Chris Koney’s column: Every young person needs to succeed!


Every young person needs to succeed. Young people are at one of the most important cross-roads in life, they are about to move from the world of education and dependency on others to the real world of work and self-reliance. Some will make this transition with little difficulty whilst others may not survive it at all. The difference comes with how prepared you are for this journey.

Sometimes, many think that the education system has prepared them for this. Reality is, the system has not only failed to prepare them, most times young people have been given false or incorrect information that will lead them down a path of failure and disappointment. Every young person needs to succeed, but what is real success?

A few days ago, I met two young ladies who shared their journey in life with me and highlighted their aspiration and what they are moving next to.  They are both convinced it’s never too late to go for what one is passionate about and becoming examples in order to encourage people. We further discussed the prerequisite conditions for young people to become successful.

Cassandra Obiri is a British of Ghanaian descent and a Marketing Communications professional. She has vast experience in the retail business and previously worked with communications outfit, DLA. She founded At Your Service (AYS), a wholly owned Ghanaian online shop and wholesale supplier championing the agenda of online shopping in Ghana and across the West African sub region.

AYS prides itself with the most affordable and unbeatable wholesale prices one can find anywhere in Ghana currently. The young entrepreneur is responsible for the daily operations of the company and managing relations with its affiliated agencies as well.

Nuria Feshaye, a director and producer has managed some big budget video productions over the years and also given creative direction to some enviable brands across the United Kingdom. She is also the brain behind Blend Natural, a natural and chemical free skincare brand suitable for all kinds of skin.

Defining success, Cassandra highlighted a definition of success by a housewife in Lincoln, Kansas by name of Bessy Stanley. Mrs. Stanley, back in 1904, entered a contest in Brown Book Magazine and won the US$250.00 first prize by defining success as “to have lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children.”

Nuria spoke about characters and attributes that help young people to succeed including one’s wiliness to stand out from the crowd and to be his or her own person. It requires bravery to say no when needed and yes to what you know is right. “Success does not come to everyone, it only comes to those who are brave individuals and can stand on their own and do what needs to be done. It is not easy and I will never lie to you saying that it is. But I do believe it can be achieved by all who are willing to go after the prize,” she added.

Adding to the point, Cassandra mentioned that to be a person of Integrity is very important to become successful. “Integrity is not so much a behavior as it is a character quality. People who have integrity are honest and truthful. They will do what is right simply because it is the right thing to do.

Integrity means you can be trusted and depended on to do your work to the best of your ability. Your integrity is more important and more valuable to you than 10 degrees in any field of study. If you tell the truth, you can be trusted with responsibility and depended on to get results. You will find the world waiting for you to make a difference,” she added.

As young people, it is of extreme importance to know how to make decisions. We have often been taught that to make a good decision you must take your time and get all the facts. That only works if all the facts are there for you to see.

However, Nuria indicated that studies have shown that the best decision makers make decisions quickly and change them slowly. And on the other hand, bad decision makers make decisions slowly and change them quickly. “The key question in making all decisions is this: is this the right or wrong thing to do? Who will benefit from this decision? This will tell you if you are making a good or bad decision and your ability to make the right decisions will set the pace for your whole life,” she emphasized.

On the point of young people working hard, both ladies sought to suggest it is not just enough to work hard. According to Nuria, “Despite what many people believe, hard work will not kill you. In fact, not being willing to work hard will cause more damage and pain than hard work ever will. But whilst working hard, ensure you are calculated and ahead of the competition,” she charged.

On her part, Cassandra said: “the best jobs will always go to those who are willing to work, and work hard to achieve what they want in life. Hard work is the best way to gain independence and true freedom, but hard work done in a very smart way is the pathway to all success. Working hard and working smart is what one should be looking at currently to be able to succeed.”

One of the greatest mistakes that unsuccessful people make is that they think one day their education will end. They believe that when they finish school and have that degree they are done with learning and it is home free after that. Success-minded people know that the learning never stops.

According to Cassandra, “the learning never stops and successful people know that the greatest gift you can give yourself is to read daily. You learn from every person you meet and you keep yourself open to new experiences and adventures. As long as you are learning you are growing. Remember that living things grow, dying things do not. In five years you will be the same person you are today except for two things: the people you meet and the books you read.”

Ending the conversation, both ladies urged young people to always choose wisely if they want to succeed. According to Nuria, “we are faced with choices each day and every moment of the day. Some are easy and others are more impactful on your life like what to do as a career, or who to allow to influence your life. No matter what the choice is, it is yours to make. If you decide to allow others to make the choice for you, then you made the choice. There is no getting away from it, it is always yours.”

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