So what is it with millennials…? What is it that makes them so different to generation X? Perhaps, in a very short sweet sentence; generation X simply got on with it. On the other hand “Millennials” or “Generation Y” observed what it is to get on with it and wondered why the same is not happening with them? Why, why oh why is it not happening to them in the same way that it happened with the generation before them?
Perhaps we need to look at the nature of economics, now before everyone simply gives up on this article have a little read. Generation X’s parents grew up in probably the hardest economic time in recent memory. In fact so much so that the history studied by both generation X and Generation Y was the subject of the turmoil and struggle of their grandparents and parents respectively. From the two world wars to the Cold War to the various struggles for racial and cultural rights around the world; history is rife with struggle and suffering from the early 1900’s to the 1960’s. But what has this got to do with the difference between the generations that followed? What this meant was that Generation X were ingrained from a young age to put their heads down, thank God that they were able to get a job and soldier on. Whether this meant studying to further one’s education or build a skill that would benefit them in future the lesson was that life was going to be a bitch and you had better get ahead or you would be left behind…
But what actually happened? What happened was that the world experienced an economic boom – from the success of Wall Street to global markets performing above expectation the world was exploding with wealth and success. Perhaps this can be attributed to the invention of the Internet and computers, or to the globalisation of major industries; the point is Generation X expected the world to be a pretty shitty place and what actually happened was that the world worked.
So what happens when you are brought up to put your head down and work while at the very same time the world is experiencing an economic boom? Well to summarise they did a hell of a lot better than their parents.
But what does that mean for Millennials/Generation Y? Basically, Generation Y was brought up completely differently to their parents. Instead of the usual “be grateful you. Have a job and be good at what you do” the message changed to “you be the best you that you can be”. This created a massive disparity for Millennials. Gone were the glory days of globalisation and economic boom and fast-forward a couple of decades the world was in recession again. What this did was create a floor shattering earthquake that brought Millennials from their high lofts of expectation into the cold unforgiving world of reality. What this created was a world where choice was inbred into a generation where choice did not automatically result in success.
You may be reading this and thinking “surely choice and freedom is the cornerstone of a modern democratic/capitalistic society” and you would be spot on with that assumption. But the truth that the cornerstone of Western Society is perhaps the leading cause of depression today. central tenet of western societies: freedom of choice. In Schwartz’s estimation, choice has made us not freer but more paralysed, not happier but more dissatisfied.
The consequence of this aforementioned Paradox is that to millennials/generation Y, is that this Paradox is utterly devastating to the very core of their existence. It almost proves that the world they were raised to live in is a complete and utter fallacy. Let’s paint a picture of the everyday struggle of a Generation Y/Millennial: “The grass is greener on the other side”. But let’s assume you were brought up to believe that you can choose the grass that you “settle down on”. Now add the spanner in the works: “social media”, today thanks to Facebook and Instagram Millennial’s and Generation Y are now on a daily basis faced with the unnerving truth that other people’s grass appears to be so much greener than their own. But it becomes so much more complex because anyone/anywhere is able to edit the grass they are on before unveiling it to the world. To the point that every post or interaction with the greater world is a perfectly manicured version aimed at creating jealousy among their peers. It creates probably the biggest untruth the world could ever promise a young and upcoming millennial.
Keeping the above circumstance in mind what would generation X do (in the most stereotypical sense of the construct) generation X was brought up to simply get on with it. They were raised to expect that the grass is greener on the other side and the only way to deal with it is to water their own garden, plant a few vegetables and start an independently run farm. What does Generation Y do, however? Generation Y starts a protest at the injustice of the system. Generation Y expends all their energy trying to justify their circumstance instead of CHANGING/BETTERING their circumstance. It is the fact that in the modern workforce Generation Y employees are the least qualified but what is also the fact is that Generation Y holds a higher IQ than the generations before them how does that stack up that the most intelligent of the generations is also the least qualified? Perhaps again this points to the idealist reality that the current generation lives in that the current generation feels it is enough to want to be anything you want completely neglecting the fact that you have to work on what you want.
If you are generation Y/millennial or even generation Z and you are reading this you are probably wondering what can be done about the strange phenomenon that is “Generation Y” – the answer is quite simple. Generation Y needs to unlearn some of the fallacies and fables that they were taught by the previous generation and adopt some of their grandparent’s teachings. These teachings specifically refer to the act of just getting on with whatever it is you are doing right now. Make a success of your current reality or plant the vegetables on your side that will make your grass greener. What this means is drop the idea that vocation and avocation is a basic human right and appreciate that you are in a position to change where you are today. Let go of the fact that you can be whatever you want and that immediately entitles you to success and edit the sentence to read that you can make yourself into anything you want.
The fact of the matter is that we live in a world where YouTube is a paying career, that E-sports and gaming is a career. Your art piece or view can change the world in an instant due to the ability to spread it to every corner of the world. Perhaps the message is that if Generation Y simply put their head down and applied their superior intellect to whatever it is they are faced with that Generation Y can still be the most successful of all the generations.
The world as we know it is completely different to the world that “baby boomers” and generation X lived in”. Thomas J Stanley (analyst with 30+ years’ work dedicated to the study of millionaires) concluded that as much as 86% of millionaires are self-made. Does that mean that they all had a groundbreaking idea that changed the world? No. what it means is that if you live your life striving for financial freedom and just follow very simple and sound financial habits anyone can be a millionaire or at the very least live a financially free life.
An extract aimed at inspiring the next generation of young millionaires.