The brash confidence of youth emerges in each successive generation, creating young entrepreneurs who push the boundaries and set new standards for the rest of us. Not all young people are go-getters, and many shrink in the face of challenges, but the combined energies of today’s youth forms a vital resource for us all.
This is not a new phenomenon. Famous names such as Alexander the Great of Greece and Sir Cecil Rhodes of southern Africa are among the many men and women of history who achieved phenomenal success and influence at a young age.
In view of youth’s capacity to excel, it is vitally important that parents and the older generation keep a positive attitude toward the confident young people they meet. Not all ideas will succeed. Not all players will achieve a record score. But the cumulative impact of all the young people who will “Have a Go!” provides much of the energy of each culture and community. Consider this current day example of a young man keen to make his mark.
When Chris was only fifteen he had already done many things his peers could not imagine. He had toured Australia as an audio and lighting engineer for a travelling band of thespians. He edited TV programs and worked alongside men who had no idea how young he really was.
On one occasion he learned that a company needed their office ceiling repaired. He promptly contacted the manager and asked to quote on the work. He inspected the site and arranged for several sub-contractors to call and quote. All this, while he was just fifteen years old. When the contractors called to inspect the site he rode to the location on his pushbike, hid the bike in the bushes then walked into the office as if he had driven there. And it worked! He won the contract and made good money. The client was happy. The contractors were happy. And so too was the fifteen-year-old who ran the project. Chris is a prime candidate for today’s bold new world of opportunity for the young.
Today young people have opportunities like never before to make their mark and make their fortune as well. Many of the cyber-innovations which have swamped the globe have come from young minds and youthful innovators. Under the inspiration of these exemplars, more young Americans plan each year to be self-employed at some point during their working life. Each month more resources spring up to support young entrepreneurs and to capitalise on their energy and vision. Over 2,000 colleges and universities now offer courses in entrepreneurship in the USA. That’s up 500% in the past decade.
A recent Entrepreneurial Boot Camp, which catered for the growing number of home-school youth looking for creative options for their future, faced an array of top-quality business plans for start-ups by teens. The great American dream to “Own Your Own Business” is as alive as ever.
Are young people who see opportunity natural entrepreneurs? Is seeing an opportunity really that rare? We all know that it’s not. Everyone sees opportunities from time to time. When someone buys a derelict house and renovates it, or builds a block of units, are always onlookers who say, “I thought about doing that”. How many men think about marrying the pretty girl in their class? Only one does marry her. At least, only one at a time. So what happened to all the others who saw the opportunity?
Natural entrepreneurs not only SEE opportunities, but are also bold enough to “Have a Go!” That’s the quality which we often find in youth and which we should do everything to encourage in them.
Young Chris continued to “Have a Go!” Before he was old enough to get a driver’s licence he negotiated an investment venture. He explored his interest in acting, moving from the sound desk to centre stage. He tried his hand at wooden furniture, plants and various other enterprises as the whim took him. The ventures varied from modest successes to terrible failures, but Chris saw progress and “learning by doing” as worth the effort.
Unafraid of hard work, he had many happy employers who paid him well for his diligence and attitude. His most recent appointment was in management in a logistics company where they planned to groom him for advancement.
We have already noted that seeing an opportunity doesn’t make an entrepreneur. Many people correctly see an opportunity. It is that willingness to “Have a Go!” that separates the entrepreneurs from the on-lookers. But even the process of stepping out has its degrees. Doing something in your spare time is one level of daring. Risking all for the project is quite another step to take.
In Chris’s case the urge to “Have a Go!” kept him leery of settling into the corporate culture, where personal horizons are set by someone else’s program. Like many other youth, Chris often held discussions with his friends about what might be possible. All manner of ideas were investigated along the way, based on interests, opportunities and wild ideas.
Then a project came up that was just too good to resist. Chris decided to build a huge global network of people who would make a statement about the human family and join their voice as the wonderfully diverse conglomeration that makes up humanity.
As plans crystallised, Chris conceived to unite a million people into a single project. Each person would play their own small part, telling their own story, and yet linked for a massive unifying outcome. Red and yellow, black and white, everyone is invited to join in. Young and old, male and female, there are no bounds.
“Mosaic of Mankind” is what young Chris calls his latest adventure. It’s a world record-breaking attempt, to create the jigsaw puzzle with the most pieces in the world, one million pieces. Yet each piece will feature a unique photo of one of the one million people, couples and groups who have joined forces to make this enormous global statement.
The website, MosaicofMankind.com, invites everyone to “Take your place in the Mosaic of Mankind”. It describes the project as: A World Record Breaking Jigsaw Puzzle; A Work of Art; and A Global Statement. The project involves “Millions of people declaring unity in diversity and friendship across all borders of race, religion, age and status”.
This is a far cry from riding his bike to a local business. But now, at age 25, Chris has enjoyed cars, motorbikes, travel, achievement and success. He is now ready to move beyond his past boundaries to try something no-one else has ever done! And to make it happen Chris has invested all the money he has. He engaged a savvy web designer to create the complex functionality needed in such a huge project. He quit his job and walked away from the corporate world. It’s all or nothing, and Chris is back where he most enjoys himself, pushing the boundaries and doing something new.
Chris is excited that he’s a boy from “down-under” who is doing something for people the world over. Australians, “Aussies” as they prefer to be called, have a long history of innovation and getting things done. So young Chris is delighted to fit that mould and be one of many young Aussies impacting the world today.
It’s “have a go!” time for Chris and his Mosaic of Mankind. And it’s “Have a Go!” time for a whole generation of young men and women the world over. Youth is the best time to take bold steps and break through. Youth have energy, time and the back-stop of their family to enable them to do what their parents may not be free to do. If you are young, then “Have a Go!” and chase your big dreams while you can. If you are a parent or a leader of young people, tell them about Chris and his Mosaic project. It just may be what they need to propel them toward their wonderful potential.