What do you want to be when you Grow up?

This is a popular question to ask children.

Why do adults ask this question?

Why are thinking about what a 7 year old wants to do in 20 years?

Does the adult ask to help the child or are they hoping that the child’s answer will help the adult?

When we ask children what they want to be when they grow up it’s like a waiter asking you what you want to eat.

It pretty much assumes that there is some menu of choices (canned careers) and that there is an array of restaurants (employers) available to hire them.

This worldview shifts their focus to fitting into a template, to contorting themselves to be chosen.

This worldview shifts the child’s focus away from who they are and what they feel is important to hoping to be selected to serve someone else’s scheme.

Under the right circumstances there is nothing wrong with teaming up with someone else – it’s great – but ‘teaming up’ and becoming an employee are two totally different situations.

Instead, why not ask, “What problems are most interesting and important to you?” 

Or “What problem would you like to solve?”

This shifts their focus from figuring out how to be ‘liked’ to figuring out how to contribute.

These bigger questions shift children’s focus to new questions like, “Given what I want to contribute, what must I learn to make a dent?”


The Vaikido Hero Unschool

Unschool – to unhabituate from behaviors, beliefs, and paradigms that prevent prosperity in the connection economy.

Heroic Contribution – An approach to career and business building that builds and attracts a loyal following.