Young people today live in a world of high unemployment. In the latest reported UK figures*, 733,000 young people aged 16-24 were unemployed (a 16.0% unemployment rate). One third of unemployed 16-24 year olds had been unemployed for over 12 months.
Even for young people lucky enough to be employed, or in education or vocational training, there are many personal pressures affecting them; family breakdown, housing problems, peer pressure, examination stress, fierce competition, media insistence on having the perfect body and lifestyle, amongst others.
I often wonder how young people can survive, let alone thrive? How can they possibly build self-confidence and the sense of self-worth in a fast world that changes all the time? How can they respond flexibly to adversity or disappointment? What resources can they use to build successful and fulfilling lives?
In my opinion, an essential skill in gaining mental resilience is self-awareness. Indeed, being aware of ourselves –of how we feel and of what we need– is a big step in taking control over difficult situations. People with self-awareness listen to their body and recognise their emotions. They understand their perceptions and how it affects their behaviour. They understand what prevents them from achieving or from being content and they are in a better position to ask for help.
Unfortunately, self-awareness (or any form of emotional intelligence) is rarely taught at school. That’s right: one of the most powerful tools for self-development is not part of the national curriculum. Isn’t it time we adapted our educational system to the needs of the current and the next generations? Shouldn’t professional life coaching be offered to all young people as they grow?
“Mein Kühlschrank ist kaputt” -“my fridge is broken”- is the first thing I was taught in my German class.
Surely, Nietzsche would agree with me: now is the time to move on to more useful education.
Founder, Arthur Coaching
Arthur trains individuals to become professional Young People Coaches. Our mission is to facilitate access to quality leadership coaching for young people.
*Figures for June-August 2014, reported 15 October 2014 by Aliyah Dar, According to the House of Commons Library note on Youth Unemployment