Pursue Your Dreams, Prepare For Reality
We tell students "follow your dreams" -- this is often misguided advice. If it were successful, we would need a lot more jobs for professional athletes and Broadway performers. Throughout school, many children spend their evenings at sports practice, and even more nights dreaming of being a professional athlete. However, 99 percent don't make it.
It sounds harsh, but it is the reality. Only a very small percentage of students will ever play in the NFL, let alone last weekend's Super Bowl. In fact, according to Business Insider and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), only 1.7 percent of college football players will play in the NFL, and only 1.2 and 0.9 percent of basketball players go on to play in the NBA and WNBA, respectively. The best opportunity is baseball, which Business Insider/NCAA reports offers an 11.6 percent chance for college athletes to go pro (for many, that means playing years in the farm system, hoping to be called up to the major league). And it's not just athletics. The same small percentages apply to music and the arts -- Adele and J.K. Rowling are rare talents, and so were Pablo Picasso and Frédéric Chopin.
So what do we tell our kids? We tell them to pursue their passions, whatever those passions might be -- the arts, music, sports -- because you never know who might be talented and lucky enough to make it to the big leagues. We also need to be honest with our children and tell them that while they can choose which path to take, others will likely decide whether they will get paid to do it. Life will be easier -- much easier -- if they have the appropriate skills.
Click here to read the full blog on The Huffington Post.