Though the saying goes ‘confidence takes us further’, it’s never easy to hold on to your belief and stay positive when facing challenges in life. But our 12-year-old climate activist Lance Lau is able to face up to criticisms and doubts in full confidence - a quality that helps him draw the attention of different stakeholders in the society to ‘Sea level raising – animal extinction’.
How does Lance’s confidence take him further? What is his story? How does he influence people to back him up?
Age doesn’t matter. Knowledge does!
To many, the first impression of Lance came from social media and the news. He was reported holding a DIY banner with the slogan ‘Sea level raising – animal extinction’ and talking to passersby about the severity of the situation, with a relatively naïve and innocent look.
At aged only 12, Lance knows a lot about climate warming and loves to share his knowledge and thoughts on the topic. However we can’t just expect everyone in the community to agree with him, not to mention those sarcastic and snide remarks that he has received. In fact, most of what he hears are not words of appreciation and encouragement but of doubt and disbelief - “You’re just a kid, what do you know? Go back and finish school before preaching us!”
Although these comments are made due to people’s ignorance or purely because of age discrimination, and while very seldom people could understand what is the actual meaning of 6th mass extinction that he is advocating, Lance just takes it in his stride. Even when he is challenged on how he deals with criticism, he still answers with full confidence, “I always stay optimistic and positive as I trust knowledge, data and everything I’ve learned from books and the internet. They help me build my confidence. One day, people will realise the urgency of climate warming.”
It’s not possible for Lance to ask 7 million Hong Kong people to take immediate actions against climate warming, let alone to buy into the urgency of the situation. Nevertheless, Lance has successfully drawn attention from the media and the like-minded over the past 2 years, making his advocacy more popular. The self-confidence that has backed him up to face of adversity has also transformed him from an ordinary student to a cross-generation opinion leader and a news figure.
Unyielding to denials
Apart from tactics, Lance has to stand his ground in order to carry forward his belief. Climate warming not only attracts detractors and triggers battles of wills, but also hundreds of thousands of non-believers. They include scientists, big corporates and leaders in high positions with responses like:
“Winter this year was not warm at all!”
“Earth is fine with its self-healing mechanism.”
“I just don’t see any risen sea levels that you keep reminding us of.”
Lance, however, replies in an unwavering tone, “People tend to listen to words which are pleasing to their ear.” Our young climate activist seems to have good insights into human selfishness but he still has his unique way of upholding his argument against denials. “I’d seize every opportunity to plant the seed of climate warming in everyone’s mind and see it grow over time. Even though I’m just a secondary student with limited ability, I’ll make every effort and take every chance it to influence people!”
Holding cardboard banners on the street is just one way of seeding his advocacy. Others include writing frequently to different stakeholders in the society, persuading them to follow this pertinent topic and use renewable energy and environmental-friendly products, and showing up in seminars and interviews as much as possible. He also participated in TEDxTinHau online forum last October, to share his thoughts and ideas on climate warming with elites worldwide.
Lance believes his perseverance and self-confidence will help popularise the topic of environmental protection and climate warming in the long run, even though only a small number of people are influenced at the start. In fact, we see a growing number of people joining Lance’s league and sharing the changes they made in their daily lives on various social platforms.
Gain more with self-confidence
Self-confidence takes us further and inspires others to change. When you hold on to your belief, the results could be more fruitful than you expect. Lance goes to the public and hopes to influence others, and the most successful example is his grandmother who is close to 80 years old.
Elderlies may at times be stubborn to change their thinking and lifestyle that has been formed over decades. To them, bringing their own shopping bags may already be a hard habit to develop. But Lance’s grandmother did it, interestingly and unintentionally – after watching her grandson’s viral videos and interviews, she has become the environmental protection ambassador in her own peer circle. She would share Lance’s advocacy whenever she is doing exercise, farming or swimming with her friends, and remind and educate them about the importance of climate warming and going green. Aren’t these changes a strong proof of Lance’s self-confidence and perseverance influencing others?
Whether you want to contribute to the world’s future or reach your personal goals in life, Lance’s story tells us that success does not only come with proper planning, earnest effort or foresights. Self-confidence and believing in oneself can even take you beyond limits with unexpected results. We should learn from Lance’s catch line - “I’m just a student and I can only tell you what I know and what I believe in. I wish to influence others and give a better future to our world” – this is a simple belief that can take us further and higher.
Click here to check out more about Lance's story and AXA's commitment to combatting climate change!
The above content is reviewed by Ms. Andrea Wong, Chief Marketing & Customer Officer of AXA Hong Kong and Macau
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