We tell our kids that they can be anything they want to be.
And increasingly, what they want to be is mind-blowingly successful entrepreneurs.
Role models like Mark Zuckerberg embody the new American (heck, the everywhere) dream: Have a brilliant idea at a very young age, then become strikingly rich in only a few years.
But The Wall Street Journal reports that Alan Sugar, a British billionaire, entrepreneur and peer, thinks that dream is problematic for today’s children. He says that kids are being seduced by the “fast-buck culture” that lets them think they’ll have the world at their feet by age 30.
And why is one man’s opinion coming to our attention? Because he’s also the mogul in charge of Britain’s version of The Apprentice, and he say that this year’s season will go back to basics. He is quoted in the Journal as saying:
“What’s been lost in this country is the culture of starting off with £100, buying some bags, printing on them, selling them—and coming back at the end of the day with a useful profit. You do that five times and come back at the end of the week with £1,000. That’s what we’ve lost; that’s what we need to get back.”
It’s interesting to hear a billionaire entrepreneur talk about the virtues of incremental wealth. But does he have a point? Is it damaging for our children to expect greatness on an accelerated timeline? Or is he missing the mark on the expectations of Gen Y and those younger, whose coming-of-age during the recession has tempered their expectations and perhaps even affected their values?
There isn’t a right answer … what do you think?
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