I am a firm believer in setting goals for oneself. I believe life is all about choices and aspirations, and that there are no limits to what you can achieve if you put your heart into it.
Whether it's deciding what to wear to work on any given day, or daydreaming about becoming a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, we all make choices and we all have aspirations.
This past week, however, I was disturbed - saddened in fact - to come across quite a number of young people who appeared to neither know what they wanted to do after completing school, nor to have any motivation to improve their current situation.
... stop making excuses for not wanting to better themselves...
These youngsters live in a sub-economic area (or whatever the politically correct term is these days) and it appears that life to them is mostly about bread and butter issues and staying away from drugs.
Without intending to sound insensitive to those who struggle financially, I say, "So what?"
So what if you live in a poor community and can't afford the expensive things in life? So what if your parents never finished school and had to start working at a young age? And so what if you don't have the money to study further after high school?
I believe our youth should stop making excuses for not wanting to better themselves and for always settling for what life hands them on their not-so-silver platter. So, maybe your mother left school in Standard Five (now Grade Seven) to work in a factory, and your father cannot read or write and works as a street sweeper for the city.
That is absolutely no excuse for not finishing school. Your parents never had half the opportunities that you do. I don't think it's at all an exaggeration when I say that, these days, the opportunities for us young people are endless.
"Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success."
If you don't have the money to study then apply for a bursary, and if you are not an A-level student then become involved in community work so that you can motivate why you deserve to be given the chance to study further.
I wasn't an A-level student at school but I worked really hard to maintain decent grades and made sure I used every opportunity I could to involve myself in community work so that I could earn the bursary that eventually paid for my studies.
I'm not saying the youth must try to be like me. Heaven forbid! One of me in this world is more than enough. But what I am saying is that you should aspire to be something more than what the negative people in our society expect you to be.
Allow yourself to dream - and then put some sweat into it and work toward fulfilling that dream. If you cannot obtain a bursary then find a job, entry-level and don't moan about the measly pay-cheque. Instead, see it as a learning curve and the first step (albeit humble) towards achieving your goal.
As a woman named Dr Joyce Brothers once said, "Success is a state of mind. If you want success, start thinking of yourself as a success."