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Why we should stop giving youths hope.

By Jumanne Rajabu

Recently, I have been invited to give talks and keynotes to a number of youths gathering, meet-ups and conference to talk about innovation and technology entrepreneurship. The nature of these gatherings most of the time is few successful entrepreneurs and individuals sharing their life journeys with the young people, telling their stories and testimonials. There is nothing wrong with that, the only problem is that the stories are sweetened and are not based on facts or real situations rather based on giving false hope to young people and showing them things are very easy if they adopt some simple steps.

Most of the youths are getting frustrated because these simple tips and tricks, the so-called life hacks are not working in the real world. For example, it’s common now to see a WhatsApp message moving around different groups preaching about what you can do with 250 USD approx 600K TZS in a small business with a quick return of investment . What they don’t do is telling them the potential risks that might emerge from the business and how do you deal with failure.

It’s good to be inspired and motivated but brother this ain’t a movie or another GoT episode, this is real.

Young people need to be told point blank without discipline and commitment towards what they do there is no success. You can listen to hundreds of inspirational speeches but if you keep showing up in the client meetings one hour late you will be screwed up and the speeches won’t help you. Hope and fact are like faith and science, you don’t stop sending your kids to school because God promised to give them knowledge. You send them to school first and then hope God will give them knowledge. You don’t expect because you have attended so many seminars that teach you to make soap then magically you will run a million dollar soap production plant without any efforts.

Now, what can be adopted by the conference and meet-ups organizers if they really want to create an intended impact on youths?

First, get real entrepreneurs who have enjoyed the process instead of people who have read entrepreneurship in books and by watching TV series. People who can share their lifelong experience without creating movies in their stories. People who got knocked down, get back up, dust off and continue building their legacies.

Second, the events should be skills focused, looking at the actual gaps and add value. Knowledge is everywhere these days what is missing is practical skills that can empower youths to be employable, run their own businesses, build their brands, communicate well etc. The events should encourage more the culture of doing rather than just listening and appreciating the speakers.

Third, the speakers should now, the meet-ups are not about them but the audience. Stop talking about how you own this number of cars, plots, houses etc. instead tell the youths how did you build your business, what a day of an entrepreneur looks like, what kind of skills they need to succeed, the value of time, Networks etc. Anything else from your personal story is a wastage of your valuable time.

Finally, because of false hopes, young people think everything is easy. They don’t work hard, they don’t respect the process, they don’t seek knowledge, they don’t value trust and they want to succeed because of a fancy story of brother or sister so and so who was able to do it without doing a lot of work. There is no such a thing. You don’t catch a wolf using a sheep, you catch a wolf using a wolf. Now choose, do you want to be a wolf or a sheep?

Dedication

  • Maisha Package Team | team of young co-founders who works so hard to build their product. They go to college by the day and work on their startup in the evening.
  • Real Entrepreneurs | all entrepreneurs who share their real stories to inspire youths on building their careers.

This article was first published on Medium

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