It’s nearing the end of 2018 and I am 28 years of age, born February 24th, 1990 so I am firmly in the Millennial bracket. I am growing up all the time. My weekends no longer revolve around the almighty sesh with the lads, although a monthly breakout is still good for the soul even if we are all a little older, a little slower and tell the same stories. The laughs stay the same even if some things have changed.
I have begun a pension, I even started paying tax in Ireland as I will be here long term after doing so in a European country for a while (Even though JP has the right idea on this as Ireland is one of the worst places in the world tax-wise. France/Switzerland FTW.), I have stopped caring about things which seemed so vital just a few short years ago and I am on the precipice of purchasing my first home, all things Aidan are good, but I find myself in a strange situation.
The hopeful, bright eyed young liberal boy with a dream that I once saw in the mirror is no longer there. He has been replaced by a driven, laser focused, expensive suit wearing, dare I say it.. man? I have spent so much time admiring Harvey Specter, I haven’t realised I have become him.
For the most part I am happy with this, because as much as I want it, playing for Man Utd probably isn’t on the cards for me anymore so everyone must grow up at some stage. Thankfully, I have done so in a semi-successful manner. I have noticed a growing trend in my peers though which worries me and has been compounded by two separate events in the last few weeks.
I have recently opened an office in New York to focus exclusively on our American work. It is scary, but it is the next logical step for growth after I weighed up my options. This tasked me with expanding my staff which I have a love/hate relationship with. On the one hand it is incredibly exciting to meet talented people and even more so to work with them but on the opposite side, it is a lot of administrative work, something I typically avoid as it puts me to sleep.
As this was a big move, I threw myself into it and was genuinely excited to get to work. I like to hire people right out of college as they are hungry and will get to work like they are possessed to showcase they are worthy of their employment. Hiring people in their twenties is useful anyway as I would be spending 12 hours a day with these people so having things in common goes a long way to a streamlined workplace. This leads to deadlines being met and targets being hit.
It has been successful for me in the past so after meeting a top head-hunter friend of mine I set interviews for 15 people I thought were right for Avalanche and, in all honesty, like Harvey, I set out to find a new me.
13 out of the 15 cancelled because they were too “anxious” to carry out the interview.
This left me incredibly disappointed and while I wanted to understand, my overwhelming response was one of exasperation. The saddest thing about this statistic is that is wasn’t even a surprise to me. This disheartening exchange led me to the realisation that:
Quite simply, we are the worst generation.
Now this is not a throwaway statement and as I am part of that generation, I am part of the problem. We are the generation that laughs at our parents for not being able to change their social media settings but must Google how long it takes to boil an egg. We are arrogant, lazy, entitled and because we all got participation trophies, we all think we are special. We’re not and herein lies the problem.
*As a whole, the Millennial generation, too many of us grew up being told that we were special - all the time, we were told we can have anything we want in life, just because we want it. Some of us got into honours classes not because we deserved it but because our parents complained. Some of us got A’s not because we earned them, but because the teachers didn’t want to deal with our parents.
You take this group of people and they graduate, and they get a job and they’re thrust into the real world and in an instant, they find out they are not special, their moms can’t do their job, that you get nothing for coming in last and can’t just have it because you want it. In an instant their entire self-image is shattered. So, we have an entire generation that is growing up with lower self-esteem than previous generations.
The road to success/happiness is in taking responsibility. Your life, your happiness, your goals. These are your responsibility and yours alone but as a generation, we expect Mom & Dad to do it.
In a world that celebrates mediocrity, is it too much to ask for more? I don’t believe that it is.
People are generally all too ready to give reasons why we are so anxious, why we seem so terrified by the most modest of tasks.
Simple explanations tend to revolve around the modern-day obsession with technology. A lack of sleep is caused by watching one too many episodes of the latest binge worthy Netflix series; stress comes from an obsession with social media, which either paints the picture that everyone is out having fun but us or has us checking how many likes our latest Instagram post has in the same anxious way we check how many Euros we have in the bank as if it means something. I find this explanation lazy, it is a well-known fact that social media creates problems and opportunities in equal measure. It just needs some common sense. 70% of you will have come across this article through social media so when used correctly it can be productive.
We have grown up in a Facebook/Instagram world, so we are good at putting filters on things. We’re good at showing people that life is amazing even if it is not, but I don’t believe this is the massive problem it is made out to be. We know, the science is clear, we know that people who spend more time on social media suffer higher rates of depression than people who spend less time on social media. These things balanced, are not bad. Alcohol is not bad, too much alcohol is dangerous. There is nothing wrong with social media, it’s the imbalance.
I believe the main issue is the endless choices millennials face, it has proven paralyzing. We are the constantly-swiping-right generation. Dizzied by so many choices, we end up terrified of making any at all. Our generation needs to rise above this. Adversity builds character but unfortunately the majority of our generation runs away from a fight. If you are already in pain. Push through it, get something from that.
Don’t crawl back under the covers because you think someone else will fix it for you. It can be summed up in two words: Fight back.
The second event which led me to believe we are the worst generation is a speaking event I was invited to. I was told I would be the second billing, a warm-up act for the main speaker. I was initially thrilled, happy to get in and out under the radar as most people have no idea who I am, they just know the business name and then refer to me as the “computer fella”. I could do my talk and enjoy the main speaker while having real conversations with people.
I am not ashamed to say I was dismayed when it transpired the main speaker was an Instagram “influencer” who seemed to do little more than post bikini shots in Santa Ponsa and other budget holiday spots. I was honestly, angry at being told to play second fiddle to this.
