So when I think about my ambitions when I was younger, it was to be a professional football player (this was almost achieved until a leg condition caused me to retire aged just 19). It was then teaching, but this due to the condition in my leg, meant i had to change direction.
As children going through school, it is constantly beaten (not literally) into us that we need to get good grades, then go to college and ultimately university. For what! in debt with thousands of whatever currency your country has, with the hope of getting that perfect job that all the other university graduates are looking at. To which you will have little chance unless you come out with a first.
It is further ingrained into us, that the typical 9 to 5 rat race is the one that we should all be in. Granted, this is what some people in society needs. But this for me means;
- No time for creativity,
- No time to pursue dreams and passions,
- The same routine, day in, day out,
- A feeling of being trapped in my own ambition, and finally,
- Feeling like a sheep, why should I conform to what society feels is normal, when this breeds unhappiness for so many of us.
This has led me to write a letter to my younger self, and ultimately anyone that age that is stuck in a rut, pressured down a path they don’t wholeheartedly want. This is for you guys too.
Dear younger Lee,
By now, you are 14, and being forced to look at what you want to achieve in life. It seems like its coming from all directions. Parents. Friends. School. Don’t go looking at those university courses, thinking what subjects they are requiring you to excel at. You enjoy sport, media, computing and cooking. It is these, the things you love and enjoy doing that you need to be focusing on.
Forget that the teachers are trying to persuade you into this course or that course. Forget that your parents went down one road, and want you to go down the same one. This is your life and you need to enjoy every part of it. Yes you are 14, and people will say that you are not mature enough, or old enough to make rational decisions. But i ask you this, are they going to be living your life for you in 5 years time. The answer is quite simply, NO.
By now, you are 16 and ready to make those decisions again. This time for those a-levels, you know the courses that really have no resemblance in life other than to get into University. It is at this point you make your first real difficult decision, do you stay in education until your 18? Or do you finish here and head into the big wide world of work. I ask you this, if you choose to leave at this point, at the tender age of 16. What jobs are you hoping to have? That big money job!? I have some bad news for you, you will be
thrown at the bottom of the ladder (typically in retail, which you will do in years to come), or do you carry on learning. But why? You have the best part of 60 years of working ahead of you. So it would be again, complete those courses that you enjoyed doing. Whether it be sport, media or computing. One thing i would say here though, think about a business course, because later on in life you will want to work for yourself, and every bit of knowledge you have will be valuable in your 30’s.
Ok, so now you are 18. Compulsory schooling has officially finished. Now what! That same decision continue studying at uni, and end be faced with thousands in debt. With no real guarantee of work afterwards, or enter the world of work. Working your way up the ladder. It would be at this point i would head into the world of work. Learn, listen from others and embrace what you do. Save every penny you can afford to, and visit every corner of this great planet. Because there tends to be two types of people in the world;
Those who are rich in life and poor in wealth, and those who are poor in wealth and rich in life.
My final question to you would be this.
Which would you like to be 40 years from now. Working earning 60k+ a year being unhappy in your job, or earning 20k+ having visited some of the most incredible places in the world. Thus making you extremely wealthy in life experiences, and being the envy and inspiration to millions of others.
All my love.