My son has always been a cricket enthusiast. He was 8 when he first started training in Cricket. His idol is Virat Kohli. He knows the names of all cricketers. Knows all the matches — years, outcome, unique hits and misses. Everything. He can make cricket conversations for hours without a sign of boredom. He trains hard in Cricket and is pursuing professional Cricket. He is all of 13. Ask him what his dream is — he is too quick to say “Playing International Cricket”. Given his young age, he is overly confident that he will make the cut. Be there in the chosen eleven. When asked to spend a little more time on studies, he is quick to say, “Kohli only studied till twelfth. And he is doing well”. Often, this reliance works against his seeking a more conventional path, say that of academics.
He is not alone. Children today want to pursue extraordinary careers — careers that bring name and fame. Not to mention the money. The glamour surrounding some fields is so forthcoming that it is difficult to miss. Not just Cricket, it may be sports in general, cinema, fashion or even fine arts. Being in one such field is very rewarding, but only when you are launched well there. If you were to talk about the success rate in these fields, it is hard not to notice that it is a gamble. Take, for instance, Cricket. We are a country of more than a billion people. Of which, we have a cricket team of 11 players. And how many youngsters aspire to be in the top eleven? Make your assumptions.
Even the most dedicated, deserving and die-hard player cannot claim a hundred per cent likelihood to be there in the Indian squad. So, what should parents encourage their children to do? The answer is Career Planning. Career Planning is an essential part of choosing a career well. Here is how:
- Ask them to laterally build a career in a more conventional field in addition to their dream path
- Work harder than other children in their vicinity who are pursuing a traditional route to success
- Prepare them to be willing to face disappointments. Show them by example, not mere words
- Help them develop resilience — to stand up and walk in a different direction whenever confronted with a dead end
- Educate them that life moves on, no matter what. Just one needs to find the next best thing to do
- Show them to laugh more and take life as it comes
- Most of all, reassure them that there is nothing wrong with chasing a big dream. Only one needs to be safe
Create a safety net. Seek the highest peak. If you summit, it’s wow. But if you slip, you can always rely on your safety net. After all, what is life without a string of experiences — some amazing, yet some not so happy.