The world belongs to the youth.
Rule Number 9 of building a brand is “Forever Young.”
When I was creating media around Ok! Kimonos, my jiu jitsu company, a few years ago, I got really obsessed with documenting people that I felt were truly original. I came across Tyler the Creator, a rapper, yes, but so much more.
I dove into his content and his interviews, speeches, videos he’d made. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the culture of youth captured as perfectly as Tyler does. I saw an interview where he said:
We live in a society where a lot of people are followers and they can’t make their set opinions. I have friends that are going to college for stuff their parents want them to go for and they’re not even happy or anything. They’re just trying to please their parents and in the long run, what’s going to be there? Your parents are going to die and you’re stuck there, paying debt. Paying debt for something you didn’t even want to learn in the first place. So I just try to tell people to think for themselves and they’ll be way happier in the long run.
And that totally spoke to me.
And I bet it does to you too. Because like me, you probably went to school for something people told you you were good at. Or something that would make money.
I think that it’s freaking hilarious that people do all of these inventories and “strength finders” and all of these exercises and techniques when they’re trying to start a business online.
But we just let these idiot college kids pick whatever they want for a major.
At 18, we don’t even trust you to drink alcohol but we’re going to let you decide your path for the rest of your life? No wonder most people never use their college majors.
But don’t worry, that debt is still there. Now you better get a job to pay it back.
Don’t start a business because that loan payment is due soon and you need money yesterday.
That crap will turn you into an old man real fast. At least it did for me.
An Attitude, Not a Number
Youth isn’t just your age. You can keep an attitude of youth. You can revolt a bit and say, I’m not going down that path. I’m not doing what everybody expects me to do.
That’s what I’m doing. And believe me, if I can do it, then so can you.
Odds are, if you’re reading this and you’re really entertaining the idea that you can make your hopes and dreams happen, you’re closer than you think.
Snapchat is flourishing right now. Why is that? Youth.
Political movements, clothing trends, technology: all driven by youth culture.
Young people are irrational and invincible. With their entire lives before them, they see opportunity for change and revolution, outside the borders of reason, financial sense, or cynics. Grown-ups are chained to responsibilities and doubt. They’ve been told No too many times. Their hearts have been broken. Where once lived courage, now resides apathy or hopelessness.
We live in a time and place where you don’t need permission to do anything any more. You don’t need permission to say what you want to say. You don’t need a record label. You don’t need a book agent. You don’t need a crusty old white guy telling you what you can and can’t do. And believe me, I’m totally comfortable saying that because there’s been times in my life where I was well on the path to old white crust-dom myself.
Engrave it into your mind that youth is an attitude, not a number. Ask questions like a little kid. Be a bit ignorant. Push back against the status quo. IF you want your brand to be successful in the long run, and I know you do, you have to keep an attitude of youth.
Maybe if Kodak had done that they would’ve invented Instagram.
“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
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