I would like to address the local youth of today.
There are over seven billion people living on this planet. Never before has existing in obscurity been such an easy task. With divorce rates up, availability for work rapidly shifting from one location to the next, and families being fragmented across thousands of kilometres, it is easy for you to never have a chance to connect with your surroundings.
As a 21-year-old preparing to graduate from university, I think back to the overall lack of recognition that people like myself found within the elementary and high school system. The only time I received widespread recognition was for the year I had an exceptional athletic performance. A large percentage of teachers are involved with athletics, and you have no doubt experienced a teacher snapping at you if you do not participate or actively support the school football team.
Outside of athletics, the only way to receive recognition or be valued is if you do things like Leadership where you put on events that 90 per cent of people shouldn’t care about, or taking part in Global Ed where you erect huts and a clean drinking well in the middle of Nicaragua.
If you are like myself, you found your passions and talents shunned by the school community. Trivia nor pop culture knowledge is celebrated, or being able to tell funny jokes (at least that’s what my mom tells me). For whatever reason, teachers will never value that and instead yell at you if you do not compromise your hearing abilities by a decibel-obsessed pep rally.
But do not use a lack of interest by teachers and peers for not promoting your own passion. Block out the white noise of being pressured to take part in activities or social engagements that disinterest you. If you pursue your passions, you will be recognized. Maybe not in a high school environment, but in post-secondary studies where nerds from around the world gather, or in cyberspace where people are bored out of their minds and wish to be stimulated in a fashion that the high school environment cannot provide.
There are over seven billion people in this world. Never before can you so easily connect with a small percentage of an audience that is bound to have the same interests as you. As someone who publicly read four self-written works in eight days, and blogged one million words to bring in 20,000 viewers in a span of two years, I learned that pursuing the audience for myself rather than blaming others for not bringing the audience to me is the only way to succeed from the margins.
So be aggressive, work your craft, and pursue that audience. Thousands of people are out there waiting to be exposed to your skill set. You are not unique or unusual, despite what guidance counselors, tacky motivational speakers, or teachers tell you. There are thousands of people just like you. It’s only a matter of finding a way to connect with them.