In his book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki recollects of how growing up as a child his rich dad would never say no to whatever he asked. His rich dad would be like, “umm… Let’s see how we can afford it”. While his poor dad would slam his request with “We can’t afford that.” Kiyosaki argues that the we-can’t-afford-that statement not only closes the chapter altogether but it also shuts off your mind and creativity. On the other hand, the how-can-we-afford-it swings open the brain in search of infinite ways, means and possibilities. That’s why the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer - or remains poor.
These days many young people come out with new ideas to keep up with the increased competition in life. Business ideas in the private sector, story ideas for books and films, project ideas to create jobs and employment, activity ideas to keep the youth away from drugs and violence. Yet our immediate reaction is rarely How can I help? But rather,Won’t there be any problem? With such an attitude, of course, negativity sets in. We are looking for faults. And in the process we find many. We find that rigsar dances are bad to our culture. Never mind that our children are hooked to anything Korean anyway. Public concerts and open-air festivals cannot be approved in the name of security. Who cares that lack of entertainment is actually manifesting as other social ills like gambling, drug-abuse, street violence and alcoholism. Business ideas are shot down because of municipal rules, lack of capitals or the required collaterals. We don’t explore ways and means to get the proposals through. We are happy to reject them so that we make fewer mistakes and more promotions would follow.
As a young upstart, I really don’t remember how many times I was turned down. "Lack of resources" was a favorite line in those meetings. But that was few decades back. It is ironic that we continue to hear those same lines. True we have not become richer but we could have changed our attitude towards our youth given what they are going through. For me it used to be such a cruel remark that closed all possibilities for further discussion and put an end to my motivations and creativity.
Surfing through online forums these days makes me feel if we are not falling into a national pessimism trap. There seems to be so much negative energy among the "educated" lot. We are blind to what is going right. We only keep nagging on where it is going wrong. We don’t encourage best practices. We are rather happy to go on a witch hunt. We rarely celebrate the good deeds or our local heroes. Rather we simply bad mouth just everyone.
If you walk into any public office, or even a commercial joint, you are rarely greeted with, “Can I help you?” Few months back I read about a group of youth in Paro starting a signature campaign to get a basketball court. I am curious as to how many people asked, “How can I help to give these kids a basketball court?” And if at all they got a basketball court.