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Depending on how you view Millennials, you may think, “Just three lies Millennials believe about how the world works? I can think of at least 30!” I’m sure you can.
There are plenty of lies Millennials believe, but as I re-watched the Simon Sinek video earlier this week, I thought it would be helpful to outline three of the most popular lies Millennials believe about how the world works. Here they are:
We truly do live in an instant-gratification world, don’t we? Whether it’s Amazon Prime’s ability to ship us anything we want in two days or Netflix’s provision of instant, endless entertainment, we have to wait for what we want less than ever.
Unfortunately, while instant gratification may apply to products and entertainment, it does not apply to relationships or career success, and this frustrates young people.
I think that this is, in part, why Millennials have developed a reputation of job-hopping. Many young people change jobs within a year or two simply because the gratification they hope to find in their work was not delivered to them in a timely manner.
Many Millennials have demonstrated, in various ways, a lack of patience, and I believe this is due in large part to the culture of instant gratification we have created in a number of spheres, technology being the foremost.
Simon Sinek harped on this pretty hard in his video about Millennials that went viral. My parents, and many Millennials’ parents, teachers, and otherwise hammered it pretty hard into our heads growing up that, “You can be anything you want to be,” and, “You can change the world.”
Parents and teachers tell young people this for good reason, not to give them unrealistic expectations but to not limit their hopes and dreams in any way. Just think of the cheesy, astronomically-incorrect phrase, “Shoot for the moon, and you’ll land among the stars.” It most instances, it seems as though it would be better to tell a young person “You can be anything you want” than “You’re probably going to work a mediocre office job for the rest of your life.”
But, an unintentional and unfortunate side effect of telling a generation of young people they can be whatever they want and change the world is that you may produce a generation of young people who believe they can have everything their parents had, work at a coffee shop, and eradicate the worldwide sex trafficking industry, all at once.
This unrealistic expectation, unintentionally planted by their parents, has made Millennials frustrated with desk jobs, unsatisfied with renting an apartment instead of owning a home, and upset about not being able to travel the world and fix the world’s problems all at once.
Millennials, largely, have serious interest in activism efforts—they really want to change the world. This is good. But it can be a bit frustrating when “changing the world” doesn’t happen at the click of a button or the tap of an app.
I work in the social media space. My day job is to help authors connect with their readers on social media. I believe in social media as a ministry tool, as I have written numerous times here on the blog.
But I think social media, and online communication in general, destroys interpersonal communication under the guise of being more efficient and effective.
The culture created by Facebook interactions, YouTube comment threads, and Twitter flame wars has birthed an environment in which we have lost the ability to listen and converse with grace and humility.
While President Barack Obama and I disagree on a wide range of topics, I couldn’t help but say “Amen” the other night during his farewell speech when he said, “If you’re tired of arguing with strangers on the internet, try talking with one of them in real life.”
Good interpersonal communication skills are underrated in our culture at present. The trouble is that we often want to point to social media and the new ways of communicating more frequently and expressively (see: emojis) than before as a sort of “improvement” to our ability to communicate. We like to think of our ability to communicate as having “evolved” to a greater height than it was before. This is mistaken.
Our ability to communicate effectively with other human beings has been hindered by the internet and social media, not enhanced.
Millennials, myself included, often do not understand this.
This is not to say we should abandon social media and internet communication altogether—quite the opposite, actually.
Perhaps the first-and-foremost reason I haven’t quit my job and abandoned social media completely is because I believe we can redeem social media and learn how to use it effectively, so that it truly is enhancing our ability to communicate.
So, those are three common ways Millennials misunderstand the world. I slip into these from time-to-time, to be sure.
Do you have any to add?