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16 & Pregnant?…How About 21 & Successful

Why do we focus on negatives all the time?

Why don’t we glorify the good along with the bad instead of just denouncing the bad?

Why do we seemingly never focus on the positives?

My Point

I understand that we shine a metaphorical spotlight on bad things for the purpose of learning from mistakes. This is a form of negative reinforcement that we as a society enforce. I do not believe it’s bad to do this; however, I feel that it would be very beneficial to also show the other side of the coin. Show me 16 and pregnant but show me 21 with over $100,000 in investable assets already. If you’re going to show me something terrible show me something amazing. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m saying show me the worst and show me the best.

When I was early on in high school I was subject to two very different stories that changed how I looked at things from that point on. A kid at my school got his girlfriend pregnant; this was the first case of this within my grade at my school. It terrified me. However, a few days later I heard about a 17 year old boy who made $37 million from building a piece of software, a fix to an ongoing problem a company had, and sold it.

These are opposites in my mind and in the mind of the vast majority of people in the United States along with most of the world. Premature pregnancies scare not just people in high school but people in all walks of life. It’s seen as a “worst possible outcome” for a lot of people, especially teens. The other side of the spectrum would be making a large sum or money, owning a business, or something along these lines prior to high school graduation.

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Why Does it Matter?

Simple, because if you’re going to scare someone then you might as well give them direction too. If you’re going to show me someone who has made what’s perceived as a “very bad string of choices” show me someone whose made a “very good string of choices” also…it’s only fair.

There has been a show on for a very long time, the show I titled this writing after in fact, called 16 and Pregnant where a very young woman is pregnant. The MTV film crew essentially follows her around, interviews people in her life, and point out how difficult things are for this person. To be fair it’s not all bitter but there is some sweet when the teens go shopping for baby items such as clothes, sundries, and other items. Although the tone of the show is always the same at least in my mind and it seems like it’s documenting these women who have made a decision that changes their lives forever from such a young age. It’s very strange to me. I do feel like it has it’s place of course; however, like I’ve said prior I think we should also be defining a direction for young men and women. There’s so much more to life than just bad things so why not show them? There is no reason. Yes, people love to watch people fail and make poor decision but I feel as though a lot of people enjoy watching people succeed and pave the way for other people.

Everyone Loves a Good Success Story

They really do! Nothing helps people’s aspirations like seeing other people who actively are doing what they want. If someone desires something and doesn’t know how to get from point A to B we should show them. It’s very simple to show someone who is new to something how to get their start but it’s very difficult for someone who is new to find their way on their own. That’s why we use the term “new” to describe that person. They don’t have the knowledge some people have.

A timeless debate it feels like when people talk on this topic. To share an example that stuck out to me was what a friend of mine Jason Otero, a co-worker, said to me. He said: “It’s important to lead by example” A simple quote, right? He’s not the first to say it of course. Now let me give you the context to the statement. Jason volunteers for a program called Django Girls which focuses on bringing women into software development. He travels at times to help this organization setup and bring local women to have an interest in programming. The program typically has a great turn out along with people traveling 100s of miles to participate also.

Of course! You can always find your own way with nothing more than a computer and the internet when it comes to software development especially. It’s absolutely 100% possible! That being said it’s much easier and less stressful to have a mentor or mentors to help you with the field you’re interested in. When I first began I didn’t know what to do or where to begin. Now if you asked me “where should I start for programming” I’d tell you to find a language that had the following:

  • The ability to do what you want it to do
  • An active community (for help, sharing, and growth)
  • A good framework if applicable to the language
  • A good job market

These tips are simple and somewhat obvious to some people; however, not to a lot who are just getting started in any field. If you wanted specifics I’d say Python on the Django framework is a great place to start. Some people need a lot of direction and some people don’t; that’s how things always are.

Shia Labeouf

If you Want Something Then do it!

Easier said than done but Shia Labeouf is right. Nothing is truly out of reach from anyone. There is always a way and if you want whatever it is bad enough you can and will find a way to do it.

“The sky’s the limit” is an old saying that traditionally means there is no limit. Now we can move this saying slightly further in terms of boundaries with space discovery and interest beyond Earth by saying “There is no limit” because anyone no matter the race, gender, or background can do anything they want including becoming an astronaut.

Everyone Should take you Seriously Especially you

Something people are often told is “you’re too young for ‘X’”, well you’re not in most cases. People who are 17 have made millions, they’ve played on professional sports teams, are professional actors and actresses, and they’ve made a difference in the political world; just look at Malala Yousafzai a Muslim girl who pushed back and became an activist for education for females in Muslim culture amongst many other things. You’re never too young (or old) to change the world. If you are poor or rich, white or black, atheist, Jewish, or Catholic you can make a difference right now.

Don’t Continue the Cycle

If you’re mother got pregnant at 16 that doesn’t mean you have to of course. Break the cycle. Become anything you want. Do what you want. If you want to begin working at the age of 11 refereeing a sport such as soccer (like I did) and save all that money and invest it and grow a portfolio you can do that. If you’d rather do all of that but invest the money in a gaming computer and try to go pro in esports (like I did) then do that. My point is nothing is out of reach. The deck isn’t stacked against you but rather the world is your oyster. You can do what you want. If you think you can’t do something because the world is holding you down you’re lying to yourself. You just are. There are no excuses. Is it more difficult to do something when you have a handicap like poverty and you want to invest? Yes…of course; however, that shouldn’t stop you.

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Photo by The Creative Exchange on Unsplash

Share Your Story & get it out into the World

If you have a success story share it with people. I hope someday soon there will be a show about the outlandish successes in life rather than the failures or hardships.

Don’t Stand for Less than what you Deserve

Most people don’t fulfill their potential but rather fall short telling themselves “X” is to blame. Truth is “X” might play a part but its up to you to overcome “X” whatever that may be. You can do whatever you set your mind to as long as you’re determined. Age isn’t a restriction unless you want to be a professional poker player and even then there are plenty of home games you can play in and setup.

Full Circle

There may be a TV show called 16 and Pregnant and there may not be a well known show that displays high amounts of success early on in life but that doesn’t mean anything. It’s possible to do whatever you want no matter how young or disadvantaged/challenged you are so you better get started sooner rather than later. How about today?

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing — Walt Disney

Written by

Knowledge is everything. Software Engineer, Coach, Writer. Helms Media Founder. Much love.

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