What You Can Do to Ensure the Future You Want is the Future You Get
I have come to believe that (as cliché as it may sound when asked) your ability to seriously answer the question “where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 or 15 etc years?” is actually pretty critical in determining the kind of life you will more than likely end up having.
Many people stumble from year to year with little purpose, only to find out 10 or 15 years down the road that the dreams they had are now way out of their reach. Most people chalk it up to “bad luck,” “realities of life” and “just the way things go.” The ethos of this site though is that, in large measure, we get what we strategically, consistently, and energetically pursue.
Here in Jamaica – well, they didn’t even bother run a poll. #Foregoneconclusion.
But…You Can Defy the Drab Prospects
It is against this bleak backdrop that I extend a most audacious challenge to you: How about we work to Make 2013 a Stand Out year – a year of uncommon exploits, never to be forgotten?
I have written 7 articles, challenging you to make serious commitments in 7 areas of your life this year.
These commitments, I am suggesting, will transform your life even in the midst of a turbulent year. Moreover, they will ensure that at the end of this horrible year, you are stronger, wiser and more ready than ever to take advantage of new opportunities.
Why You Should Care About “Bad Years”
Ever said, or heard a friend say, “Man, last year was just a really bad year for me personally”…?
I wrote this series because I believe, especially as young adults; neither you nor I can afford “bad years” in our lives.
And, with all the predictions in the world saying it will be ‘oh so bad’ socially, politically and economically – it’s clear to me, we must work double time to prevent the impact of it in our lives.
This Is Our Only Time
Bad years and hard times bring at least 3 things that do a lot more than make the present unpleasant – they attack the foundation of a great future.
We must be fanatical in our efforts not to have “bad years” as though they were like bad days. Two reasons:
1. We only have so many of these years to spare:
People like Dr. Meg Jay, author of The Defining Decade are correct – “Thirty is NOT the new Twenty.”
Those of us long past the age may feel a sting of regret in reading this but the jury is in: what we do in our twenties really does matter.
Life does not begin when we want it to; we only decide when we’ll come alive to life.
2. Bad years are horribly destructive to our future:
Because “bad years” bring three things:[pullquote align=”right”]At the end of a bad year, you may find yourself more aged but no more mature; older but not wiser; bigger but not stronger; a head and shoulder taller than everyone around you, but not an inch more elevated in their eyes and estimation.[/pullquote]
In the bad year – there is a deficit of positives. Less meaningful interactions, less things read, less feeding of your imagination, less exercise, less healthy habits, less activities that matter, less, less, less.
Slowly, over the course of the year, your mind and body alike become flabby. The networks you were building disperse. The fitness you had wanes, the strong positive resolves you had are weakened, the bright, colour dreams are noticeably dull.
A bad year in your 20s (any point of your life! But especially here) is not “just another bad year!”
At the end of a bad year, you may find yourself more aged but no more mature; older but not wiser; bigger but not stronger; a head and shoulder taller than everyone around you, but not an inch more elevated in their eyes and estimation.
Sadly many of us are still 13 going on 30.
I challenge you: Make this year different! Change the script. Read the series. Defy the odds.
Are you ready to face a New Year? How do you plan to meet it?
This is part 1 of a 7 part series “Make 2013 a Stand Out Year.”
Didn’t you feel a bit conflicted inside watching Jamaica’s athletes dominate during the Olympics? I know I did. While I was happy cheering for our stars and hearing Jamaica’s anthem being trumpeted in London, all I could think about was 1) what it would mean to make such an extraordinary contribution to Jamaica and 2) how unlikely it is that I will ever do anything as great for my country as win an Olympic Gold medal.
Maybe you felt the same?
At the end of the day though, you and I are no Usain Bolt.
Now that the Olympic euphoria has passed it is clear to see that what Jamaica needs MOST, is not for you or I to start training for the 100M.
There are so MANY issues far more important to Jamaica now that we need to solve, but just cannot seem to. We are desperate for heroes – LEGENDS – to train, execute and dominate. Just like our athletes a few passionate Jamaicans may make an amazing impact in these areas.
Here are just 2 of the many urgent examples where we need LEGENDS:
Jamaican children with disabilities are doomed to a life with limited academic prospects.
On Sunday of this week the Executive Director of the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities (JAID) Christine Rodriguez was just one of many experts that addressed the issue in a Jamaica Observer story.
