SMALL TOWNS, BIG CITIES, GROWING AS PEOPLE

Many of us grow up in small towns, rural areas or neighborhoods of larger cities and grow fond of the area, the people etc.
But, when we enter adulthood, perhaps going off to college, it hits us: we may not realize our full potential if we settle down back home. Settle may be the operative word here.
New York Times columnist David Brooks discussed this phenomenon. He wondered whether, in the meritocracy vs. government race, it would be so bad if meritocracy won.
In a nutshell, a young person leaves home and goes off to college. He realizes his limited potential if he moved back home, where only a small percentage of the folks living there had college degrees. He decides to move to a place where, as Brooks quotes, up to 50% of the people have college degrees, i.e. San Francisco, San Jose, Boston, Washington or the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina.
The folks back home may call him snooty for not wanting to move home. But he has a degree from an elite university, i.e. Stanford or an Ivy League school. He got good enough grades back home to get into the prestigious school, did well once he got there and now HAS to reside where people are more like the new him.
WAITING TO HEAR THOSE WORDS
A friend relayed the story of his childhood. He grew up on a farm in Georgia. When he wasn’t in school, he was working on the farm. He enjoyed some aspects of farming, but it was backbreaking work.
Finally, in his teen years, he told his father that he did not want to do this the rest of his life.
His father, it turned out, had been waiting years to hear those words.
Farming taught him hard work. But it also taught him how NOT to spend his life. There was so much more out there.
He stayed in Georgia, but had a superb sales career.
So what’s wrong with growing up in a small town, or rural area, or a specific neighborhood of a city? Nothing at all. But the kids grow up in an age of equality – everyone is the same and should be treated as such. When they move on to bigger and better things, they have to learn to go for distinction. They must be more accomplished, more cutting edge, to thrive in the new world, as Brooks points out.
This distinction even occurs in higher education. Many universities look to hire professors from the elite schools. Even the graduates they produce are not good enough, Brooks says.
The world demands innovation, collaboration, global thinking. Where one has grown up often thrives on a collective sameness and routine. There is security in sameness. There is tradition in sameness. There is equality in sameness. But for those who want to thrive in the world, change must be the operative word.
There is good news for those who may live in the sameness of “home,” wherever that is. There are many ways for you to prosper without leaving home. To check out one of the best, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. Like the young college grad who needs to move out of his comfort zone into the bigger world, those left at home may have to leap outside their comfort zones. And, it can be done without leaving home.
The moral here is that sameness and equality may not improve the world as it should. Those seeking to see their great potential thrive have to depart their world of sameness and venture out into the world of competition, and, yes, discomfort.
It isn’t to say that they shouldn’t help the folks back home. But, they don’t have to settle for the sameness of their parents’ world. The more people who jump from their comfort zones to find their full potential, the better the world will be. Striving to be equal has far worse consequences than striving to be better.
Peter

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