“I’m Soooo.. Special, It Will Just Happen.”
Americans once had a slogan that read something to the effect of; “Work hard and you will be successful.” Some did and some did not find success through this method. (I am no promoter of too much work). However, the more I look around at today’s younger generations, the more I think that the old slogan should be dusted off and re-hung above the door.
I have had a fair amount of exposure to kids of the up and coming generation and I have heard the same mantra from far too many of them. They all like to brag about all the great things that they are going to do with their lives, they are going to be: actors and actresses or rock stars or great painters/artists or writers or scientists or …….. but they all have one thing in common. Today’s generation is under the misunderstanding that real success will simply fall out of the sky one day and clock them in the grape.
When I ask these young people what they are doing to accomplish their lofty ambitions, I am astounded to find out that playing PS2 is where they are doing their course work. If not that, then they are consumed with some other equally, trivial task. These young people are completely serious that they are going to achieve all of these goals in their lives and not but a few, I have ever spoken to, is realistic about the amount of hard work and or dedication it requires on their part to achieve these goals.
I can’t count, on all of my fingers and toes together, the number of ‘artists’ I have spoken with who spend less than an hour a day working at their chosen craft. Most spend less than an hour a week!! Do they actually believe that Monet or Bernini one day awoke and were gifted artists? Yes, the sad truth is that they really do believe that they where born gifted and that alone will make them famous. I tell my own children that their art work is good but apparently some people find that good and genius are much closer bed fellows than I do. I have seen some of their work and it is good, for a high school student.
The problem is, they have dropped out of college and think that their unpracticed art/craft is going to propel them to stardom. They are in their late teens, mid twenties or worse, their thirties and they still have the skill level of a freshman high school student. I can tell you that I have made many an enemy in my local art community by mentioning the fact that the artist in question needs to dedicate more time to his/her craft. I fancy myself a writer and dedicate at least three to four hours a week to writing but I would not assume that anything I have produced is going to pay the bills.
I have spoken to a fairly large number of young people who want to be some sort of computer designer/engineer. These people I thought would be more in tune with the complexities of accomplishing their goals but I was mistaken. Apparently, young people seem to think that if you play video games long enough, then by osmosis you will be able to write HTML or DOS script. Having grown up in the Vic 21 and Commodore 64 age I often tell them that programming is a difficult task even when regurgitating the command sequences from a written directory. Writing one’s own directory and command sequence is even harder. After a few silent moments and blank stares, I get to hear about their games intriguing characters and plot.
I could draw this post out to account for almost any career known to humanity and the young people whom I have spoken to who seem to be oblivious to the difficulty in attaining their goal. I feel sorry for these young people who I can only see as broken people in ten years. Their dreams dashed and the will to pursue those dreams obliterated. All because as a whole, the American Society has decided to tell them that they are ‘special’ and can do anything, when what they should be telling them, is that dedication and hard work are necessary ingredients in any success story. Still living at home, still playing PS2 and working part time at the local pizza place. This is not the recipe for success, it is the recipe for failure.