When I was a kid, I would always say “When I grow up…” Immediately, my parent would then say “No! You will never ‘Grow Up.” Instead find a way to start doing what you are talking about NOW.” I would laugh and say “This person is crazy” to myself. I’ve realized that it is quite true. We all live in the present moment. We do not live in the future and we do not live in the past. In the present moment there is no “Growing Up.” Its either you get stuff done, or you don’t. No postponing stuff to an imaginary day in the future.
That is one of the many lessons I learnt about growing up. Let me share more.
Growing up is a trap!
The concept of growing up that we are given is a lie. I thought that I was going to grow up, and then magically get myself awesome headphones, travel the world and drive my Rolls Royce (I’m not that kinda person who goes crazy about cars but there’s just something about those Rolls Royce cars). I thought that it would be fun! I couldn’t wait to grow up.
Step 1: School
I was one of the very few students who rarely missed school. Out of my entire school life (Grade 1 – Upper Six), I only missed 4 days – 2 in primary school and 2 in high school. I was blessed to have many great teachers and they made my school life quite enjoyable. I managed to get myself fair grades and proceeded to the next stage:
Stage 2: Life after school
This, I was not quite adequately prepared for. Being completely broke, and calculating everything to the last cent was not on my TO DO list for “Growing Up.” I studied the C programming language and got very much interested in C# because you can create nice looking applications quite quickly. I created my little application that I intended to use to calculate charges I would incur depending on the price of the item I want to buy. This was done so that I would know how much I would spend before buying anything. Why didn’t I use my phone? Because it was kinda dead so downloading a mobile app was out of the question.
For a brief moment, I saw how frustrating it can be to apply for jobs and get Zero responses. Dear HR departments in companies: A rejection letter is better than nothing.
After that I got used to chasing after pick-up trucks and lorries because they are significantly cheaper than using kombis .This was quite different from what I expected – the difference was astronomical. From imagining having a Rolls Royce to living the harsh reality of chasing after pick up trucks.
Bonus Tip: When chasing after pickup trucks make sure you have your money in a nearby pocket because trying to get it out when you are cramped in a tiny corner being blasted by the wind is not a really pleasurable exercise. Also make sure that you keep your belongings close to you as they may get stolen and my final tip – there’s nothing shameful about it so don’t hide away from people you know. I actually met one of my former teachers in the back of a lorry ...but that’s a story for another day.
I realized that even when you do eventually get a job, you will never make any meaningful progress with it. I realized that this is how life is like. This leads us to the next stage.
Stage 3: There is no plan for growing up
The whole concept of growing up is incorrect. We believe that the simple plan is to go to school, get good grades, get a good job and everything will work out. If you do get a job, you will quickly realize that stuff won’t work out as quickly as you expected it to. This is because jobs weren’t created for people to get rich. Yes. You heard me. Even if you get a job in America or New Zealand, you will get to a point where you will realize that a job won’t get you a Rolls Royce or any of the fancy things you wanted when you were a kid. The book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” gives a comprehensive explanation about why jobs are a scam of some sort.
If you don’t want to read it, then here’s my short summary of why the concept of growing up is incorrect.
According to what television tells us, you need to get good grades, graduate as the best student in your class and then get a good job that will make you millions. In reality, you will graduate, get good grades, graduate as the best student in your class, get a good job that gives you money that is taxed heavily (that happens everywhere in the world so don’t think that applies to your country only), wonder where your money is going, get married, get kids, spend 20 years paying for them then die if you’re lucky. If you’re not, then you spend your late years with them in the home as they will not be able to leave home due to obvious reasons. That doesn’t sound fun to me.
In the previous blogpost, I mentioned how the society demonizes vendors, flea market sales people, and everyone who does not wear a suit and tie. I won’t lie, when I was a kid, I didn’t really fancy doing any of that. The more I grew up, the more I realized the importance of money. I got to a point where I secretly admired these people. They have so much confidence and they have the ability to quickly identify paying customers and customers that won’t buy anything. In the previous blogpost, I brought up the story of “Mr Maputi,” how much I envied him, and how I eventually started my own business, Glue by Super Maputi! [head over to this link if you didn’t read the blog post]. I learnt that these people are entrepreneurs. I have a lot of respect for them now and I wish the society did too.
I am someone who loves being alone. I can easily entertain myself for hours with my crazy thoughts. One not so crazy thought that I had was to shower my parents with gifts. I would buy a Mercedes for my Mother, and a John Deere tractor for my Father. After that I would take the family for endless trips around africa.
That kinda didn’t work out. You see, in movies and on TV, people do big things in a matter of very little time and I thought I could do the same. Boy, was I wrong. This is when I learnt the very valuable lesson – do the little you can. It’s enough. It’s more than enough. At the end of the day, its the thought that counts.
I always wanted to become a Dr. Not a medical doctor – I believe I’m a tough person but I’m not a tough enough person for that job. Imagine treating someone who you clearly know isn’t gonna make it based on the many similar cases you faced and trying to give them and their family hope. I believed that getting a doctrate and eventually becoming a professor would help me achieve my dream – teaching practical electronics to students. The more I got educated the more I realized that there is very little practical stuff to be learnt. You gain many theories that you never get to use. I do believe that there are some universities that offer good Masters and PHD programs, but these are as rare as the truth. I also got to learn that education is actually a form of investment. You put money into it, together with time, and you expect to reap a profit in the future in the form of a job. What do you do after graduating with a Masters and then you fail to find a job?
I learnt that people want to work with people who can offer them skills. Having a degree but failing to accomplish the needs of a customer is completely useless. If the client wants a Wordpress website developed then you’re going to lose the client if you don’t know how to make one. I learnt that as we grow up, we need to learn skills needed to survive and thrive. I learnt that going for degrees that people struggle to use to get jobs is not an intelligent investment because you will probably face the same problem in the future.
Money is very good at playing this game called “Catch me if you can...Sucker!” I realized that it is not only time that needs to be managed well but also money. It is very easy to lose it. I learnt simple rules such as: “if you don’t understand it, don’t put money into it,” if you really love your friendship, lend enough money that you are willing to lose. The chances that it won’t come back are higher than the chances that it will. I learnt that there are some people you can actually trust with money and these people are really hard to find.
And that’s enough for today. If there’s anything that I’ve learnt it’s that growing up is a trap. See you next Wednesday in the next blog where I continue with what I learnt about growing up!
P.S. If you have a car, lorry or pickup and you see me looking for a lift, don’t leave me behind.