Dear Young Person,
It’s 9:05pm as I write this. Before you read any further, I have a request: please read this slowly and thoughtfully. Thank you for doing that.
I have to confess- I’m burdened tonight. Burdened about how you’d respond to this note from my soul. Wondering if you’d sense the intensity of my appeal, if you’d feel the heat in my heart or flippantly toss this aside as just another ‘one of those things’.
I’m burdened. Burdened that you might find me ‘unqualified’ to share what you’re about to read. Afterall, I have no ‘war stories’ to tell, no wild tales to share. No episodes of having ‘been there and done that’. In many ways, I’m just like you.
But would you, dear young person, dare to drop your preconceptions for the next few minutes? Would you open your mind to the message irrespective of the messenger’s profile? If yes, please read on; the rest of this letter is from my heart to yours.
Just about when I turned 16, a kinda curiousity dawned on me. It wasn’t like I developed it or anything like that. It just ‘dawned’- that’s the best way I can describe it. At that age, I began to subtly observe life- how it works, how people lived it. There was this unexplainable desire to understand life; a craving to grasp the nitty-gritty of human existence. No one at the time (not even my immediate family members) knew about this hunger- twas too weird to share. Afterall, I was just a 16 year old lanky teen- and not a ‘super-social’ one at that.
From then till now, the hunger has not subsided. It’s being fed, but like the appetite for food, it has become a part of my nature. The 15-year window is one of the results of this life-long crave.
You might be wondering, “what in the world is the 15-year window?” Probably the curious title lured you in. I’m happy it did.
Just as it sounds, the 15-year window is a window- of 15 years. There. That’s it. Not some deep philosophical contraption; just a window, a time frame, a special season in life where some very significant events most likely occur.
Life runs in times, seasons and cycles. The 15-year window is one such cycle- but it’s unlike any other. It’s a pivot, a fulcrum, a hinge on which subsequent seasons will twist and turn. It’s a band of years whose activities significantly shape who we become and how we move on in later years. I’m talking about that 15-year band between when you’re 15 and the big 3-0.
I’observed, and you will too, dear young person, that many significant events occur between the mid-teen years and the big 3-0. A few key examples:
- It is usually within this window that we start thinking about our life’s purpose and vision. A new dimension of self awareness is born at this time and we start to seriously examining our passions, what we want to do with our lives and how we intend to contribute and add value to humanity. Forget those elementary school “When I Grow Up” sessions. This is where the question “who do I really want to become?” gets serious consideration.
- Relationships blossom in this season. Many young people get into serious relationships and most get married, especially in the second half of this season. The choice of a spouse is probably one of the most important choices we’ll make because of its’ far-reaching effects. Within this window, many either make the worst mistakes or the best choices in terms of friendships. Countless lives and destinies have been made or marred, built or broken, all within the 15-year window.
- Especially in the earlier years of this age-band, extended responsibilities are minimal. The young person basically looks after only him/herself. This gives the largest room for self-exploration and risk taking. We all know that generally, as humans advance in age, we become more risk-averse. The 15-year window offers the most freedom to pursue boundless opportunities.
If you really think of it, you’d find that it’s true. Zoom in on any field of endeavour and you’ll find this window’s effect clearly displayed. The overwhelming majority of those who’ve achieved the highest levels of success got started and established in their pursuits within this season. Think about it and you’ll find it’s true. Sure there are some notable exceptions but more often than not, the power of the window is undeniable. From Jesus Christ, to King David through to David Oyedepo; from Michael Faraday to Michael Jordan; from Billy Graham to Bill Gates; think about Lionel Messi, Mark Zuckerberg, Ashish Thakkar,every field of endeavour- business, the corporate world, sports, social reformation, education, religion, media etc all validate this window- the early-starters often go farther and do better.
In all probability, dear young person, you’re still within this 15-year window. Make it count! Do something. Start going where you want to go. Get moving, because I tell you, the longer it takes you to start, the harder it gets to start at all.
I find it interesting that within this uber-special season, the delusion that “I’m still young, there’s still time” is strongest! Don’t be a victim. You’re NOT getting younger, I’m not either. Let’s move now. Look ahead! the window’s closing! Let’s get going!
Thank you for listening to my heart. Cheers to your success!