A Message For Those Feeling Lost In Their 20s

By Gary Vaynerchuk

Society puts a lot of pressure on people in their 20s to “figure out” their lives.

The reality is, most 57-year-olds don’t even have their lives figured out. There’s no reason to put pressure on yourself so early in the process.

Here are a few things to remember as you’re navigating life in your 20s:

1. Take The Biggest Risks Of Your Life.

Going “conservative” in your 20s is something you really, really should debate. Especially if you aren’t in debt.

When you’re this young, the number one thing you should focus on is executing on the most high risk behaviors of your life.

The biggest reason that so many people become unhappy is that they play life in “reverse.” They go for the safe and practical job right out of school, and they buy expensive stuff to impress their parents and friends. Then, it becomes less practical to quit their job because they’re “chained down” with expenses.

Instead, make high risk moves around the thing that will make you the happiest.

This is exactly when you should go live in Bali for a year. This is exactly when you should try and become Beyonce.

This is exactly when you go on the “offense.”

2. Don’t be Afraid to Take a $12 / Hour Job Over a $25k / Year Job.

I’m a big believer in working for cheap (or free) for the person you want to try and become.

Getting “closest to the sun” is where all the leverage is.

Here’s what I mean by that:

If you go and work for someone you admire and do an incredible job, they could “put you on” and change the course of your entire career. For example… if you admire Alex Rodriguez or Chance the Rapper and you had the chance to run their social media for $12 / hour, there’s no question that would be be better than a job that pays $52,000.

Imagine what it would be like to be known as the guy or girl behind A-Rod’s social or Chance the Rapper’s videos.

Be humble, patient, strategic, and stop caring what your living situation looks like to people “on the outside.” You’ll set yourself up for an incredible future.

3. Do it Because You Enjoy the Process Not Because You’re Chasing Results.

When I look for talent, I’m obsessed with finding people who love the process — not the stuff that the game “buys” you.

If you’re focused on the cars, the shoes, and “posturing” to your friends, you’re finished. If you’re building a business or navigating your career based on what’s going to get you the off-whites, private planes, spa treatments, or jewelry, you’re not going to have a long career.

So many people in their 20s are taking jobs that pay a few thousand dollars more just so they can buy more stuff. Don’t get me wrong, I have empathy for people in debt. But a lot of people are taking these jobs because they’re trying to live up to the expectations of their parents and friends.

I look for people who “can’t breathe” if they’re not doing their art because those are the people who are going to win long term. For me, business is my art. For you, it might be design, performing on stage, or something else.

Whatever it is, be that person who’s obsessed with their craft and would be doing it for “free” no matter what.

4. Don’t Stress About Finding the Answer “What Should I Do With My Life?”

If you don’t know what that “craft” is yet, that’s okay.

It blows me away how much pressure we put on people in their 20s and early 30s to have their entire lives figured out.

Of course you don’t know what you want to do yet — you haven’t even lived yet!

Now’s the time to be massively risk-oriented and try everything you want to try. There’s no “wrong” move you can make. If you genuinely want to spend every minute working like I did, great. If you want to travel to Bali or work in a vineyard in Tasmania, great.

Now is the time to go have different experiences and try different jobs until you find one you like.

5. Stand Up to the People You Love and Have Tough Conversations.

If there’s one piece of advice you take away from this article, it would be this:

Have the conversations you need to have with the people you’re closest to.

Tell them the truth. Tell them how you feel about everything — about what you want to do, where you want to work, your insecurities, how you feel about their expectations, and everything else.

It will absolutely change your life. Even if they get angry and react poorly, their level of respect for you will be enormous.

It saddens me that so many people allow the opinions of their parents and their friends to hold them back in their careers, or worse, push them to make decisions that have terrible long term consequences (like taking on massive debt).

If you don’t have the tough conversation with them now, you’ll resent them in the long term because you lived your life for them and not yourself.

6. Stop Debating. Start Executing.

I implore you to not worry about the current judgement being deployed on you.

One of the biggest reasons I’m happy and can navigate my life so quickly is because I believe in one thing more than anything else:

The truth will play out in the end.

It’s not that I’m right or will be right, it’s that the truth plays out regardless. It’s pointless try to prove those around you wrong with your words.

Stay patient, and do it with your actions.

Wish more people in their 20s understood this message. Share this article on Twitter if you got value from it!

This article was first published on Medium

15 Tips to Build Self Esteem & Confidence in Teens

By Nicole Schwarz

As a parent, aunty/uncle, We want our teens to feel confident with who they are. We cross our fingers the encouragement and support we’ve given them up to this point has been enough to build a strong self-esteem.

