I consider the years of youth as a period which is best described in 3 colours: Red, Yellow and Green.
- Red describes the energy young people exude and the exuberance that allows young people to start and combine several activities and still remain resourceful and efficient. For example, learning new languages, a new skill, travelling around the world, making new friends, networking, taking risks with high hopes even when it’s clear they may fail sometimes, starting new businesses amongst others. The “redfulness” of being youthful is addictive and highly infectious. Young people who take advantage of their red colour thrive in all areas of their life and grow up knowing they lived their life to the fullest. Such young people are often described as having “the get things done DNA”.
- Yellow helps young people to see the bright side of life. It is the unpopular thinking young people exhibit i.e. thinking of things outside the norm. it allows them to picture beauty and be more creative. They have all the brilliant ideas about how they want the future to be. All the unique ways they want technology to transform the world. They are quick to identify flaws in inventions and also quick to provide solutions. Yellow allows young people to change outmoded systems and oftentimes, they are unwilling to stick with the status quo. It makes most impossible situations look possible.
- Green is the “zen mode of young people”. It gives rest. It allows them to come to terms with nature and their lives. It helps them to understand that they need calmness around them. It helps young people to appreciate their state of being and have more reflection on their next steps.
The sad truth is young people are likely to lose their sense of colour as they age depending on how efficiently they used their colours while they remained young. Also, not every young person takes advantage of the colours while young. Some by virtue of fear, never give themselves the chance to try new things and take risks. They love to follow the popular approach and seek comfort in the “we all struggling ideology”. Others move through life without a pause. They run through each day without learning from the past and anticipating the future. They take for granted the importance of their Green and end up repeating mistakes they could have avoided if only they made time to reflect.
Let’s Dig Deeper into our Red
Young people who efficiently use their Red (youthful energy) will grow older and their colours will blossom till they die. Today, Bill Gates still has his Red. He may not be physically fit as he was in his youthful years but his vibrancy in the fields of science and technology remains relevant. Even though Steve Jobs is dead, we still have his Red operating in the world. John C. Maxwell’s Red, Yellow and even his Green still remain relevant today. We still read his books and benefit from his coaching method.
A Look at our Yellow
The Yellow can equally lose its vibe depending on how it is utilized by young people. Yellow allows young people to engage in activities that will open them up to their life purposes through their unpopular thinking approach and creative instincts. At the same time, some young people may willingly lose their Yellow because of their lack of investment in being creative or having a voice on their own. They love to choose popular thinking and popular narratives over giving themselves the chance to think on their own. Miss Dorothy Frooks at age 16 joined the suffrage movement that allowed women to vote. She was amongst the youngest people at the time to support such a movement which has allowed many young women the chance to vote. In recent times, some young people are using their Yellows on YouTube to create content that millions of people watch. As they grow – depending on how relevant the content was and will be in the future – they may continue to benefit immensely from it. Others are using their Yellow to start companies that will correct the irregularities in the justice system. An example is Devshi Mehotra, my friend who is 23 years old and is the CEO of justicetext. She is using artificial intelligence and technology to improve the justice system in the US. We also have others using their Yellow to provide mentorship and support others. An example is Grace Amponsah who is the founder of Bowney Initiative.
Whenever you design new content or decide to be creative and think of the future, bear in mind that creativity is not only for what we need now but what we anticipate the future needs will be, and more importantly, what can be sustained despite the changes that arise.
A Look at our Green
How young people relate with their Green will have a great impact in their lives. The Green serves as their pause and the purse. Often, the colours Red and Yellow take the best of young people. They are always on the move to get things done and move to the next big thing on their vision board with little or no time for reflection. But they need their Green even more if they want their Red and Yellow to remain relevant because the Green helps them to come to terms with realities, and also take a break from all that is moving too quickly around them. The Green does not stop growth. On the contrary, it fuels growth and acts as a catalyst for the Red and Yellow. If young people refuse to allow their Green to operate while they are young, they may make a couple of mistakes which they could have avoided if they took time off to reflect and re-energize themselves.
On that note, I will ask again, how long will you remain colourful?