As much as I am proud of what Avalanche has done, I typically downplay it when speaking to people so as not to make my arrogant prick reputation even worse. I don’t dwell on the successes, I just focus on the next win, so I always end up blasé about my own/Avalanche’s achievements. It is nice to take a minute of self-indulgence every now and again though so I was looking forward to it nonetheless. My irritation was mainly because once I stepped back and looked at the event line-up I swiftly realised that founding a multi-national company at 21 is less of a goal than 50k Instagram followers. What the fuck is wrong with our generation?
Safe to say, I politely declined their invitation while the influencer never turned up on the day with the only explanation being “I was sick” 3 days after the event was scheduled to take place. Can you understand my anger at being second billing to that? Reports show that “influencer” is now a more desired profession than doctor among those aged 18-25. Simply because being a doctor is “too hard”. Sweet mother of God. It is going to get worse before it gets better.
Our generation is known for its overwhelmingly liberal ideology, and its lack of traditional values set in stone by our grandparents. Anyone who has seen my latest (valid) complaints about Personal Trainers on Instagram will know that I am not afraid to speak about something which is currently on my mind (PS, over 500 DM’s, 90% were people agreeing with me, this included a lot of PT’s. Sadly 10% were those it obviously struck a nerve with and they threw a Millennial tantrum.)
My overall point of this is how do these people think they are going to survive in the world without a tough shell for things to roll off their backs? How are they going to survive in business in a notoriously tough industry? Seriously, I even think my dog has done a Health & Leisure FETAC course and calls himself a PT so if some eejit like me takes the piss out of you for some shady practices, change them instead of just complaining or else you are simply wasting your time.
There has never been a better time in the history of mankind to build a business or to do something amazing. Think about how lucky we are, 50 years ago if I was dealing with a client. I would send them a letter, wait two days for their reply and then send another one. If that was still the standard practice today, I would not be able to do what I do. Avalanche would simply not exist.
We are the first generation to have access to endless information, everything we could want is literally in our pockets every day. It is simply having the courage to step over the obstacles and be comfortable in change. It is not easy, there is a period of growth but once you get through it, you will understand what living really is. We have all in the information in the world in our phones, but our generation are afraid to use it for its main function. People will mindlessly scroll through Instagram, but God forbid, they actually call someone on the phone. It is the saddest shit I have ever heard of.
I believe the root problem with us Millennials, based on my own recent experiences and some research is we don’t want to do what’s hard, we want everything handed to us and even then, we still aren’t happy. We are so used to instant gratification that we are incapable of putting in the hard yards. As I am in this generation and find myself in a management position within, I have found myself almost on the outside looking in. A young man with an old soul as one of my uncles says. I have moved from the poor liberal Millennial to the successful conservative that doesn’t really understand his own generation but knows that they are capable of so much more, they are capable of great things if we could just get out of our own way.
You are where you are because that’s where you have decided to be, and you’ve accepted that as ok. If you want change, you need to manufacture that change. That is not to say that I don’t firmly believe that every man/woman is the shaper of their own destiny, but the frustration arises when I see people complain about a lack of opportunities, they don’t know how to do something etc. It is up to you to figure it out.
If you’re going to be good at something it takes a while. Just enjoy the getting there, you will get fed up, you will get disheartened. Don’t quit just because it is hard. What I can say after more than 6 years of this, is that I enjoyed the getting here just as much as being here.
Success comes from hard work, effort, dedication and persistence but the key is allocating your time to the things that make you feel like you can beat the day. Earn your rest every night you put your head on that pillow. I guarantee you, do this for 365 days in a row and you will be amazed how closer you will be to your goals.
It does seem that our generation is incapable of sticking out the harder parts of life and throw in the towel far too soon. I see it online all the time, people starting a business and throw it away after 3 months after the initial social media attention has died. What do you expect?! Nobody is going to care as much as you do so it will take a lot longer than this. It takes at least a year of doing nothing else but focusing on this before you can make an informed decision.
As much as my ego disagrees with me from time to time after 7 pints of Clonmel Chardonnay. The harsh truth is: I’m not gifted, I am just driven. I am a guy who came from nothing, so literally anyone can do it. Perhaps this is why I get so frustrated with my generation. I expect more from them because I demand more from myself. In school and college and all that stuff, people will tell you to have something to fall back on. If you are going to fall, don’t fall back on anything. Fall forward. If you fall forward, you can see where you fail, you can take this and learn from it.
The best thing that can happen to anyone in life is a heartbreak, be it professional or personal. A gigantic setback is needed. This is a slap in the face and the wake-up call that is severely needed. The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach the very top of whatever it is you choose to do in this life will be much clearer to you after this.
My main worry with our generation is we will have an entire population growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy. They’ll never really find deep fulfillment in work or in life, they’ll just waft through life and its things will only ever be “just fine”. Work, holidays, partners, weddings etc, everything will be “fine”, and they will be lost to the grey in life, never understanding the wonderful highs and lows it has to offer. I honestly pity anyone who ends up in this purgatory like state.
I am aware that this article did a lot of generalising. I am not saying that every single Millennial is horrible, or that every single person from this generation needs to dramatically change. But I do think that we can all look in the mirror and realise that we are the new leaders of this world.
We have the power and tools to do such good in the world. We can create anything we want to, do anything we want to and most importantly, we can be whomever we choose to be. Nothing is free in life, and life isn't fair. Learn to live with it. If we can get through this, I believe we can do anything.
Let's go from being the worst generation to the generation who made the greatest comeback.
Take your passion and make it happen.
Ref Simon Sinek: Well worth a watch for more detail.