“I am overwhelmed. I am deeply touched by the warm welcome John and I have received at this university today. I am proud to be the new president of John Naisbitt University. It is wonderful to feel all the ambition and the positive spirit, which encourages us in our goal to do everything we can to add to the quality of the university.
All of this is important, but most important for the university is you. You the students create the quality of the university. Your aspirations, your contributions, and the spirit you carry into the world once you graduate.
It is a wonderful time in your life – and it is a difficult time in your life. In the years ahead you have to find outwhat your talents are, what you really want, what you really love, because this is what you will be best for you. And even more important, you will have to find out who you are. What are your values? What do you as a person want to stand for? It is a universal question.
Just a few days ago John and I were in China talking to students in several universities and high schools. Opportunities for young people there are greater than ever in history. But it comes with the price. The pressure is also higher than ever before. Chinese student have to fulfill the expectations of their families, their teachers and the society.
The pressure on you is just as high. In Serbia opportunities often seem rare, the business environment may not be what you are dreaming of. Nevertheless you and your family have great aspirations. And your country looks at you with high hopes.
Today’s society pays great attention to how much money you make, which position you conquer. Metaphorically speaking that leads to putting much weight ononly one leg. We can stand on one leg, but not for a long time. And it is certainly hard to move forward. To be grounded and to make progress we need to stand on two legs. You need to strengthen the neglected second leg, whichstands for who you are, your personality, your character. To move forward in life you need the balance
Now what are the most important ingredients you will need as you move forward?Whatever you are studying, in whatever field of endeavor you turn to, there are two key tools that will serve you the most:
1. Your communication skills. In our very competitive environment it is words that define the borders of your world. So my advice to you is read, read as much and as good literature as you can find. How to express your thoughts, is a skill you can learn. It will serve you all your life.
2. Your ability to sell yourself. It is tightly connected to number 1, your communication skills. Whether you will be a scientist, a lawyer, an entrepreneur, you will have to “sell” what you can offer, what you can contribute.
Even if you have developed these tools well, sometimes it will seem to you as if there is a wall around or above you. And you will wonder how you can break through. Itmakes me think of a little story I read to my grandchildren not so long ago,the story of a little blade of grass.
It was growing up in the darkness of the soil. But it knew from its mommy that one day it could break through the darkness into bright daylight. But how could that be possible with all that concrete-like soil above? If you look at it from a distance, its mommy said, it appears like one, impenetrable block. But if you take closer look, a very close look, you can see that this is not just one block. It is a collection of various parts. There is space between them. And through these splits and cracks you can find your way up. It takes twists and turns. But if you persist you will be able to push around all obstacles.
The same is true for you. To reach your goal, to live your dream, you will face resistance, hurdles to overcome. But if you are grounded on both of your legs you can find your way to the bright daylight of who you are and what you want to be.”
Doris Naisbitt, an observer of global social, economic and political trends, is the Director of the Naisbitt China Institute in Tianjin, China and co-author of bestseller Megatrends China: Eight Pillars of a New Society, The China Model, Innovation in China – The Chengdu Triangle, and an author of book Mai-Lin My China. She is a professor at the Nankai and Yunnan University, the Yunnan Normal University in China, and the Skolkovo Open University.
In her column in China Youth Daily, the second largest newspaper in China in terms of circulation,she deals with the youth of this country. The column was also published in Youth Digest, the largest youth magazine in China Doris and John Naisbitt live in Vienna, Austria, and Tianjin, China.