We often give students and young adults advice but why don’t they take that advice? Why are so many of them not able to deal with problems or even think for themselves. Believe it or not its not all their fault.
If we want our student leaders, kids, and young adults to grow up to be great thinkers and problem solvers we need to give them the tools first. We need them to have the ability to ask themselves the right questions and be able to process situations correctly.
Often young adults struggle to think for themselves because they aren’t equipped with the right questions to ask themselves
If your students or young adults are anything like me they grew up in a not so healthy environment. I didn’t really have a chance to know my dad until I was 14. My step father was an alcoholic. I grew up around constant arguing, yelling and blaming.
Students who aren’t surrounded with a great environment or come from a not so good background; They have to ask themselves great questions in order to grow themselves. What really helped me to grow as a leader and as a entrepreneur coming from a not so great background was the ability to seek the right information and ask myself the right questions and give myself honest answers so I can move forward In any situation. Good or bad.
For students and young adults that come from great upbringings can often be hovered over by parents where decisions are usually made for them. This can lead to them feeling inadequate on their own and able to handle their own problems. They are actually crippled verses empowered. I’ve seen it so many times while training thousands and thousands of students the past few years.
In my leadership training I tell students “Good leaders ask great questions.” We go over an exercise on how to make sure they are asking the right questions to others and themselves everyday. This is what I teach them and want to teach you.
Focus on the WHY, NOT What
Another way to say this is let’s get to the root of the problem. Not the symptom. To use an example if we break our ankle and just take pain medication to stop our ankle from throbbing all we are really doing is treating the symptom (Pain); Not the root of the problem (It’s broken). This may sound obvious but how many of us do the same thing?
We watch Netflix instead of taking our problems head on.
We get angry verses admitting and exploring why we feel hurt or empty all the time.
We deal with apathetic friendships or relationships when we know we should probably surround ourselves with better people.
We need to ask ourselves the right questions and answer them honestly if we are going to move forward in life.
We ask questions to understand. Not to judge.
Often people can get offended or defensive when we ask hard questions. It’s important that we ask questions not to judge or jump to conclusions but to simply understand. We are there to listen. Remember, we don’t want to figure it all out for them. If we do, they won’t be able to do it for themselves if we are constantly trying to do it for them. The saying goes “Give a man a fish and they will eat for the day. Teach him to fish and he will eat for the rest of his life”. Let’s equip. Not baby them.
Instead ask them questions that lead them to the answers you want them to find. For example, instead of telling them the unhealthy relationship they are in is unhealthy; Ask them what a healthy relationship looks like and ask them to describe it in detail. Have them spend a few minutes on it and then ask them if their own relationship reflects their description of a unhealthy relationship. Whether they say yes or no isn’t the point. Often they know but don’t want to admit it. Let them learn and keep asking questions to understand. Not to judge. Once someone feels judged they will immediately shutdown.
Again, the point is for our young adults to ask themselves questions to think for themselves for when we aren’t there. We can’t always be there to think for them. Often when I ask myself hard questions and hate the answers, I need to give myself grace. Frequently, I need to remind myself it’s not about being perfect and this is all part of the process of becoming who I was meant to be. Let’s give grace AND truth. Both are important.
People are fighting a battle you know nothing about.
You and me are fighting battles most people know nothing about. So are your young adults and students. There is a TON of peer pressure because of technology and social media today. More than we could imagine. Understanding that often people are doing the best with what they know. Even if we are trying to have them know better and are trying to teach them different. Often the best way to learn is to mess up and realize the problem on our own. I love the quote “I’ve learned so much from my mistakes I’m thinking of making a few more.”
The biggest mistake I see with young adults are their superiors or parents are trying so hard to make sure they don’t make any mistakes. Young adults need to make mistakes sometimes. They need to fall. They need to learn what its like to be not have everything go smooth, and controlled. Because we can’t control everything. They need to know it doesn’t have to perfectly to plan in order for them succeed and live a life of freedom. I credit a lot of problem solving skills to constantly having to solve my own problems as a very young adult. If I knew I could fall back to a safe haven all the time and someone will fix it I wouldn’t be the speaker, entrepreneur and man I am today. I’m thankful for the crash course at a young age. And most young adults will be too, later of course haha.
What was the greatest question you were EVER asked?
I love asking this question on my podcasts and to people in general. This always makes people pause. Often they have a great answer and its usually surprising. Often these “best questions ever” create a hard realization about ourselves and our situation. They often create “aha” moments and stop us in our tracks and create a whirlwind of thinking. So let me ask you, What was the greatest question you were ever asked? Why was it the greatest question? Let’s create more of those for people around us. Let’s ask great questions often. Not just have an answer for everything our young adults and students throw our way.
Below are some some questions I constantly ask myself:
Am I even on a path I even want to be on?
Am I living free or just pretending to be?
Am I spending my time wisely lately?
Am I being who Jesus created me to be?
Am I using my gifts and passions for the greater good?
What do I need to let go of so I can create more space for something better?
Are my friends making me a better person?
Am I building up those around me?
What am I seeking? And where am I seeking it?
Am I doing this for others approval or my own? Am I working for man or am I working for God?
Am I doing this so I can FINALLY be someone? Or do I already know I am significant therefore I get to do significant things and this is just my next step?
Am I looking for things that will lead me into greater freedom or are things that just lead to dead ends?
Our conversations with others and more importantly ourselves are crucial to shaping students and young adults. What questions and conversation topics are you bringing to the table? We are all leaders no matter what we do for a living or how old we are. People imitate others around them. What questions or conversations are you imitating and spreading? We teach what we know but we reproduce who we are. What are you reproducing?