(I’m a millennial! I’m only 23! So what I say is coming from personal opinion, experience, and observations!)
We think we don’t have time. We see everyone else’s lives in front of us and want to rush our own lives so that they stack up. Get money and status right now. Marriage and kids right now. House and savings now. Travel the world right now.
We have little sense of time and perspective. We know more is available to us now than there used to be for our parents, and so we want it all, and we want it now.
We believe that we are entitled to money, fame, or glory. We are entitled to our own opinions and shoving them in people’s faces. That we are entitled to the very best. And we’re entitled to getting that whenever we want it.
Of course, I believe that we deserve good things. That if you have a dream and you stick to it, then it should become a reality. But I think that we millennials (and younger) often think a little too much of ourselves. That we are just so perfect with our very little life experience *slaps forehead*; that we will gain so much in a short amount of time, with a small amount of work.
But of course, it doesn’t work that way. I believe that I will definitely become a best-selling author. I’ve never wavered from that dream and that belief. But I know that it could take me 5, 10, 20, even 30 years to get there.
I believe that I am going to get what I want, but it could take a very long time, a lot of sacrifices, a lot of patience, a lot of failures and pain along the way.
But many of us millennials don’t get that (or forget that). We believe we’re entitled to rewards for little effort. That we deserve praise and likes and followers for doing, well, nothing much.
Due to the watchful world that we live in nowadays, we all have our lives on display (more on that later). This means that we all can’t help but peer into the lives of others with the simple act of scrolling.
I believe that social media has fuelled millennials’ desire to want more from life. To expect more from life. We see others travelling and so we want that for ourselves. We want to go everywhere, and no trip is good enough because there’s always another country we’ve yet to visit.
The same goes for everything else. Money, cars, houses, products, food experiences, tech, and more. We want more, we are never satisfied, and we’re always looking over the fence, thinking the grass is greener on the other side.
The Fear of Missing Out deprives us of gratitude, contentment and perspective. Back when you didn’t know much about other people’s lives (unless they told you directly), there was less FOMO and more appreciation for what you already had.
Obviously, this may seem hypocritical for I am a voice in the Self-Development community, however, I think we need to be careful with this ideal.
As I mention in my Personal Development post, I think that the self-development culture can damage our mental health. When done wrong or taken too far, it can inspire dissatisfaction, always critiquing yourself, and trying to implement a bunch of “development” techniques into your life purely because someone else said it would make you and your life better.
This is a huge industry at the moment, often led by and influencing millennials. And I think it’s made worse when you see false promises from these influencers, like “30 Days to a New You” or “Make Money Fast From Your Side Hustle” or “How to Have It All“.
Some people buy into these “fast-track to success and happiness” schemes, but the truth is, as I mentioned before, our lives don’t change overnight. Rewards aren’t promised. Change isn’t easy and I think a lot of people forget that with development and growth, there is no end result.
Yes, you may be more satisfied with yourself and your life (I hope so!) but we are always growing, changing, learning, and to be honest, it is better to accept and practice adaption above all else. Work on yourself and your life, but not at the expense of contentment, self-love, and genuine motivation.
Don’t do things just, because an influencer told you to, if it doesn’t actually have a place in your life on a personal and authentic level.
My philosophy is this: with Self-Awareness, Self-Care, and Self-Validation, you will always grow, be content, and make choices that are true and important to you.
As I said, we are all on display all of the time with social media. Those who avoid it are likely to be more content and focused on their personal goals because there’s no comparison, FOMO, or distraction.
Without social media, we have no desire to puff ourselves up and make it look like our lives are just as great as the other accounts we follow.
Without social media, we have no ability to compare ourselves to that gorgeous person living that gorgeous life.
Without social media, our minds are clearer, we are more focused inwards, and we just get on with our lives.
Don’t get me wrong, I think social media does have a place in our world. It helps us connect, get amazing opportunities, and sometimes it can motivate us to strive for better. So, some millennials will thrive with it. But others, most definitely will not.
I also think it’s important to note that this world we live in now (more than ever) calls us to question who we are. Millennials are often getting stick for trying to define and redefine themselves in new ways. But we mustn’t forget that our world has blossomed and changed a lot in a short amount of time.
Exploring sexuality, gender identity, racial and cultural identity, social identity and more is now the norm, and rightly so. But it does cause a lot of us (myself included) to feel conflicted or confused about the big question: “Who am I?”
If we struggle with our identity (or spend longer exploring it) compared to generations before us, it can seem like we’re flaky, inauthentic, or downright ridiculous in the eyes of our elders. But in reality, it’s just self-expression and self-exploration unlike anyone has seen before.
Again, this comes back to impatience. It’s no wonder we’re impatient, we live in the world of Netflix and binge-watching, where you can get endless shows and films at the click of a button. Everything is so easy nowadays. There’s always more. Endless options to choose from.
As amazing as that sounds, it’s also damaging to our beliefs. It causes us to believe that everyday life will be (or should be) just as fast, just as rewarding, just as easy. But it’s obviously not. And when it’s not, that’s a hard pill to swallow.
I’m not blaming Netflix for the flawed belief systems of the youth today. But the binge culture that we live in is, as I say, flawed. And so are we. It’s hard to put time and effort and a strong work ethic into a world that has otherwise been made so easy for us (by the older generations, let’s not forget!)
We are more intelligent than our parents. Not because our parents are dumb (obviously) but because we know more about the world than ever before now, and we have unlimited access to that information – whereas our parents did not at our age.
We are also more clued up and caring than the generations before us. We care about and understand the importance of equal rights, political correctness, and a good life for all.
Why is this a problem? Well, it’s not. It’s lovely. It’s amazing. But it’s also driving us, and others, a little cuckoo. Because it’s impossible to save everyone. Bringing it back to my first point, we want to save everyone but we want to save them NOW! When in reality, our movements may take a very long time to come into effect, and that’s deeply sad for most of us.
So, what is the “problem” with the millennial generation (my generation):
- We want more
- We want fast gratification
- We’re exploring ourselves and our lives unlike ever before
- We’re confused by a limitless world, often to the point of overwhelm and paralysis
- We know so much that it can drive us up the wall
- All of these things, the world we live in, the lives we lead, is confusing, limitless, and overwhelming to the point of anxiety and depression
- We will be looked down on and judged by our elders because they haven’t had to live as we have. We are fixing the problems they caused, and our minds and views are more open than the older generations.
Did I miss anything? What do you think? Let me know in the comments below…