Youth and Politics: Possibilities of Interaction

In this article, I have relied on personal experience and have not aimed to pursue an academic analysis of the topic. Politics will be considered here as a collective method/tool to achieve your goals. Note that being in politics just for the sake of politics would be a delusion and a waste of time. It does not matter whether you want to participate or not in political processes, you are still involved in them in one way or another. The question is whether you realize this or not.

Do something that you enjoy
Each of us, sooner or later, thinks about how to change the world for the better. The first step is to develop a personal position concerning the key issues you are interested in. Do not be afraid that your challenge is not global. Something simple and routine bothers people more than global issues such as “peace in the whole world.” It is much easier to change the world’s small manifestations of imperfection, than global issues. Remember that only enthusiasm and passion will allow you to achieve your goal, to be heard and to change something. Find something that captivates you so much that you will be willing to spend your most valuable resource on it, your time.
Create a strategy to achieve your objectives
Do not waste your time on unnecessary actions. Evaluate how a particular action will bring you closer to the goal or will separate you from it. When developing a strategy, it is also important to take into account the other players. Look for temporary and long-term allies. Our world is an institution, where our own interests often correlate with the interests of different communities and their members. In order to achieve their own tactical and strategic objectives, such associations as youth organizations, labor unions, student bodies, municipalities, political parties, ministries, etc. may join you in temporary and long-term coalitions.
Sometimes, in order to develop a strategy, young people decide to rely on a political party. Choosing a political platform also means choosing a political ideology. By doing so, you get not only ideological allies, but also opponents. These issues are, to a great extent, dealt with by political parties. It is worth noting that such a path can be uncertain, especially if you are looking to assemble a team. You will face competition from your opponents, and you will also face even tougher competition from inside your party. It is unlikely that you will succeed in persuading people sharing a different ideology and it is even more unlikely that they will join you. However, the possibility that your electorate will choose a political group with a different ideology, is high.
Do something that you enjoy
Be ready for rational and irrational criticism. You are young and therefore inexperienced – this will be used against you. Listen to how you are being criticized and learn not to make the same mistakes in the future. Remember that it takes an entire lifetime to build a reputation and only a few moments to destroy it, think about what you say and with whom you work. If you would like to cooperate with government officials, you should learn to find compromises. You should be a good opponent, not an enemy. Making quick decisions and adapting to different situations are vital qualities for a young politician.
Make a plan and try to live by it
Political processes impose a serious commitment on a young person. In addition to studying and working, you will also have to understand unrelated issues. Often, this work is not remunerated. In order to be able to manage everything, it is best to have a schedule of your everyday life for the coming weeks. During the planning process, you may find out that there is not enough time to do everything, and therefore, you will have to prioritize. Mainly concentrate on actions that will bring you closer to your objective.
Develop a network
The most important skill that you can have is the ability to communicate with people, and not only with like-minded people, but also with opponents. Attend conferences, round tables and panel discussions related to the topic you are interested in. Use these activities for their intended purpose – socialize. By regularly attending these events, you increase your chances of being noticed and asked to join a project as a partner or as a consultant. Politics is the art of getting along with people and keeping them around.
Assemble a team
Manpower has already become the scarcest resource in the world, surpassing oil and fresh water. Engage and appreciate the people whom you’re comfortable working with and who share your values. Remember that politics is a collective matter. Its success is not based on the prominence of a single individual, but on the synergy of a team. In politics, power often rules and your supporters are your power base.
Control information flows
Most of the time, you will be working with a lot of information: consuming it, creating it, and retransmitting it. To do this, you need to take an interest in what is happening in society around you. Read newspapers and magazines, watch the news. Analyze the information received and try to understand the people and their motivations. Remember that information provided by free sources is often designed to have a therapeutic effect on the masses or to campaign for something. Study specialized literature. Use the media to promote your ideas, to attract supporters or to pressure the authorities. People will get to know your position only if you communicate through the media. Speak your mind concerning worrying issues. Most media have columns dedicated to young people and most newspapers and magazines published by youth organizations will gladly accept your texts. Write in social networks. Learn to formulate your thoughts and keep track of people’s reactions to your words. If you totally lack literary talent and you do not have enough money for a specialist who could write for you, there is an alternative – create a video blog. However, the most important aspect of a video blog is the regularity of your messages. It is worth remembering that, in today’s media environment you exist only when the media contains your messages. The repetition rate often determines how important you become for the people. If you want to be heard, repeat yourself as often as possible.
Follow successful people
People are not born politicians, people become politicians. Of course, it is always better to learn from the mistakes of others, and not from your own. By observing and analyzing the careers of successful people involved in political processes, you will see that the stories of failure and success are fairly typical. However, the success of the majority of people is always due to the fact that they believe in the importance of what they are doing.                                              

Good luck!

About an author
Andres Ingerman was born on the 13th of October 1989, in Estonia. He earned a master’s degree in “communications management” from Tallinn University. Currently, he is a board member of the assembly of small nations by the Minister of Culture of Estonia and an MP of the 2nd convocation of the Tallinn Youth City Council.

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