Have you ever noticed the word ‘You’ in YOUth? The word ‘You’ appearing in YOUth and not man or woman should not be seen as coincidental or an accident because the YOUth stage is that stage when the real ‘You’ is found, defined and refined.
Dr. John C. Maxwell puts it better when he asserts that ‘In an individual, there are six people. They are;
- Who you are reputed to be
- Who you are expected to be
- Who you were
- Who you wish to be
- Who you think you are and,
- Who you really are
The YOUthful stage is the period where all the YOU in you is experimented and explored.
Marrying definitions from different sources, the YOUth is the time of life when one is young and vibrant, full of vigor and spirit and also appearance and freshness. YOUth is the stage of constructing the self-concept. The concept of YOUth is influenced by several variables such as peers, lifestyle, gender and culture. It is the time of a person’s life in which they make choices which will affect their entire life.
Although in this part of the world age ranges is tied to the definition of being YOUth (usually between the ages of 18 – 35 in Nigeria), many scholars are of the view that no specific age ranges can be tied to the YOUth stage.
In describing the importance of the YOUth stage, there is a discipline to study youth called YOUth studies and in confirming the vigor and rigor associated with the YOUth stage, Robert Kennedy; an American politician, 64th Attorney General and younger brother of America’s John F. Kennedy made a remarkable statement, “ This world demands the qualities of YOUth: not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the life of ease.”
All of the qualities pointed out in this statement are the real attributes of the YOUth. The ‘You’ in a YOUth is vibrant, adventurous, bold, daring, creative and full of imagination.
According to statistics by the UN, around 85 per cent of young people between ages 15 – 24 live in developing countries and this figure is projected to grow to 89.5 per cent in 2025. Young people in developing countries are exposed to various degrees of hardship, negative influences, unfriendly and non-inclusive governments. These YOUths are left to fend for themselves with almost no resources at all to start up with. Hence, the need for these youths to device and define means to influence and affect the world positively by discovering and developing the ‘You’ in their ‘YOUth’
Getting a better YOU in your YOUth
- Discover early: discover who you really are early enough by being adventurous. Never be afraid to fail. Failing early, failing often and failing forward are the pre-cursors to discover who you really are early. Failure is just an event, not a person.What you will become in the next 25 years of your life depends on the first 25 years. So, start early, fail early, fail often and fail forward. Identify who you are and define it clearly. State your values, goals and objectives. Most importantly, get a vision for your mission. It is usually mission impossible when there is a vision invisible.
- Embrace development not just growth: there is a vivid difference between growth and development. Growth is natural but development is personal. Growth deals with stature, improvement deals with status. “Stature does not determine status; a statue has stature but no status.” Plan improvement strategies immediately you discover who you are and invest in yourself. The ‘You’ in your YOUth will be fortified and ready to face the challenges of the 21st century when you develop yourself.
Self-development does just one thing; it moves you closer to your destiny.
- Build strong relationships: build and maintain strong and lasting impressions and impact with anyone that come your path. See the people as an end to a means and not a means to an end. Be genuine and honest in all your dealings and endeavors. Provide services of maximum quality to people and be ready to listen to others criticism; constructive or otherwise. Be teachable and ready to improve at all times.
The 21st century YOUth is versatile, creative, eloquent, dexterous and adventurous. If you don’t possess all of these, living in this century as a YOUth will not only be a quagmire but disastrous.
The ‘You’ in your YOUth is strong and capable of doing great things. Use it well and wisely and the sky is the spring board.