It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of Gen Y and the work we’re doing in the world. However, I also know that’s not a super popular opinion, so I’ve decided to make a list of all the things I love about millennials and how we’re changing the world. Feel free to add your own in the comments!
One of the things I love most about millennials is that we crave authenticity. Millennials don’t so superficial. We can smell BS from a mile away, which is why we are far more likely to respond to people (and brands) that share their failures, flaws and behind the scenes outtakes rather than just a glossy highlight reel.
We demand transparency. We are a generation of whistleblowers and watchdogs and we want to know what’s going on behind closed doors. And, thanks to one of my favourite trends of the past decade, ‘hactivism’ (using hacking technology to access previously top secret information), if there’s something untoward happening in our governments, media or corporations, we’re going to find out about it.
We value community. The age of individualism is over, and millennials are set on re-connecting with our tribal roots. We know that life means nothing without people to share it, so we are harnessing the power of the internet to create both virtual and in-person communities that enrich and support us.
We’re engaging in conscious relationships. We no longer have to couple up for economic or emotional security, so our relationships have become vehicle through which we experience personal growth and transformation. We’re no longer staying in relationships that deplete or depress us, we’re falling in love with ourselves first, then finding someone who magnifies our strengths and has a vision that complements our own.
We’re passionate and purpose driven. What some have labelled entitlement is really just a desire to do meaningful work in the world. We don’t want to prop up industries that aren’t in alignment with our values for the sake of a paycheque, we want to use our skills and talents to make difference to people’s lives. When millennials know the reason behind the work we’re doing, where it fits in the bigger picture and how it’s going to help people and the planet, we become unstoppable.
We’ve re-defined success. While our parents ran around ticking boxes and accumulating posessions (degree, house, car, stable job, spouse, 2.5 kids), we are creating our own ideas about what it means to be successful, and it’s largely based on how we feel, rather than what we have. We couldn’t care less if you have a Kate Spade handbag or a holiday house, we’re more interested in how you feel when your head hits the pillow each night.
We value collaboration over competition. We’ve busted the myth that for us to succeed, someone else has to fail. We have adopted an abundance mindset and tapped into the incredible power that comes from working with – rather than against – one another.
We’re also entrepreneurial. If we can’t find a job we want, we’ll create one.
We’ve taken our education into our own hands. We realised pretty quickly that thirteen years of school left us completely ill-equipped to handle the challenges of the modern world, so we seek information outside traditional avenues. We read, listen to podcasts, watch documentaries and take full advantage of the global library of information at our fingertips. As a result, we are far more conscious than any generation that has come before. We want to know how our clothes are made and where our food comes from. We question why we do the things we do and we’re taking greatest tools at our disposal; our time, talent and money and investing them in companies and causes that are in alignment with our values.
We’re inclusive and open minded. Access to a vast spectrum of different world views and the ability to connect with people regardless of their geographical location has awakened us to the power of perception. Thanks to blog posts, Youtube videos and social media rants from all over the world, we have developed the ability to change lenses with ease. And the moment we adopt another’s perspective, we understand pretty quickly that we what we have in common is greater than anything that separates us.
We’re also less attached to absolutes than ever before. We intuitively sense that nothing is ever black and white, right and wrong are relative terms, and that opposing Truths can exist simultaneously in this world of Divine dichotomy. Rigid identity structures like religion, race and political affiliations are becoming less appealing as we crave the freedom to explore new ideas and create our own ideologies.
We’re infinitely creative. How many young people do you know with a blog/instagram/podcast or Youtube channel? Gen Y are making the transition from consumers to producers by using the countless platforms at our disposal to bring our ideas in the world. We know that having outlets for our creativity makes us more productive, peaceful and ultimately more fulfilled.
We’re not waiting to do what we love. Say what you will about the age of instant gratification, but one thing millennials won’t wait for is happiness. We’ve decided that working for two decades in a job we hate isn’t worth the retirement package, so rather than postponing joy or sacrificing years of our lives, we’re finding ways to travel, create and explore now, while earning a living doing what we love.
We’re doing the work. As we become more aware of the connection between the thoughts we think and the reality we create, many of us are seeking out coaches, healers, mentors and psychologists to let go of limiting beliefs and expand our ideas about what’s possible for our lives. We’re taking responsibility for our emotional baggage and dealing with it before we pass it on to our children (You’re welcome, future kids).
I wholeheartedly believe each generation is equipped with the exact skills, talents and experiences they need to solve the challenges that they face. Just like generations gone before us, Gen Y are learning from the mistakes of the past and dream wildly about the kind of future we can create. I am grateful every single day that I get to be a part of a generation that, in the face of challenges unlike anything the world has seen before, have developed a new resilience, tenacity and refusal to be disempowered or go back to sleep. We are asking the right questions, we are leaning in instead of pulling back, and we let our anger spur us into action. These are the kind of people I am surrounded by every day. If this doesn’t sound like the kind of millennials you know, maybe it’s time to become one 😉