It is pure coincidence that I have offered to have my only nephew, Gino, staying with us during Youth Month to help him with his studies while he writes his matric mid-year exams. I have no children of my own, so my only brother’s only son is a strong focus in my life, as I hope to be a strong focus in his.
As I’m writing this, it’s Youth Day – and the lad is keenly busy studying just a few metres away. He’s a bright kid but, despite consistent positive influence from his parents and grandparents, he has never really been in love with the books.
To boost performance and create more enthusiasm, we raked in lots of help in terms of tutoring him in extra lessons. But I was very selective as to whom we chose to help him. They all have an immense passion for what they do, and a gift to inspire.
Whereas in the past our young friend was not much bothered by his grades, within only weeks his grades have already improved tremendously. He is now more motivated and excited with his new achievements – and, even more important, for the first time I’ve noticed his disappointment with his non-achievements. Even his teachers have noticed the change – especially in his attitude toward his studies.
Where am I going with all this? Three words: exposure, inspiration and attitude. It’s all because of being exposed to different things and new people, and because he is inspired in a different manner, that his attitude has put him in a much more superior space in his own mind.
Exposure has always been the arsenal that propelled me to the next level. Exposure helps people to dream. You cannot dream of or aspire to something you have never come across and especially children can only aspire as far as they can see. The same can be said of adults who have not had much exposure outside the world they live in.
In the business world, the same principle applies. If we are uninspired and reluctant to experience new things, we will stagnate – and we will never grow to a level where we can in turn help to inspire others. I too often see people being reluctant to try, and expose themselves to, new things only because they have never done it. But the amazement when reluctant souls triumphantly rise above themselves after exposing themselves to new experiences and new ways of thinking is priceless.
Inspiration we partially draw from within, but the motivation driving the inspiration we draw mostly from people with whom we surround ourselves.
By reading about the unexperienced, travelling to the unknown, researching the unexplained, networking with those more exposed than ourselves and through continuous learning, we feed our brains and expand our horizons. We grow our lives, our companies and teams to a level the next generation can learn from.
As leaders (of the youth, our companies, our teams, in government and of our families at home) is up to all of us to help expose and inspire the youth (and everyone we know) to open the minds to a new kind of thinking. It can only be good for South Africa’s economy.
Knowledge is the most powerful tool that can unlock the doors to the future. Pair that with exposure, inspiration and passion and you become the future.
Perhaps after all it was not a coincidence that the youngster is sitting here with me, studying on Youth Day – while I’m talking to you about this very important topic. After all, also I need others to inspire (or motivate?) me…
BBQ Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)