Why do adolescents take part in such risky behavior? There’s a simple answer that may very well affect your own success.
Adolescents are known for underage drinking, smoking, and not wearing seat belts. They drive too fast. They don’t think about the ramifications of their decisions. This list goes on and on; it’s a list of the stereotypical actions of “those irrational teenagers.”
If you’re past your mid-twenties, you have something that adolescents don’t have: a substantial and established nerve bundle that connects the “fight or flight” part of your brain with the “reasoning and judgment” part. Without it, risky behavior is rampant among teenagers. The reptilian brain acts more frequently without the governance of the center of judgment. And off they go.
But still, some teenagers go on to become millionaires… before they turn 20!
What can we discover about success from these millionaire teenagers? Wrong question. What I found are few things we have to un-discover.
Millionaire kids seem to succeed in spite of a lack of education, experience, reason, a network of successful friends or access to investment money. The reasons are pretty interesting, and we can apply those reasons to our own lives. Not in any particular order, they are:
- Perseverance. Many of these teenagers were told time and again that they would not be successful. They were given all sorts of excellent reasons as to why they couldn’t possibly succeed. Yet, succeed they did. Why? They didn’t care about reason any more than a moth wonders why it spins a cocoon. It just does. Until it’s done.
- Lack of experience. Bad experiences did not get in their way. They hadn’t had enough bad experiences to learn from them. You may think you know better, but how many times in your life has someone succeeded where your experience told you that you couldn’t?
- Love. Whatever it was they were doing, they did it because they loved doing it. This gives the expression, “love conquers all things” a new meaning, doesn’t it?
- No fear. They weren’t afraid to shift gears to make things happen. Of course, most teenagers don’t have a home, a car and a family to put at risk, but they had one clear advantage: instead of overcoming their fear as an adult might, they just didn’t have it in the first place.
As adults, we may find that the bundle of nerves which connect our reason with our risk can serve to stymie progress. When it comes to a big decision in your life, how might you think – or act – differently, using your teenage brain? How hard might you work? How strong is your drive? What experience or fear is stopping you?
Become a kid again. Take a chance. Work it ’til you drop. It’s possible that the roadblock in your path isn’t another adult, but your own adult brain.