I have a teenage son and a teenage daughter.  They’re not in college yet, but they soon will be. I think a lot about what the teenage generation has to look forward to.  I don’t want to depress you or scare you, but it is a much more competitive and challenging world than the world that I was looking at when I was 17 - 30 long years ago.  

One way of thinking about this is to say that, for every one Western 17-year-old boy there are about 28 Chinese boys the same age working twice as hard to get the lifestyle that our one Western kid assumes will be his.  The expectations of people in their late teens in North America and Europe may be unrealistic because of the magnitude of the competition.  It just wasn’t a worry for me.  You know, I wasn’t competing with my Chinese contemporaries.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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