Have you ever watched a baby with a goal? They know what they want, but they don’t know how to get there. They have limbs they can barely control and a variety of toys, tools, and furniture around them. They collect information by watching others. They test and explore, flailing their limbs until they invent their own kind of motion to get from point A to point B. It’s remarkable when you think about it. None of the adults around them are crawling, but babies find this solution on their own. They will not be denied.
It takes years in a conformity-based education system to train that kind of initiative out of us. In fact, conformity was one of the primary goals of the education system when it was established. Experts believed that people needed to be molded into uniform widgets, then plugged into an assembly line like spare parts, ready to take orders. It wasn’t a great model then, and it’s even worse for the world today.
Despite the slower economy, opportunity abounds. Cloud-computing and other innovations have dramatically reduced the cost of creating, collaborating, and starting a business. The best businesses are struggling to find people who can come in and add value, out-of-the-box thinking, and innovation. The market is full of unmet needs, but there aren’t enough entrepreneurs to solve them.
Now is not the time to wait around for more jobs to open up. Now is not the time to wander aimlessly through a status quo education, or sit in classrooms struggling to stay awake. Now is the time to rediscover your inner entrepreneur. Break free. Pick goals, even if they’re notional, and think clearly about the best way to achieve them. Test different approaches. Is the well-worn path really the best option?