Stock Market News: How to figure out what your child will do for the rest of their life
Two of my kids are still at school and approaching that moment of decision, foisted on them by time, possibly unwillingly, when they are being told they have to decide what they are going to do after school, which, dauntingly, implies they have to answer the question, right now, “what am I going to do with my life?”.
Of course they can’t know, but the answer is obvious, as I tell them. Pick something, anything, but just not nothing.
If they choose nothing they will go nowhere, learn nothing and waste time. They need to start a journey, any journey and quite honestly it doesn’t matter whether they get it right or wrong at first step, as long as they start, because any journey will lead them, eventually, to where they want to go.
The author's daughter wants to study paediatric medicine after her aunt embedded the idea.
Of course many first steps for young people start with them picking up their bags and heading off around the world. That’s just as good. Everyone should travel, it’s as good an expedition as any, and although it may not be obvious where they are going, it will, from the moment they take off, start an experience that exposes their character and reveals the part they are destined to play, which in many cases will be a role they never imagined and could never have guessed at until they found it.
So be not dismayed kids, or parents, or school teachers, there may simply be no answer at this stage, in which case choose something, choose anything, and if that’s a one-way airline ticket until you work it out, so be it.
I had to choose what university degree I wanted to do at the age of 16 and to help me decide my parents forked out a few hundred hard-earned pounds on top of school fees for some skills and personality testing. This led to what I considered to be the blindingly obvious and therefore stupid conclusion that I should do at university what I was doing (and enjoying) at school: my specialist subjects of English literature, English language, maths, physics or chemistry.
It annoyed me that they had milked my mum and dad for something anyone could have told them and because of that, and because I was a belligerent 16-year-old, I ignored them. My brother was doing medicine, I wanted to be a fighter pilot, so I decided to do law. Idiot.
It was one of the worst three decisions of my life and having completely bogged it up myself I now have a keen interest in guiding my kids during the rather vulnerable "career choice" stage of their development and to do that have a ploy. You can’t tell them straight, you have to be a bit more subtle. So this is how it’s done. Its called embedding.
If you start looking to buy a particular car, you start seeing that car everywhere. Guiding your kids is the same. Embed ideas. Not instructions. Ideas. Make them conscious of a previously unnoticed option, path, direction, journey, choice.
Mention your ideas in passing, it may take a few guesses, but eventually, if it’s the right one, you’ll know. Their antennae will go up and they will start to collect, on their own, anything to do with that idea. You are the spark, they are the fire, and the fire will only burn if they are interested, and they will only be interested in what interests them. In that way they will pick the good ideas, the fitting ideas, themselves.
I do the same thing in the stock market. I embed stock ideas. They don’t have to be researched thoroughly, they just have to come up. I put them on the watchlist, or write them on a Post-it note, and if they’re any good, I can tell you, they pop up again, and if they are succeeding, they pop up again and again until one day I end up buying them and profiting from a process of embedding that started months or years earlier.
My brother’s wife is a professor and paediatric doctor in England. She told my 13-year-old daughter about being a doctor and handling babies. Olivia returned from England and in year 7 declared that she was one day going to be the head of paediatrics at the Melbourne Children’s Hospital. Nine years later she is still on the same journey, studying medicine at ANU. Good job Aunty Claire and watch out Royal Children’s Hospital, Olivia is on her way. She has found her calling, and, interestingly, it wasn’t her idea.