Saturday, 24 November 2007

Mindsets of young people today

This is my third consecutive posts on mindsets. And I believe this will be the best. But , unfortunately, this post is about mistakes that people make. I am sharing this with you so that you can learn from other people mistake instead of making your own.

I want to start off with my own mistake first.

I realized today I am too soft and lenient with the people I have managed so far. Terrible mistake. In a way, I am pampering the people and have not given them the chances to learn more, especially to learn from the hard way. Up until this point, I always think I am a good manager. I plan for people careers, I share things with them, I buy good books for them and I truly care about them as persons. This is also my another mistake. Because I care for them, I have already mixed my logics with my feelings and emotions until to the points I can no longer see their mistakes and hold them responsible for it. I cover for them, and I give them excuses to fail themselves and to fail me.

I become a pampering snob - pampering myself and people around me. I guess my ex-boss and other more matured people (please notice that I am not saying elder people because maturity does not always correlate with age.) were trying to tell me this before. Yes, most of the young people today is really too pampered. Honestly speaking, I choose to ignore that as I cannot quite get it at that point. That is until my mentor demonstrated this to me today. A demonstration that really make great impact on myself. He hit the right button. Real hard. What a great lesson.

So, I will tell you the mistakes that some people had made which are great deterrents for them in their career and life. In some cases, I have made the same mistakes. Because honest to God, I have quite an unpolished mindsets myself. And I am looking forward to change this. So, I hope everyone will.

1. Do not plan well and have their priorities wrong.

My friend made a terrible mistake today. He was supposed to have a casual appointment with a great businessman at 2:30 p.m. I am saying casual, because the setup is outside the company. He planned to go to blood donation before the appointment at 1:30 p.m. with his friends. His friends were late and ended up he went to the blood donation at 2 p.m. and was late for the meeting.

Unexpectedly (or should be it expected , anyway?) , the businessman refused to see him. He lost his chance because he had not planned well and have the wrong priorities. First of all, he need to realize this maybe a good opportunity for him and this opportunity maybe rare. He should never underestimate the values of a chance to meet and talk to great people.

And in the split seconds that he decided to go on with the blood donation even when it was already 2 p.m. and know that half an hour is probably not enough time to finish it and be on time, he had make a huge mistake even though it may seems like a normal things to do - to go on with the initial plan and do not adjust. Do not get me wrong, blood donation is as important as meeting a successful people to talk about career and life because blood donation may save someone life. But blood donation can be done after the appointments instead. Keeping to our words and showing up on time for the appointment is very important because time is always precious to everybody. Especially for people who are successful, their time is more precious.

2. Do not know what they want in life

I am always dissappointed when I come across people who told me they do not know what they want in life, in their career. Even when I try to tell them, "please think about what you really want in life and your career", it always end up the same. They come back to me and tell me they just do not know.

It is sad. Yes, maybe they are young. But, it is almost impossible for them to achieve anything if they do not know what they want in the first place. If they do not know what they want, they will not fight for it. Without fighting for it, they will not get it. Unless they get really lucky and manage to get to somewhere in life. But, how lucky they can be and for how long?

For me, I know even before completion of my college, I want to start my own business one day. I give myself 5 years to achieve that, which did not happen but at least I know what I want. I heard from a friend also what she wants is for the family to have a good life that in her late days , she does not need to worry financially. This is perfect for me too. Even though, she did not specify how to get there, but she has this picture and goal in mind. That is already enough.

One person told this , she thinks she wants her own career and do not want to be dependant on other people. She definitely wants a good life. But she is not very ambitious and are not willing to sacrifice. She wants to have her own life after work and should not be bothered with office issues whenever she is not in the office. And she said all these in a job interview. Surprised? Maybe she does not want the job at all, and fair enough, she is not going to get it. That comes to my next point also.

3. Do not want to sacrifice

I guess I am stressing on this in all my recent posts. Why do people believe good things come rolling without any efforts, I really have no idea.

There is an old story in China. One day, a farmer passed by the wood and saw a rabbit accidentally hit the tree and died. He took the rabbit home and cooked it. He had the most wonderful dinner in his life. That got him thinking. Life can be as good as this. Why he had to work hard for it? So, the next day, the day after next and days that follows, he sat nearby the tree each days and waited for another rabbit to hit the tree and die. In times, he completely ignored his farm and it became totally useless. So, do you think the farmer can survive? How many rabbit do you think will hit the tree again?

4. Do not have enough fighting spirit

If you hear success stories from successful people who have make it out on their owns, one thing you may notice is that these people may have some very terrible past, like maybe have been or have been on the verge of bankruptcy, cheated, and even suicidal attempts.

They are successful because once they are reborn after the trauma, they fight a lot better and with greater spirit.

5. Do not want to take risk or venture out of comfort zone but want a fast rewards

Think of this. A person that is given a good salary and have a good position in a company. But the company is struggling at times, makes some mistakes and the person feel lost sometimes in what she is doing. So, an opportunity come along that may have potential to change her life and give her what she really wants in life. But she ask , is it going to be the same in 2 years time, that she will back to where she is , doing what she is doing today, making the same mistakes?

There is absolutely no guarantee in everything, right? Opportunities are only opportunities if one grabs it and know how to turn it into rewards. Otherwise, it will just be the wind flowing by.

