This exercise is part of a contest to have your work entered into an anthology so obviously that something any aspiring author is after.
Sitting across from a twenty year old the very first thing you always notice is the uncertainty they all have in their eyes so the best advice you can give them is to never use the word ” but” as an excuse for why their lives are the way they are.
So many of them are so scared to chase what they want or step outside the boundaries of what they know of the world, they end up locked in socioeconomic patterns that they are hard pressed to ever break. They are so afraid to move away from their comfort zone they stay in one place like moss growing on the side of a boulder.
So few things in life are actually scary. Moving out of your parents house isn’t scary. Living in a foreign country for a few months isn’t scary. Chasing your dreams and realizing they are actually attainable isn’t scary.
When pressed for an answer, the first word they respond with is “but”. ” But” forces you to live within your own limitations and accept that what you have now is all you will ever have. The first person to sail around the globe never said ” but”. The first person who ever climbed a mountain never used the word “but”.
Use the word “but” to explain why you don’t want walk across your backyard in the dark bare foot as a means to avoid stepping in poop.
Use the word “but” to explain why you never learned to juggle flaming knives naked.
Using the word “but” as a reason for anything means you will spend most of your life sitting on yours.