Nothing in life is for free, nor does life set us up to be free. Freedom more specifically, we define by the boundaries that protect everyone’s general interpretation of freedom, compounded by unique individual desires and expectation of freedom
Control and freedom therefore are like opposite forces on the rudder of a ship, and can guide that ship down a successful course. From the start, both forces are needed to teach children right from wrong, to separate opportunity from danger, to enjoy happiness and overcome depression, as children grow up to become adults.
New and unexpected situations in life demonstrate what a child has learned from the unique balance and influence of both male and female role models in life (in straight and gay marriages). With the male role-model as the risk-taking hunter and the female role-model as the careful nurturer at its foundation, a child ultimately formulates its own unique balance, social character and personal definition of freedom, calibrated by the influence of their ever-changing environment.
All of us are preprogrammed from the start by an ecosystem of influences in which its unique balance rather than a single parameter defines us.
A fighting spirit can fight discomfort head-on, a laid back personality could do the same by deploying ignorance. All of life’s influences can be dealt with confidence (without the need for that influence to demand respect). And the crucial role of parents in the early process of shaping or preprogramming a child’s confidence is undeniable.
Many parents themselves however are suppressed and afraid. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of change, afraid not to fit in, afraid to standout, afraid not to be able to provide, culminating in a fear to be their authentic self. Our world is driven by fear.
Most of that fear is self-induced. The need to have expensive cars, to live in an expensive house, to go out to dinner three times a week, to buy all the products you desire, are all wants that trigger a fear of losing. That fear creates whores of society, where dressing up in a suit and tie (that deprives the wearer from oxygen) is not the most comfortable thing to do, but hides a fear of not fitting in. Or where getting a job is more respected than following your passion and taking chances. Or where just getting married hides the fear of being alone or prevents being perceived as weird. Remember, you can always chose to live on a beach and eat coconuts and fish all day, as your last (but not so shabby) resort.
Fear is the outcome of social control a child, heavily tuned to interpret nonverbal parental communication, immediately picks up on. A child’s confidence and self-esteem is a direct corollary to the balance of their parents’ behavior (they mostly ignore the words) and the preprogramming of descendant behavior has started.
When marriages are dysfunctional and imbalanced, as statistically the majority of marriages are, children quickly imitate that behavioral imbalance with their own. As a result the preprogramming that occurs unknowingly imitates the fear and subsequent compliant thinking of the parents.
Children are therefore preprogrammed (yet not guaranteed) to fit in, share their common fears and fit in socially, and conversely become less equipped to think differently and less likely to succeed entrepreneurially. Hence we use the following phrase we coined, not lightheartedly:
“Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but an entrepreneur can come from anywhere”. – Georges van Hoegaerden
Few children with traits that conquered their influences can propel beyond their parents, but when they do they are challenged by an another product of our lack of freedom: an economic model that pretends to be just as “free” as our social system and because of its lies rarely rewards the authentic outliers at scale. And thus the outlook for a child’s unique success is bleak.
So, to improve entrepreneurial capacity we first need to govern the creation of real free-market systems, that rewards the authentic merit of individual participants. Only then can our social confidence improve and the programming of our children become a more faithful representation of the incredible opportunities that lie ahead.
Setting the example is the best way to predispose our children for success. Step one is to stop lying about the freedom deployed by our economic and financial systems.