Thursday, June 23, 2011

For the Kids

“Kids, you can do anything you want to do when you grow up.” This is the single, most elaborate lie that society tells its children of the day. Think about it—we’ve all heard of this quote, of this concept. And some of you probably believe it’s true.

“If you put your mind to it, kids, you can do anything.”

But society doesn’t tell you the rest of this quote until you’re older, say, in college. It actually ends like this: “If you put your mind to it, kids, you can do anything…”

…except get a job doing exactly what you want. You’re going to have to compromise your ideals, sell yourself short, and settle for a mediocre job that you don’t really want, but hey! At least you’re doing
something. Compromise your interests just this once, put your head down and bite that bullet through college until you have an acceptable job. Then you can do what you’re interested in.

But this is a lie.

Once you get that acceptable job, hey, compromise just a little more, reduce your expectations even further, settle for less just one more time, until you get that promotion.
Then you’ll have the time and money to finally do what you want.

But this is also a lie.

Once you get that promotion, just work a little bit harder at the job you didn’t really want anyway, and look! You’re so deeply involved that if you switched careers now you’d be crazy to throw away everything you have worked for.

But what have you worked for? When you turn around and look behind you, what have you done? Succeeded at a job you never really loved? And
have you really succeeded?

And so, the joke society has pulled on us is complete.

This whole time, while you could have held out for a job you
did love and gotten there slightly delayed (according to society’s expectation for you, anyway), you settled and compromised your way through life, until finally you wasted years of that life doing something you only cared for halfheartedly.

As Ayn Rand stated in
The Fountainhead:
“Why do they always teach us that it’s easy and evil to do what we want and that we need to restrain ourselves? It’s the hardest thing in the world—to do what we want. And it takes the greatest kind of courage. I mean, what we really want.”

We can’t let society’s expectation for us stand in the way of what we want and love. Maybe those expectations are pressing on you from a parent, relative, teacher, or friend. But really think. What do you truly want for your life?

And how much are you willing to fight to achieve it?