Why Are Millennials Failing At Life?

I recently saw a tweet that said that Millennials are failing at life. Bit harsh. And I don't agree. Millennials are failing at handling failure. This is happening because they haven't been taught to fail often and to see it as part of the process. However, there's more to the situation than just failing at failure. Simon Sinek has best summed up the main issues facing Millennials right now, and the video in which he does this (see below) is worth a watch, regardless of your generation.

Millennials are expected to outnumber Boomers for the first time this year. This makes the 'Millennial Question' everyone's problem. Whether you are a Millennial, or you're the parent or even grandparent of Millennials, you need to be able to answer this question. But what is the Millennial Question?

In the video below, Simon Sinek breaks it down. I will outline the main points following the video if you don't have time to watch the whole thing. Before you watch this or read the notes... if you are a Millennial... please know that this is not criticism. This is an attempt to seek to understand things like the rising epidemic of narcissism in your generation. It's not just arrived out of nowhere. There are reasons, and there are things that you can do to help yourself and others with issues arising from not receiving what you needed to become resilient to this. I'm Gen X. We got screwed up too, in different ways. For us, we were invisible. Still are. That has a kinda-sorta opposite impact. Many of us are empaths, introverts, observers, deep thinkers, and prone to staring at our feet when we dance. But, it turns out that none of those things have as big of an impact on society in general, since we're a teeny tiny little generation. You, however, are a behemoth of a generation, so your personal issues will have a big impact as you become the largest generation. 

Millennials are deemed by leaders in business to be: tough to manage, entitled, narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused, and lazy.

When they're asked what they want, and given what they say they want, they are still not happy. Sinek has identified this is due to missing pieces that are not in place for Millennials:

  1. Parenting

    They were told they were special, and could have whatever they want just because they want it. They got grades in some cases not because they earned them but because parents complained. They got participation trophies. Then they got into the 'real world' and their entire self-esteem was shattered. 

  2. Technology

    Instagram and other social networks show Millennials acting confident and seeming to have it all together, but they don't. So they're feeling even lower in self-esteem.

    They're extrinsically motivated by likes, etc. They're trained to be addicted to dopamine hits. There are age restrictions on alcohol, tobacco, etc, but none on phones and the internet which have the same dopamine addiction level. So Millennials are almost all addicts. They are learning to numb out emotion, and hard wiring that into their brains. So for the rest of their lives they are less likely to turn to people for help and more likely to turn to addictions to numb out. This is affecting Millennials' ability to connect with other human beings in deep and meaningful ways. They don't have the coping mechanisms to handle stress. Instead, they turn to quick hits to numb out. This leads to imbalance and disconnection.

    If you wake up and check your phone before saying good morning to your girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse, you have an addiction. It will destroy relationships, cost time and money, and make your life worse.

  3. Impatience

    Want to buy something? Amazon. Instant. Want to watch a movie? Netflix binge. Want to date? Swipe right. You can have everything you want instantaneously. BUT:

    "Job satisfaction and strength of relationships? There ain't no app for that".

    When he interviews people early in their careers, they want to quit, because they don't feel they're making an impact. They don't understand that it takes time. The overall journey is arduous, long, and difficult. 

    Because Millennials haven't developed these skills, there is a rise in suicide, accidental death through addictions, etc. The best case scenario is to lead a life that's just 'fine'. 

  4. Environment

    Corporate environments aren't helping. They're focused on short term gains, rather than helping young people develop character and long term life skills.

    This is a lack of good leadership. It is the responsibility of companies to sort out the bad hand that Millennials were dealt, so that they can be taught the social skills they missed. 

    The book I wrote has tips to help with this too. These are practical steps that you shouldn't need to be taught, but if you (or your child) has missed some of these steps and fallen into addiction and some degree of narcissism as a consequence, this is necessary training. And NOBODY should judge anyone who needs to learn this, as it is no fault of their own that they missed it. The Birth of The Egon


If you're a Millennial, and you're struggling with this stuff, stop defending. Stop jumping up and shouting when people raise it with you. Stop blaming yourself. Stop. Just acknowledge that society failed you - as it fails all generations in one way or another - and commit to taking control of the hand you were dealt and playing it more consciously going forward. Because, there is still time to learn what you missed.

If you're not a Millennial, stop using the term as an insult. If you're older than Millennials and you've never helped them with this then you're part of the problem. We learnt skills they don't have. It's not our duty to look down on them and judge them. It's our duty to lift them up and help them develop these skills too.



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