The Four Hour Work Week wasn’t cool because everyone hired personal assistants and outsourced their lives right after reading the book. The Four Hour Work Week was cool because it showed that it was possible. It presented a lofty ideal, that seemed attainable if you were willing to put in the work.
Sometimes the biggest thing you can do is demonstrate possibility. Many students don’t believe it’s possible for them to attend college, or start a company, or become a lawyer. They don’t believe in the possibility until it’s demonstrated to them. Until someone that looks like them walks into their school, shakes their hand and says “one day you could do it, too.”
Over the course of interviewing students about what young people need in order to be creative and innovative, one of the common answers has been “possibility.” They need to know just how many options are out there. The world is abundant and if we can demonstrate that fact, we start to unleash the creativity of a population who has been quiet.
I can think back to many times in my life where I saw the possibility and my life was changed. The first time I went to Uncubed, a recruiting event for NYC tech startups, I was exposed to startup culture. Open offices, ping pong tables and free t-shirts. That event opened my eyes to the fact that not all companies make people wear suits. Work doesn’t have to be boring. There are people who love their jobs and that’s just not something I had seen until I was 18.
While my career isn’t that of a tech startup employee, that moment demonstrated possibility. As we go forward and think about how we encourage young people to be creative, the first step might be to show them just how big the world is.
The canvas is huge and it’s blank and it’s ready for you to start painting a picture of what’s possible.