“Unfortunately, there are schools that kick the children out and say ‘you are not supposed to be in this school, this is not the school for you’. Those children go home and end up sitting down for a couple of months, for a year, for two years, because maybe the place to which they refer the child might have a waiting list for testing, might have a waiting list for placement, and so that child is being left out in the cold for an extended period of time,” she told the Jamaica Observer last week.
Could you make an impact here?
On the small-scale: Many things can be done to accommodate students with physical disabilities. Youth groups (etc) across Jamaica could organize with schools to build ramps, and whatever other infrastructure is needed to accommodate these students.
On a large-scale:Intellectual disabilities may be harder to address. Just like our runners focus and train, we need minds in education to focus, research, collaborate and address this issue.
Jamaica has a most inhumane prison system – with effectively no rehabilitation.
Let me give you 5 facts about Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre (popularly known as “G.P”), Jamaica’s largest prison.
It has a capacity of 900 but “constantly holds around twice its official capacity.”
“Many prisoners have no bedding to speak of whatsoever.”
“There are no toilets in any of the cells, inmates are required to slop out, and each has a bucket for this purpose.”
None of the cells have windows…some have a small barred vent up on the rear wall of the cell…On certain blocks, the front doors to the cells are solid, and so permits no ventilation – or light – to penetrate the cell at all.
Men on death row receive generally ONLY 2 hours out of their cells each day.
You may wonder, why I chose to highlight the prison system. Why not crime? Why not the backlog in courts?
Fact: how we treat prisoners (our failure to rehabilitate) has a direct impact on crime. Simply, many of the “dutty bwoy dem” INSIDE eventually return OUTSIDE.
We need creative minds in the field of law and justice to solve this issue.
Bigger than Bolt
We all love Bolt – I hope no one thinks this is an attempt to detract in any way from him. However, Jamaica needs more LEGENDS in other fields. Beyond music, beyond sports…we need more people on the front-line.
Study Proves Intelligence More Important for Success than Your Socioeconomic Background
Here is some refreshing news for every brilliant (and diligent) worker or student from a poor socioeconomic background. You may not have all the connections (“links”) to get the top jobs immediately, however, it is now demonstrably clear that if you keep doing your best at whatever job you do get – your time will come.
Intelligence Vs. Socioeconomic Background (SEB)
According to a 25 year long study by researchers at the Tel Aviv University, “When intelligence and socio-economic background (SEB) are pitted directly against one another, intelligence is a more accurate predictor of future career success.”
Professor Yoav Ganzach of TAU’s Recanati School of Management believes that his study, which has been published in the journal Intelligence, should encourage “those who can’t rely on nepotism for their first job placements.”
For the privileged ones who can rely on the friends of mommy and daddy to get jobs, the writing on the wall is clear – links can only take you so far.
“Your family can help you launch your career and you do get an advantage, but it doesn’t help you progress. And once you start working, you can go wherever your abilities take you,” Professor Ganzach said.
How IQ Impacts Wages
The study involved survey data of 12,868 Americans from 1979 through 2004. Participants were interviewed twice each year. Some were eliminated for various reasons to ensure intelligence and SEB were the two main variables.
Intelligence: The results of each participant’s Armed Forces Qualifying Test were used to measure intelligence.
SEB: A participant’s parental education, family income, and the occupational status of the parents was used to measure SEB.
According to Professor Ganzach, by examining the participants over an extended period (25) “from the beginning to the middle stages of their careers, it was possible to obtain an accurate picture of the influence of each factor on their economic success.”
“Taking into account each participant’s rate of advancement throughout the career arc, the data confirmed that while both intelligence and SEB impacted entry-level wages, only intelligence had an influence on the pace of pay increases throughout the years. When looking at rates of advancement, intelligence won out over SEB in terms of career advancement.”
1. Networking is Still Very Important
Go ahead and network as connections can impact where you start out. Prof Ganzach did find that “those from a wealthy family tended to start higher on the office totem pole with better entry-level wages.”
2. Networking and Nepotism is Not Final
Once you get your foot in the door – where you end up is your decision. “Prof. Ganzach’s research discovered a direct correlation between intelligence and an upward wage trajectory, defined as the rate at which an employee was rewarded with salary raises.”
3. Don’t Discount Other Factors
You should note that this study only focused on intelligence versus SEB. It did not take into account other factors that affect career success like “personality, social skills, and the ability to work well in a group — all factors that influence advancement.”