The reality is the teenage years are full of change.

A teens brain experiences a “reorganization” that can leave both parents and teens feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and confused.

As teens search for their place in the world, many struggle through situations that challenge beliefs about themselves they’ve clung to for years.

Thankfully, this doesn’t signal the end of your influence! Follow the 15 practical and super effective tips below to help your teen grow into a strong, confident adult with a healthy self-worth.

1. Love Unconditionally.

Make sure your teen can rest assured your love does NOT depend on their grades, performance, friend group, college, or any other factor – including their choices or behavior.

When we tie love to performance, we miss the essence of unconditional love – that it is freely given because our teen is enough just as they are.

This doesn’t mean you and your teen can’t make mistakes, have bad days, or arguments. And, it certainly doesn’t mean you ignore abuse. It’s just a reminder the overall message your teen should receive is: “I love you no matter what. I’m committed to loving you through the ups and downs.”

2. Embrace a growth mindset in your home.

Many teens are stuck in a “fixed mindset” about who they are or what they can or cannot accomplish and often feel unsure how to move forward.

Bring what you’re learning about growth mindset into your family conversations. Talk about the brain, use words like neuroplasticity, make observations about areas in which you’ve seen your teen grow.

Even if your teen seems to reject it outright, sprinkle these messages into your interactions, reminding them their abilities are not fixed, inborn, and inflexible, but there is always room to grow and improve.

3. Make room for failure.

Mistakes and setbacks can crush a delicate self-esteem and wreak havoc a child’s confidence. Your voice is essential in these situations. When you criticize, panic or gloss over a failure, you emphasize a fixed mindset, basically sending the message this bump in the road is a sign there is no hope for improvement in the future.

Instead, take a deep breath and open up the conversation with your teen. Ask questions like:

a). Where did things get off track?
b). What things influenced this decision?
c). What did you learn from this situation?
d). How are you planning to move forward in a positive direction?

4. Praise the process and tie it to the outcome.

It’s easy to go overboard, gushing about your teen’s awards, accolades, and achievements. Unfortunately, these things can become tied to their self-esteem, causing them to feel they’re only worthwhile if they achieve.

On the flipside, they aren’t worthwhile if they fall short or fail. Instead, congratulate your teen’s accomplishments, milestones, and growth by emphasizing their hard work, effort, and perseverance.

Focusing on the characteristics that got them to this point will help them make the connection between their effort and the result.

Effective praise can build resilience, confidence, and self-direction. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Praising Kids for additional tips and positive phrases.

5. Help them gain new and lacking skills.

Adolescence is a time of huge brain growth, but it can also highlight areas where your teen struggles – physically, academically, socially, or emotionally – more than they did when they were younger.

These new struggles can lead to feelings of negative self-worth. When you identify an area of concern, or notice a challenge, encourage your teen to see this as an opportunity to grow, learn and expand their interests and abilities.

Look for ways to build on things your teen is already passionate about and explore options for them to use these situations to practice or sharpen new skills.

6. Be a family that doesn’t give up.

Many people believe they need to feel confident before they tackle something difficult.

Carol Dweck states, “A remarkable thing I’ve learned from my research is that in the growth mindset you don’t always need confidence.”

Your teen can still try something they’re not good at or start something new, even if they don’t feel super confident at the outset. If they stick to something wholeheartedly, they embrace growth mindset, and can build confidence along the way. (This is also true for parents learning to relate to their teenagers!)

7. Give reassurance.

As teens navigate through the ups and downs of new situations and often overwhelming emotions, it helps to know these challenges are normal.

Building self-esteem and confidence often means taking bold stands and making decisions that impact peer groups or social standing.

Remind your child they are not a “bad person” for moving on from a toxic friendship or choosing an activity over a boyfriend/girlfriend. Growth and maturity can be difficult, but it doesn’t mean your teen is doing something wrong.

8. Talk about assertiveness.

Confident, clear, and persuasive communication does not come easy to everyone. Many teens don’t have a grasp on the differences between assertive, passive, and aggressive communication.

Discuss how nuances such as tone of voice can make or break a conversation. Point out how body language and nonverbal cues can send a message of their own.

Encourage your teen to practice in front of a mirror so they can begin to identify the nuances of assertive communication. Standing up tall, rolling their shoulders back, and speaking clearly can improve how your teen feels, especially if they aren’t feeling very confident going into a difficult situation.

