I give up!
Our latest blog is a guest blog from Onika Griffith-Elliott who shares with us her thoughts following the release of the Riots Panel Final Report.
It’s not often that you and I consider giving up to be the best option in a certain situation, but with the release of the review of last summer’s riots that stated “Young people who develop character will be best placed to make the most of their lives.” there’s now a strong argument to do so. Give up on our youth? Give up on the country’s future? Give up on society? Give up? Absolutely not, I hear you say. But for once, there’s a strong argument in favour of doing so. I recently received an email from a friend with a list of things that we should give up to be happy and by the time I had read it, I thought yes, it’s time to give up. Among the things that it suggested were; self-defeating talk, blame, limiting beliefs, excuses and living up to other people’s expectations. These, I believe, are the most powerful within the list that every child, teen and adult should strive to give up in order to improve lives and society.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.”
Let’s take the first, self-defeating talk, that often noisy, negative, nagging voice that tells us to stop before we’ve even started or that we will fail. Some say it’s good as it’s the voice of realism, and yes we need to consider at times what our inner voice is telling us as it can serve to be a great protector, yet often it can prove to be a great inhibitor, helping us to talk ourselves out of what we fear most. At times when our inner voice is questioning our decisions, we must choose to ignore it and press on with what we know we should be doing or achieving. If today’s children and teenagers, particularly those from disadvantaged areas learned to replace their self-defeating talk with positive self-talk, they would find new depths of self-belief and drive, to help them overcome what looks to be a dire and on-going prospect of unemployment, debt and general doom and gloom. If one or two young people change their thinking from “there’s no alternative to their current situation”, to exploring that there may be something out there for them, this in turn opens up new possibilities that they had never considered, such as self-employment, portfolio careers (yes for teens and those in their twenties as so many have skills that others want that they don’t even know that they have) that would be one or two less young people heading to the back of the dole queue. The question now is, are you going to do your part and do away with the negative thoughts and replace them with positive thoughts that will move you towards your goals?
“A man can fail many times, but he isn’t a failure until he begins to blame someone else and stops trying.”
Blame is something that too often becomes a natural reaction and in some cases a reflexive reaction to a situation that hasn’t gone as expected. It’s so easy to blame others, circumstances and/or tools rather than taking a good and hard look at ourselves and how we may have contributed to the outcome. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when blame does lie elsewhere but by blaming things outside of ourselves, we are as the email points out giving away our powers to others. When I speak about powers, I’m not referring to the supernatural powers of well-known fictional characters that may jump to mind, but the power of being able to affect the outcome of any given situation with which you’re involved. This might require stepping up and doing your best or being aware of potential shortcomings and actively rectifying them where possible. Blame is the easiest and laziest way out as it’s a great avoidance strategy for not looking at ourselves as a key contributor to the outcome. I think that is one of the key contributing factors to what happened last summer. Our youth have been given points to focus their blame such as, the Government is not providing work or it’s not our fault we don’t have anything else to do. It’s time we educate the young about the dangers of blame and transferring their power to other people by showing them how to be proactive in changing their situation and the earlier in life this is done the better.
I say we give up blame and decide to be the change and make a change, making every day a day of proactivity. Should we find ourselves blaming something or someone we need to take a moment to stop and ask ourselves, how could I have created a different outcome?
It is vital that our youth are provided with the right information at the right time, to make the right choices. Every child and teenager deserves to be provided with the tools to be the best they can be, to nurture their hopes and dreams for a brighter future even if in some cases the best tool is giving up.
So the thought of giving up, can be and is as powerful as persevering. What will you choose to give up to make a change? Give it up and move on.
Onika Griffith-Elliott is a self confessed leadership junkie who has and continues to devour anything around this topic. This, combined with her passion for self improvement and motivating others to make changes in their lives has lead her to develop a Character Development programme for Primary and Secondary School Children that teaches personal leadership through action and contribution. Onika has worked in the Talent Management and Welfare to Work industries.