Young people should not forget the value of hard work and long-term thinking.
It is an enormous privilege to be able to closely follow and assist young people who are spreading their wings. In recent years, countless enthusiasts have passed the review, who spoke with great passion about their plans to conquer the world.
Young lions with exuberant dreams about their future studies, careers, social projects, business plans, tech start-ups, webshops or podcast series. Nothing fascinates more than watching someone build something from scratch. Highly educated, less educated, migration roots or not. This country is bursting with young, diverse talent who want to change course and make their mark on our society.
What strikes me over the years is how impatient my contemporaries are and how little work they want to do.
What strikes me over the years is how impatient my contemporaries are and how little work they want to do. It all has to happen right now, and the work should ideally be exciting, attractive and exciting. Anyone setting up an SME today will be frustrated if after a few months they still don’t have a customer base in half a dozen countries. Anyone who started an entry-level job at a multinational a year ago will feel misunderstood tomorrow because he has yet to be promoted to middle management. Anyone who started developing a modest app two years ago would be surprised if he hasn’t raised millions of euros from investors today.
When zooming in on the intrinsic work that has been done in follow-up conversations, it often remains very quiet. Often superficial things like attending networking events, talking a lot about the business plans but little concrete action, putting together flashy PowerPoints, websites and social media accounts, are confused with hard work and making progress. The young people I get in front of me have all the qualities to cope, are ambitious, driven and enterprising. Unfortunately, they are all too often victims of the m’as-tu-vu culture on social media.
The current Instagram generation is addicted to instant success and projecting the most successful image on social media. Long journeys, luxury hotels, very expensive restaurants, exotic cars, designer clothes and parties day and night in the most exclusive places.
If you remind them that such a (staged) lifestyle is not sustainable and does not immediately contribute to building an exciting career or achieving their goals, you usually get very negative reactions. It is more important to appear successful than to be.
The bitter truth is that the road to success usually follows an excruciatingly slow, exhausting and frustrating journey with countless setbacks and obstacles. 95 percent of all work is not done in the limelight, at exclusive events or in exotic destinations that you can show off on Instagram and TikTok. But in lonely, anonymous places.
The bitter truth is that the road to success usually follows an excruciatingly slow, exhausting and frustrating journey with countless setbacks and obstacles.
Long nights surfing the internet, searching for the most suitable templates for the hundredth pitch document, long weekends of hard work in a dreary coffee shop while all your friends are out. Countless hours glued to your phone trying to convince partners or staring at a mailbox that is bursting at the seams. Fall, get up, fail, get up again, try, experiment, fail and get up again. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.
Perhaps we should thank VRT. Due to the uproar in recent weeks over the now defunct ‘FIRE’ documentary series, many more ambitious youngsters are now wary of the countless crypto, NFT and forex scams on social media. One of the biggest misconceptions among young people is that with a little luck and a lot of attention you can quickly become rich and successful.
As a society, we pay a little too much attention to all that glitters and a little too little to the value of hard work and long-term thinking. Those who really want to make a mess in the future will build their empire in shelter.