Youth Month commemorates one of the most significant turning points in South African history – the Soweto Uprising of 1976. It’s a remarkable example of the power the youth has to be a catalyst for great and positive change. The Sowetan youth understood that to change the world, you need to understand the world. That’s what they fought for. Educating yourself is the only way to truly comprehend the world and prosper.
Don’t wait for change.
To celebrate Youth Month, we would like to explore the great changes you can make in your life now to find your own success in the future. The earlier you cultivate an open and educated mindset, the better you will be able to adapt to the changing tides of the future.
With a bit of research, it’s fairly simple to observe trends and adapt. But what about the unforeseen? The proverbial curveball that breaks any notions of stability and foresight you may harbour? Cue a global pandemic that transforms the very way society operates?
That’s the thing about life – it doesn’t play fair, and it certainly doesn’t give a tootin’ hoot about your plans. So, how do we prepare ourselves for the inevitable obstacle of constant change?
As the youth, you have a long life of exciting opportunities and possibilities ahead of you. But that also means you face a greater timeline of change. In an era that boasts the most significant and rapid succession of changes in human history, this is a fact that you should consider, deeply.
Check out this video of a Prof. Eamonn Healey in Waking Life as he talks about ‘telescopic evolution’, a term coined to explain how these changes will only become more and more rapid.
To take command of our future, we need to develop our critical thinking and creative problem-solving skills, and equip ourselves with the intellectual tools to carve our own path forward. This provides us with the agility and adaptability to thoroughly assess and overcome any obstacles the future might present.
This is why at Red & Yellow we are constantly scrutinizing and adjusting our courses to provide our students with future-focused, industry-relevant and flexible skill sets that will allow you to navigate the waters of change and uncertainty.
“Knowledge is like a garden. If it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested” – African Proverb
Find, define and refine your uniqueness.
WARNING: cliché figure of speech ahead! Are you ready? Have you donned your anti-cringe armour? Here we go…
“Be yourself, because no one else can.”
Phew! Ok, it’s over. Are you still alive? Good. Now, let’s try to look beyond the bumper-sticker philosophy and explore the concept that birthed it.
When you place yourself in a saturated market, you have the whole world to compete against. But harness your uniqueness to discover your very own space in the market that meets a demand, and you’ll find yourself thriving.
As a prime example, here’s a TedTalk by Alex Smith that explores this notion in a very interesting and practical way. One section that particularly stood out to us (06:15 – 09:30) is the Nokia VS Apple ‘parable’.
In a nutshell, Nokia dominated the cellphone market back in the day (this was the pre-smartphone era). Its products were famous for their unrivalled durability and affordability (just google the infamous ‘Nokia 3310’ – that thing is near indestructible!).
Then came Apple with the revolutionary iPhone, which essentially became the standard for every other mobile phone that followed. It was fragile and considerably more expensive than any Nokia product. But it had a sleek, enticing and beautiful design that just exuded extravagance.
Long story short, its popularity exploded. Everyone wanted an iPhone, a product that signalled the arrival of the future. Nokia felt threatened and started its own foray into the smartphone market. But now, they were competing in a space where Apple already had a jumpstart. Nokia forgot why people loved its phones – it was rugged, durable, and affordable.
They lost sight of what differentiated their brand and lost hold on their unique segment of the market. Today, Nokia is nowhere near a key competitor in the mobile phone market. Once a giant of old, now but a footnote in history.
So, the lesson?
Find what makes you unique and discover how you can use it to find your own cosy space in the market. If your distinct skill set is worth its salt, you will find success. Yes, the competition will then follow. But as the pioneer, you will have the headstart. Just like Apple did with the iPhone – and today they still remain one of the top contenders and pioneers in the emerging tech market.