Help your kid become self-motivated like a Marine
Instead of roaming neighborhoods playing improvised games, modern kids take part in highly structured organized sports or pre-planned “play dates.” Instead of being allowed to do a crappy job on a science project all by themselves, parents do it for them so it looks professional. When teens apply for college, mom and dad help fill out the application. In short, many young people haven’t had the chance to make a lot of decisions on their own.
Childhood through college is thus experienced like a conveyer belt, where you’re just along for the ride.
But then comes graduation. The belt comes to an abrupt end. There are numerous paths to take (although they aren’t limitless!), all stretching in different directions. And to start down any of them takes intentional planning and action — nobody’s guiding or chauffeuring you along.
It’s at this point that many men run into a wall. They wait around, expecting their ship to come in — for external circumstances to congeal into the good things in life they’ve been dreaming about since boyhood. They don’t know how to take action without guidance. It’s no wonder there’s been a great rise in companies that offer to take you on pre-planned, guide-led “adventures,” service project trips, and gap-year experiences, and plenty of online courses and conventions that claim to teach you how to be an entrepreneur (note: if you need a class to get started in being an entrepreneur, the stuff that’s necessary to be self-employed is likely not in you).
But these kinds of hand-holding programs and resources don’t exist for every aspect of life, and knowing how to be self-directed and self-motivated remains crucial. Fortunately, being an autonomous action-taker is a skill that can be learned and revived.