of what others said or thought.
My career ideals suddenly went from growing up and wearing a suit every day to never growing up and wearing sneakers to the boardroom.
My definition of success is to be able to do what I want, where I want, when I want with whomever I want, for as long as I want to, without having to worry about money and I truly believe Entrepreneurship, however challenging a discipline it may be, is the ideal pathway to achieve this.
As Oliver Mtukudzi aptly put it:
However the discipline of business is an endless minefield of uncertainty and crisis, therefore it is essential to keep a healthy attitude or perspective about things to in-order to stay afloat and weather the regular storms while enjoying it all. After all life is a journey not a destination.
I have found it essential in life and business to look upon the world from the perspective of a child.
Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands and perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to take risks and take the road less travelled so to speak.
Children, as I have said, use back ways and hidden tracks, while adults take roads and official paths.
Go find a picture of yourself when you were a young kid (say at age 6). Look at yourself! He/she is smiling gleefully without a care in the world. He/she doesn’t know they are going to turn into the sad adult that you are now.
Your youthful shadow knows better of the joys of life. It is no wonder parents find their offspring such a wonder as they reframe the dull life of bills, appointments, and responsibilities with the fire of youth.
Yes, you say that you are an adult now. You have responsibilities such as bills and chores and work to do. You have no time for such nonsense. Or do you? Yet you embraced your imagination as a child and in everything you did you shunned rules and structure and insisted everything you did was to be on your terms.
Look at that picture of the young you! Now look in the mirror. The blazing light in the youth’s eyes, the curiosity, and the wonders you saw at Nature and life, the joy you had at any occasion! Are they still part of you? Look into the mirror. Is the same light in your eyes? If not, then you know what you need to do.
You have come to the solution of your troubles and must rediscover that inner child within.
Our minds start out pristine and pure (that of the child!) and everything is playful, fun, and simple. But as time passes, philosophies and bitter memories accumulate.
The diseased person looks at life only through the philosophical lens, living a life of past memories, and so his life decays and decays until there is no life within them.
Your body doesn’t get corrupted by Time. It gets corrupted by cell division error and free radicals. In the same manner, your mind/soul doesn’t age. It gets corrupted with ‘intellect’, ‘philosophies’, and ‘education’.
This isn’t about bringing your childhood into the present. It is to CLEANSE your mind and soul of all this philosophic DUST and bitter memory GARBAGE that has accumulated.
I’m hardly the SI unit of showcasing my inner child myself and can be very serious and intense when it comes to life matters and business issues yet I try not to take myself too seriously. I’m still an avid gamer at the mercy of my childhood whims. Though I’m capable of thinking and engaging at several levels of abstraction I always find time for playful chatter.
The playful and mellow side of me is more pronounced when I’m dating and it often brings out the best in whomever I’m in a relationship with.
It’s almost like there are two sides to my personality.
I still like to wild out and party once in a while and my dress code has stayed relatively the same over the years. I’ll never be a suit and tie kind of person. I still have the passion and verve for hip hop and film I had at 12.
I’m still a sucker for a pretty face, you can almost predict the girl I’ll hit on in a crowded room and I’ll succumb to any youthful predictable things but underneath it all is a grown responsible man with drive and ambition that can only be sustained by keeping that inner child alive.
As the ancient Greeks said :
“He, whom the gods love, grows young,”
“We must not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we began and to know the place for the first time.”
Youthfulness is a magic wand. Treasure it and you’ll be young forever!