Hang up the Positive Affirmations poster, specially designed for teens! This beautifully designed poster contains encouraging affirmations that can help cultivate a growth mindset in any classroom or home.

9. Practice at home.

Create a safe space for your teen to process through difficult situations. Give them the freedom to talk freely about challenges, peer conflict, and gripes about “unfair” teachers and overwhelming homework assignments.

Then, explore ways they can manage these situations with confidence, addressing others in a way that is respectful and keeps their self-worth intact.

For teens who struggle to communicate clearly or are challenged in some social situations, use the safety of your home to explore their options. Role play potential conversations, using a variety of responses, tones of voice, volume, and nonverbal cues.

10. Encourage self-compassion.

Growth mindset requires kindness and patience with ourselves as we grow and learn. Contrary to popular messages in social media and influences from their peer group, your teen doesn’t need an outside opinion to prove personal worth.

If you notice your teen is stuck in a negative or fixed mindset about their worth, encourage them to embrace self-compassion.

Introduce mindfulness apps or activities, create positive mantras, or list affirmations where they will be seen on a regular basis. When your teen is struggling, encourage them to talk to themselves using the same words and tone of voice they would use if a close friend was struggling in the same way.

11. Encourage diversity in activities and interests.

Teens who are involved in a variety of activities, sports teams, volunteer opportunities, and educational activities tend to have a higher sense of self-esteem. They aren’t crushed by a setback in one area because they have other things feeding their self-worth.

When your teen engages in activities helping others, they gain a sense of purpose.

12. Give less advice.

It’s not easy to sit back and watch as your child struggles to learn or has to manage the consequences of an impulsive decision. It’s normal to want to share your wisdom or do what you can to smooth the path ahead for your teen.

However, learning to think through challenges, brainstorm options, and problem solve well can all build your teen’s confidence.

Rather than solving all of your teen’s problems for them, engage them in the process. Become a cheerleader, rather than director. Listen as they explore where things went off track and then support your teen’s plan to move forward in a positive direction.

13. Ask for advice.

Parents face challenges and failures in our everyday lives. We can use these moments to show our teens that we are human and that we need help too! Be sure to discuss your challenges in front of your kids. Let them see you make mistakes.

Discuss the situation with them. Perhaps ask them for advice or see how they would approach your problem. This not only creates connection, but shows your teen that you are NOT perfect and that you are learning and growing too.

14. Listen.

Keep the relationship with your teen strong and build their self-worth by resisting the urge to turn everything into a “teachable moment” or a long lecture.

Instead, focus on listening to what your teen is saying. Don’t make assumptions, judgments, or jump to the offense. Begin with empathy, putting yourself in your child’s shoes.

Relating to them on an emotional level, realizing that responding with logic or reasoning may push them away.

You don’t have to agree with your teen’s perspective to be empathetic. Focus on improving your listening skills rather than needing to be “right” or having the last word.

15. Model confidence.

Your teen is watching you. They are observing how you manage challenging situations and how you feel about yourself.

Watch the conversations you have when your teen is around – be careful you don’t put others down, criticize yourself, or make your own happiness dependent on other people or circumstances.

If you’ve struggled with these things in the past, admit to your teen you are still working on this, even as an adult.

Take an honest assessment of your own self-esteem and confidence. Then, embrace a growth mindset! Rather than beating yourself up, look for places or areas you want to improve, find things that will build your self-confidence…and then get started!

Your teen’s true confidence is reflected in their mindset, their readiness to grow and learn from the challenges they encounter. Unfortunately, this may take time.

You can’t force your child to embrace a growth mindset, practice positive affirmations, or try challenging activities, but you can create a home environment that nourishes and encourages these behaviors.

With your support, your teen can build self-worth and confidence which matches the images she’s sharing on social media.

This articles was first published on Big Life Journal

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Act now or a billion young Africans will be undone by 2050 – Mandela widow

By Karen McVeigh

Nelson Mandela’s widow has warned Africa could become the continent of a billion “angry, underfed, under-educated and under-employed” young people by 2050, unless African governments act to invest in their children.

In advance of the publication of a major report on child rights across Africa, Graça Machel has expressed concern that a “toxic combination” of undernutrition, poor education and the world’s fastest-growing youth populations pose a threat to the continent’s future.

“Even though our youth have the potential to transform Africa, if neglected, they could exacerbate poverty and inequality while threatening peace, security and prosperity,” said Machel, chair of the international board of trustees of the African Child Policy Forum (ACPF), which will publish the 2018 Africa Report on Child Wellness on Friday.

