Recently, a friend of mine asked me why it is that I enjoy working with teenagers so much.
And she thought,
“Wouldn’t working with adults be easier? They have more life experience and more learning to reflect on.”
I thought about this and I was like
“No, actually I prefer working with teenagers potentially for that very reason.”
Adults Tend To Have Fear-Based Thinking
As adults, we’ve had a lot of years to absorb our ‘shoots’.
We’ve gotten into a way of thinking where we ‘conform’ to the reality that we create for ourselves through the information that we focus on.
The problem is the information that we focus on isn’t always a conscious choice — we get a lot of subliminal information from things like our environment, especially from television, newspapers, Facebook, and other forms of media.
And even though that information tends to go in without us being particularly consciously aware of it, our brains actually do attend to it, and it becomes absorbed into our realities.
Why is that?
Because most of the information that we hear on TV and in the media is designed to trigger our fear. And our brains will always attend to something that threatens our wellbeing – even if we’re not consciously aware of it.
The reason for this is because fear sells. The biggest human motivation is to move away from fear.
So when fear is triggered we tend to move away from it.
For example, if you’re walking down the street and you see a headline for a newspaper that says “it’s going to be a beautiful weekend this weekend weather-wise.” You’ll sort of go. “Oh yeah, great weather” and you’ll keep walking.
But if you see a similar headline that says “there’s a storm coming in the next couple of hours“, chances are you’ll stop and read that out because there’s a potential threat to your wellbeing.
So like it or not, we attend to stuff that triggers our fear. And as adults, when we’ve spent a lot of years doing that, we’ve almost stopped realizing we do this, and we’ve conformed to that fear-based thinking as the norm.
Why Teenagers Have a Better Opportunity to Break the Cycle
With teenagers, on the other hand, there’s still an opportunity. There’s still time for us to break that cycle.
Teenagers haven’t conformed to that fear-based thinking to the same extent that adults have.
They have to a certain extent, but only because they’re learning it from modeling adults.
As adults and as parents – we have a responsibility and opportunity to break that cycle by modeling to teenagers that they can in fact look at the world through opportunity-based thinking rather than fear-based thinking.
That’s one of the advantages of being a teenager – they’ve yet to experience and absorb all the fears we’ve experienced as adults, and as a result, they’re more easily able to see opportunities and take action on them.
They can find and move towards their purpose rather than constantly coming from a place of fear in their everyday interactions.
As Adults, We Can Learn A Thing Or Two From Teenagers
So if we can actually take that opportunity-based thinking on board and learn from teenagers in that sense, then we as adults also have an opportunity for ourselves to change our personal reality and perhaps feel better ourselves.
For example, only just recently, I spoke to a young man and we were talking about this very concept that we actually get back what you put out.
I mean if you go out today and you set the intention that “today’s going to be an awesome day” and you smile to people and say “Good morning!“, people actually say “Good morning” back.
And that’s really awesome.
And he’d come back with this realization and he said “you know what, I actually realize now why I was so scared being judged all the time” and I said “Why is that?” and he said that he realized that he was a little judgemental of people himself. And he now realized that he could change that, and he’s not actually feeling so judged himself.
So, in summary, teenagers have a great opportunity to break the cycle of fear-based thinking that they learn from watching and modeling adults, and for this reason, I love working with them.
And as adults, we can still transform ourselves if we are able to accept that we’ve allowed fear-based thinking to permeate through our lives, realise our patterns, and make a conscious effort to see the world through the lens of opportunity.
Take care guys and catch you next time.