Family Doesn’t Have to “Get It”


The School of Life published the following video, which we believe is essential for all artist entrepreneurs to watch: 


Most modern parents say that all they want for their kids in the world of work is to be 'happy'. But it's often much more complicated than that, and parents are frequently hard at work shaping what their kids think of as good and bad careers.


Here’s the deal: 

Our parents, more often than not, want what’s best for us. They want us to succeed, to be happy, to be prosperous. At the same time, they also do not want to see us struggle, suffer, or fail. While at times this “need” of theirs can be absolutely overwhelming - to the point of driving you mad - we all must understand that whatever they say or suggest in relation to these forces comes from a place of love, and concern for the family's progress in general. It may not feel that way all of the time. Sometimes, it may feel vindictive, manipulative, coercive, or downright cruel. You may even, at times, think of your parents as the devil in the desert, trying to seduce you off of your chosen path. Conversely, you may fear that if you are a success, it might cause great harm or injury to a parent’s fragile ego or worldview. 

There’s the rub:

Our parents, more often than not, want us to do something safe. More importantly, they want us to pursue careers or life paths that they themselves understand and feel comfortable with. There’s nothing wrong with that on its own. However the future will be filled with jobs, careers, and opportunities that your parents might not understand, feel comfortable with, or even be capable of comprehending. 

You may discover that you want to be a cryptographer or an abstract mathematician. You may find yourself trying to solve a problem that didn’t even exist until a few years ago. You may have studied to pursue one profession, only to find yourself seeking work in a completely different field that didn’t gain prominence until recently. And all of these things may or may not be very difficult for your parents or family to understand. 

It’s not that they don’t believe you can accomplish whatever you set your mind to…it’s just that they fail to see or understand what it is you do. In a sense, they live in a completely different universe. And that’s OK.

What to do:

Your family doesn’t need to know about all of the problems you’re facing in your chosen profession. Maybe you’re trying to make an app work, maybe your first iteration wasn’t a smashing success, or maybe you’ve had to pivot more often than you'd planned. All of these shifts, turns, and changes can seem unstable, flaky, or downright insane to someone who’s always worked in the same field on the same days and at the same time for most of their life. That’s why they might recommend for you to abandon course all together…but that’s a decision you must make for yourself. 

They say that the road to success is lined with the failures of others. You might add that it’s lined with a few failures of your own. But failure is not the end of the road: abandoning the path is. 

So in short: family and friends don’t need to “get it.” 

You’ve just got to keep making sure that you do. 

And that you're moving your family forward in your own unique way.