“In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” – Matthew 5:16
Last week I gave the feature address at the official launch of a Youth initiative “Plenty Caring Organisation” in St. Vincent & the Grenadines (SVG) whose motto is “Filling the Void: Meeting the needs of the Modern Youth”. The launch preceded a stakeholders’ seminar of the SVG Youth Business Trust. My topic was “A Ten Point Guide to Youth Advancement in SVG in the Face of a Rapidly Changing Global Environment”. Here is a synopsis of my offering. (1) Recognise the Purpose in Life – Change, due to the external environment is the one thing that is constant in life, we cannot escape it. Some changes are favourable and beneficial and make us happy, other changes lead to adverse conditions and induce stress. To be successful in life we must strive for the creation of happiness and the avoidance of pain for ourselves and those in our immediate environment. (2) Embrace Change – There is a small book entitled, “Who Moved My Cheese” by Spencer Johnson MD, which is well worth reading. Its sub-title is “An A-Mazing way to deal with change in your work and in your life.” It talks about change in the context of an analogy between change and two mice interacting with some moving cheese. The cheese is analogous to your money, respect, love, work, health, family, that is, things that are important to you. It exhorts that you enjoy change since the cheese will keep on moving and you must be ready to change quickly and enjoy it again and again. (3) Develop an Awareness of Sustainable Development – Over 20 years ago the Brundtland Report provided a key statement on sustainable development defining it as: “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. It recognises that “We do not inherit the earth from our fathers, we borrow it from our children!” It is therefore incumbent on us to make the right decisions today to protect the earth for our children and grandchildren. The Report reminds us that whereas economic development is necessary it is not sufficient and we do have to pay attention to spiritual awareness, environmental protection and social equity as well. (4) Mobilise Capital Resources – It is often said that small island developing states, such as SVG, are at a disadvantage because many of them are not rich in natural resources. But what about other types of capital resources e.g. Human, Intellectual, Social, Cultural, Spiritual, Physical and Financial. We often fail to recognise the potential which is there to be unearthed from these capital resources. For example, the one thing that each country has is its people who are our most important capital resource and we must develop them to the fullest. (5) Enhance Reading and Comprehension Skills – At any time in our development, it is important to monitor the basic characteristics of reading and comprehension which is the foundation for developing our people to the fullest. We have to be continually filling the void by meeting the need of modern youth. In this context, we must continually focus on reading and comprehension skills of not only the youth, but of people of all ages. (6) Aspire towards a High Adversity Quotient – In successful enterprise development, it is not necessarily the entrepreneur with a high intelligence quotient who succeeds but the evidence is that unless you have a high adversity quotient you are unlikely to succeed. Our philosophy therefore must be to have a high Adversity Quotient, that is, we have to continually endeavour to persevere in the face of adversity. (7) Foster Entrepreneurship and Enterprise Development – One way of taking charge of your life is to become an entrepreneur! An entrepreneur is a person who assumes possession of an enterprise or venture and assumes significant accountability for the inherent risks and the outcome. (8) Recognising the Richness of Cultural Diversity – Since 2001, there have been 12 four-day events and 5 one-day CMEx events bringing together as many as 120 multinationals on each occasion in diverse locations in the Caribbean Community, Puerto Rico and New York. The Caribbean Media Exchange on Sustainable Tourism has been a resounding success and a fulfilling feature has been the fact that it has a strong youth arm and is conducted in an atmosphere of cultural diversity. (9) Acknowledge that “You are the Future Leadership” – You must remember that, even though you are the youth of today, you are the leadership of tomorrow. So you need to behave that like that today so that there will be a seamless transition to tomorrow. (10) May the light of Plenty Caring shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father.