The report, which ranks 52 nations on how they are meeting child rights under international conventions, warns that massive investment is needed to prevent a billion children and young people from becoming undernourished, semi-illiterate or illiterate, and jobless or underemployed by 2050. Africa’s child and youth population is predicted to reach 750 million by 2030, and one billion by the middle of the century – representing approximately 40% of the global child and youth population.

The ACPF report, which analysed progress on the “child-friendliness” index of African governments over the past decade, highlighted “remarkable improvements” in the survival and overall wellbeing of African children. These included an almost 50% reduction in child mortality over 15 years and increased access to primary education. But the study expressed concern that child malnutrition and substandard education in many counties was creating a “crisis” in human development for the future.

“Africa is on the verge of a serious human development crisis, which carries grave consequences for the social and economic wellbeing of its people and for the future of the continent,” said the report’s authors.

“There are many reasons for concern,” said Dr Assefa Bequele, the ACPF’s executive director. “Undernutrition remains a serious and persistent problem. It is the single biggest challenge for Africa’s children. Stunting remains unacceptably high, at 30.4%. Up to half of all deaths in under-fives are associated with undernutrition. And while African children may attend school in large numbers, they are not learning. Two in every five children leave primary school without learning how to read, write or do simple arithmetic.”

The report named the 11 most child-friendly governments as Mauritius, Algeria, Tunisia, South Africa, Cabo Verde, Egypt, Namibia, Seychelles, Swaziland, Morocco and Lesotho.

South Sudan, Central African Republic, Chad, Cameroon, Zambia, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea and Eritrea were rated the least child-friendly countries.

Rankings are based on indicators including nutrition, education, budgets and social protection.

Spending on education across Africa has stagnated at an average of 4% of GDP over the past two decades, the study found. More than half of all girls do not attend secondary school. Zambia and Central African Republic allocated just 1% of GDP to education, while Lesotho and Botswana spent more than 10%.

Child undernutrition cost Ethiopia 16.5% of its GDP – and 5.6% in Uganda – said the report.

The study found that while many countries have laws, policies and institutions governing child rights, many laws are discriminatory and inconsistent with international standards. The continuing incidence of child labour, child marriage and violence against children showed a wide gap between rhetoric and action, as well as poor enforcement of laws.

For instance, while 36 out of 52 countries set the marriageable age at 18 or above for both sexes, three in 10 African children are married before the age of 18. In Sudan, girls as young as 10 are allowed to marry.

The report’s authors called for urgent action to tackle undernutrition and poor education, as well as more job creation and greater economic opportunities for young people.

Source: The Guardian

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How to Teach Teens Self-Control

At the end of every school year, if you work with teens, you hear the same story. Someone goes to a party and drinks too much. That was the case a couple of years back. A girl went to senior week and drank so much she passed out on the beach. Apparently her “friends” were more concerned about getting in trouble than they were about her as they impulsively chose to leave her there. Fortunately, a group of strangers made sure she was safe and got help. That same week a different teen girl told me she got in trouble. I was surprised because this girl was a model citizen: moral, academic, athletic, responsible, and pretty. When I asked why she said her brother made her angry so she punched him in the face. I wondered why it’s so hard for teens to control themselves.

Teens are able to understand the idea of consequences and that they can choose good or bad behavior. But be aware that the part of their brain that can help them exercise self-control is still not fully formed. It won’t reach that point until they’re in their mid-twenties. So, even though your teen no longer looks like a little kid, they still have a lot of kid left in them. Here’s how you can help to teach self-control for kids turned teens.

1. Draw a mental picture.

A simple illustration to help them grasp the basics of self-control is to ask them to imagine a stop sign that must be obeyed before they leap into a situation.

2. Cool down.

Encourage your child to walk away from a frustrating situation for a few minutes to cool off instead of having an outburst if they don’t get their own way.

3. Identify the trigger.

Encourage them to think about what’s causing them to lose control and then analyze it. Explain that sometimes the situations that are upsetting at first don’t end up being so awful after all.

4. Consider consequences and options.

Remind teens to think about long-term consequences. Urge them to pause and evaluate upsetting situations before responding and talk through problems rather than losing control, slamming doors, or yelling.

5. Set clear guidelines.

Be clear about your expectations and the amount of self-control you expect your child to exhibit. For example: “Josh, you can play video games after you clean up your room. That means clothes off the floor, dresser drawers closed, and bed made. Do that first, let me check out your room, and then you can play.”

What have you done to teach self-control to your teen?

Picture Featured Credited ¦ Ebony Magazine


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