If we have a good opportunity and we do not live up to it or not scale up to do the job, we cannot blame anyone but ourselves. If we want to stick to what we are doing even without the clear direction and unwilling to take the risk, then maybe we should forget our the fast rewards and instead think of the progressive rewards we will be getting - promotions and salary increase. Both rewards for good depends on how one thinks.

6. Do not feel confident

When one say, I want to build something great, but I really do not know whether I can do it because I do not have much experiences and the past experiences I have is all but failures - they are giving themselves excuses to fail. So, if the next product really fails, they will say, 'See, I already said I have no experience and we do not know what is really the right thing to build. '

Be confident. Say and believe you can do it. Say 'I want to make a million in x years'. Do not say 'I want to make a million in x-y years provided the market is good and I am lucky.'

7. Do not ask enough (intelligent) questions

Always be prepared with questions to ask. Do not assume things. I am sure everybody does not know everything. There must be some questions to ask to explore more things and to get other people to share what we do not know.

Always ask questions . Intelligent one. Only when you ask, people can give you more. Nobody want to spoonfeed people.

If you meet successful people, ask how they do it. Maybe, most will not tell you exactly how they do it or you may not be able to digest the information and execute accordingly, but still ask anyway. One day, you may just get lucky and someone may just say 'Come, let me show it to you'.

Always have a mind that wonder why things are the way they are. Then, take action. Always take actions.

My mentor told me this interesting story of when he went to his first class of psychology. There was a woman standing in front of everyone and started to strip. Everyone wondered what was going on and whether they were in the right class. My mentor, he got out of the room, not because he did not want to continue looking at the naked woman..LOL, but just to check the classroom no. to ensure that was the correct class . Of course, the class was right and he got immediately right back in (u should know why..LOL) . After he got in, the professor asked his name and what he was doing. He have done the right thing that day, because while everyone was wondering on the same thing but very unfocused (because of the naked beautiful lady), he actually acted upon his wonder. Well, from there onwards, his professor like him very much and he became a very good mind and people reader.

So, such a long list of what I have learnt today. I hope this ring a bell to someone. And I hope people who are making these mistakes will acknowledge this and start to change.

Yes, we all make mistakes and our mindsets are programmed from childhood until now through what we have experienced. The key is to continue to grow our mindset to the correct one.

I shared this article last time with my ex-colleagues. I think it is still very applicable to all people.

Through more than three decades of systematic research, she has been figuring out answers to why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t—why some become Muhammad Ali and others Mike Tyson. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.

What’s more, Dweck has shown that people can learn to adopt the latter belief and make dramatic strides in performance. These days, she’s sought out wherever motivation and achievement matter, from education and parenting to business management and personal development.

So, you may not really be an intelligent or very talented person. But all you need is hardwork, sacrifices and someone who may be able to guide you to the road of success. Everything else can be trained.

Also, that's why even if you are making mistakes today, please do not give up on yourself.


autumnmusic said...

u'v owes been a "people" manager to me, i.e. u relate to the ppl and willingly fight for your staff's rights, which are actually important virtues for a manager to have also, imho.

but u did pamper us quite a bit :P

i believe in the goal setting part also, and im trying to come up with plans that actually suits me, instead of trying to be someone who ppl tink i shd be. nid to find the balance actually.

Weekhang Teoh said...

To me it feels like you've hit all the nails right on their head.
I also thought I was doing well - until I have the realization, after a bunch of staff whom I recruited as fresh grad left the company after 3-4 years of service.

I think they have learned enough from me, the people around them and the organization - to get a good "next job".

But I do not think I have done enough for them to succeed beyond that - in this so called globalized and super competitive world. If they do succeed beyond their next job - I'd say it has to be them or some other people who have instilled the required mindset in them.

The main issue like you pointed out is that they have their own expectation on "success", regardless of whether it's self implanted or imposed by peer/family pressure; but the mindset and effort that is put in seldom match with their own expectations.

I don't think there's another way to go about it - if one wants to be fulfilled - one has to either change the expectation or change the mindset and effort :)
So the trick is how to help people see the real picture of work, business and life in the language that they understand.


Grey Horse said...

On your point about people not knowing what they want in life.

Quoting from what you written:

"For me, I know even before completion of my college, I want to start my own business one day. I give myself 5 years to achieve that, which did not happen but at least I know what I want. I heard from a friend also what she wants is for the family to have a good life that in her late days , she does not need to worry financially. This is perfect for me too. Even though, she did not specify how to get there, but she has this picture and goal in mind. That is already enough."

No offense, but ask any Tom, Dick and Harry they will most probably want to have a business and most probably want to have financial stability for their family. After all who doesn't? Wanting a business and be financial sound is not equivalent to knowing what you want in life. Again no offense, this does not make you different from the rest of them.

Susan said...

Thanks for all your comments. I know this post will be a bit conflicting.

To clarify further , when I say mention about mindsets of young people, that also include myself. Cause I am young or I consider myself young. LOL.

Grey horse, yes, I am no different. I am just saying, all of us need to picture something in the future like in 5-10 years..whether you will have a lot of kids or whether you will have a house near the beach. The pictures keep us going and fighting for what we want.

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