Youth is wasted on the young. — George Bernard Shaw
How someone can claim youth is wasted on the young is beyond me, and while I have not had the experience of reading any of Shaw’s literary works, I have to say his pessimism about the capabilities of the young is all too nihilistic for my taste.
Youth is power. Youth is opportunity. Youth is the promise of a future, one which can be harnessed and transformed into whatever the young so desire. Think about the young people alive today who are capitalizing on their age to change the world: Malala Yousafzai, who champions for women’s education, or Greta Thunberg, who has inspired a global, youth-led climate reform movement, or Austin Rief and Alex Lieberman, who, everyday, spread news to a million people in their Morning Brew newsletter.
Being young in entrepreneurship entails underestimation and mishaps. But every failure is more than just that. It is an opportunity to learn, to be turned around as a stepladder for growth. Often, people mistake accepting failure as defeat and debasement, but the truth is quite the contrary. Owning failure is a quick way to earn respect, from peers and clients, but from more experienced professionals too. When you start a company at the age of 20 (as did the founders), owning those failures demonstrates far more than just awareness—accountability, trustworthiness, determination, and self-motivation are among other qualities that generate that respect.
When Triad was founded, a group of college students simply wanted to monetize their passions, but by having the aforementioned qualities, they realized they were capable of far more. After well over a year of tireless work, the company has created such desirable content that not only is the business growing, but other videographers and entrepreneurs approach our team members for advice, criticism, and mentorship.
An occupational hazard of youth is not just the tendency of older people to underestimate you, but also the tendency to underestimate yourself. Whatever you call it—self-doubt, impostor syndrome, hesitancy—it is a pervasive and irrefutable fact of being young. Age, however, more often than not, is arbitrary.
The sheer fact that others legitimize Triad day after day, through seeking advice, through commissioning work, or through simple praise of the company, offsets the imposter syndrome the team can sometimes experience. Imposter syndrome is hardly more than a psychological scam, and while it can deal damage for entrepreneurs, particularly young ones, it is surmountable. Self-motivation is key to defeating it and to legitimize oneself, or one’s company.
Passion is self-doubt’s nemesis and it is when you are young that passion can, and should be, pursued. There’s a you in youth for a reason. Youth is yours to claim, to own, and to brandish proudly toward the future.