Friends & Friction: Confidence is the best asset we can give our kids

Muzi Kuzwayo
Muzi Kuzwayo

IN BUSINESS, as in sport, there are many young people who promise the world on their debuts, only to disappear like mist.

They aren’t entirely forgettable.

Their names ring a bell in a distant memory, making those who hear it wonder, with sadness and pity what became of them.

The reasons for spectacular vanishings are many, but one of them is that many young people find the applause intoxicating and they soon sleep on the job.

Deceived by the bolt of luck that struck them, they begin to look down on their peers and superiors, only to slip and drown in their own arrogance.

Those are badly raised kids, and there is little that can be done about them.

The school teacher or the coach can never succeed where parents failed.

The burden of expectation

Most well-raised wonders are weighed down by the burden of expectation that they and the world pile on their tiny shoulders.

When they falter, the collective gasp scares them.

When the praise quietens down, they crave it like a drug and start to do stupid things, trying to draw attention to themselves.

Nothing is more piercing than the internal voice that speaks to you as you sink into the abyss of oblivion, while wave after wave of slump slaps you and the laughter of friends tortures you like an enemy bent on turning you into a breathing ghost.

Ironically, greatness does not grow at the peaks.

It starts at the bottom, and is almost guaranteed for those able to digest disaster like the vegetables they hated, but ate because mum said “Eat!” and they did as they were commanded.

Those with strong minds are able to resurface and continue on their journey while detractors shoot poisoned darts of snide remarks.

So it goes without saying that the best asset we can ever give our children is confidence in themselves, so they can face any calamity with composure.

In nature, as in business and sport, some forces are beyond our control, and it is perfectly fine to succumb to them.

Rocks weather, trees fall, human beings falter and businesses crumble.

That is the way of time.

A strong mind knows its limits and never tries to breach them because it understands that absence of limitation is the beginning of aimless wandering.

When times are good, everyone looks good, but when money is scarce or the points are harder to get on the sports field, the brilliant mind looks carefully, because it knows instinctively that the building blocks of brilliance are strewn everywhere.

Few things strengthen the mind more than a victory, no matter how small.

It could be making your own bed, and doing it well.

It could be digging the garden. It could be studying something new. When success is running away, there is no point in chasing it until you collapse.

Give yourself a break. Winners instinctively know that.

The value of patience

Patience is undramatic, unromantic and as exciting as watching a tree grow, but it remains the key to everything.

The modern game, just like the modern corporation, has considerable pressure.

The money is too big. Add to that the demands of social media

Young people need a special fibre to scale it all.

Many years ago, when the tools of success were scarce and the grandstands were few, life was easier.

Today, the grandstands are everywhere: in the home, on the phone in the palm of your hand.

Life has become harder, but it’s still wonderful.

Kuzwayo is the founder of Ignitive, an advertising agency

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