"Listen to your elders. Do what your parents say. With age comes wisdom. We’ve all heard statements like these throughout our lives. We’ve all been told that age equals wisdom, and when someone has wisdom, you should shut your mouth and listen to them. I agree with this to an extent, but if it’s true in every scenario, then why on earth would anyone want to hear from youth? In fact, why don’t we just send all young people off to stay silent and read textbooks from the time they stop wearing diapers to the time they start growing beards. Oh wait, that’s kind of how it works… unfortunately.
Youths bring something to the table that’s not so much “new” as it is easily forgotten. As Picasso is often quoted, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
If you’re reading this, and you’re very young, you probably haven’t been confronted with a lot of criticism… or, maybe you have. The point is that as life goes on, you’re bound to see more and more of this criticism. You’re told to lower your standards until finally, you end up living a normal, monotonous life of little worth. You’re told that you need to play by the rules, and that everything has already been done and everything has been achieved. Don’t listen.
If you’re young, and you want to do something great with your life, the time to start is now. Don’t put it off until tomorrow, because you’re not promised tomorrow, and if you do get tomorrow, the voices that tell you to quit living your passion will only grow louder. Don’t let those voices make you compromise.
Your mind is full of new ideas, new discoveries, and new perspectives that no one can think of but you. So, take this as a warning. The world may not want you to release it, but it’s deep within you. It has not yet been trampled by the blandness of lukewarm thoughts. It is uncensored innovation.
After all, where would space exploration be if Neil Armstrong (who achieved his flight certificate at age 15) had put off flying until he graduated from college? What if Sacagawea had decided she was too young, or unqualified to lead grown men across America while raising her baby? We might still be waiting for the Corps of Discovery to return!
The world needs the youth, and the world needs them now.
Sam Larson, TEDxYouth@Lincoln speaker
Note: Did Sam’s comments challenge you? Do you want to hear more? He’ll be on stage at TEDxYouth@Lincoln on Saturday, August 17.Today would be a good day to get your ticket. Heck, get several and invite your friends."
Originally published at TedxLincoln.com