Gen Y, generation me, the boomerang generation, burglkaf, millennious, hollies, programming hipster, madulthood, it doesn’t matter how you want to call them, there appears to be one universal word everybody knows nowadays: the Millennials. A word that sounds mysterious, interesting and kinda cool if you ask me. A term that has been globally analysed, researched, spoken about and written about. A term that is equivalent to the generation that will change the world. A term that holds the future and a term that fascinate me. Being born in ’96 (the amazing year where Xzibit was actually making music instead of pimping rides) I am ‘entitled’ to call myself a millennial. But what does being a millennial mean to me? How does a millennial experience the millennial era? How do I deal with the curve balls live throws at me? And how did I get fascinated by this term and the whole buzz around it? Find out below!
Let me start by answering the first question: “What are millennials?” Millennials are the people who were born approximately in the period between the ‘80s and the ‘2000s. This generation is created after the generation X, born between the 60s and the ‘80s. Before generation X, the Baby Boomers were the generation on the rise, being born between the ‘40s and the ‘60s. The millennials are known for; exposure to the Internet, and more education and racial diversity than ever before. For more details about this millennial age check this video.
So why are the millennials so important? Why does everybody seem to be talking about this ‘special’ generation? Why do newspapers, journals, blog websites and huge companies write about this new era? Well, because this generation is larger than any previous generation and will make up for 75% of the global workforce in 2025. Numbers that can’t be ignored.
But why does it fascinate me? Why did I decide to write a blog about millennials? Well, because first of all I am one. However, the true fascination started after watching the video from Simon Sinek about the millennial question. When watching this video it struck me. It felt like Simon spoke directly to me. The way he broke down an entire generation and explained the characteristics, pitfalls and way of living was incredibly accurate to me. It felt like he could read straight through me. He described me. He described the things I was going through and the things I was lacking and struggling with.
I will try to not spoil this video, since I really recommend you watching it, but share the main thing that impacted and inspired me.
The main thing the video taught me is how millennials crave, desire and look for many great, inspirational things, such as working for a company that has a purpose, a place where they can make an impact. A place that offers room for growth and a place that will help them achieve all their goals and dreams.
Words that are music to my ears. However, the thing that struck me was the fact that even though the motivated and inspired millennials can have it all, they still can feel unhappy or unfulfilled. This fact hit me like a ton of bricks. Because that was exactly why I wrote my last week’s blog, because I was, and sometimes still am, struggling with knowing that I am enough. Seeking that external validation in the form of likes, followers, or comments to feel better, but knowing that deep inside it can’t provide that feeling for the long term. That affirmation has to come from within you, by accepting you, not from applying filter to your life and showing how amazing and figured out it looks.
This topic, the millennial question, became the subject of many inspirational conversation my buddy Stijn, who came over for a weekend, and I had. We had conversations about how (over)thinking could ruin you from taking action. How millennials nowadays are lost in the direction they want to go, thinking about every step along the way. How they try to find their path and their journey towards success, quick results, money, whatever it might be. But how they forget the number one key thing: making the choices they want to make, instead of the choices society or the people around them are telling them to make.
I am probably the best example of a millennial who can look for external factors, believing that they will give fulfillment or happiness. I start things with the wrong reasons all the time. I can read one page of a book and believe firmly that that challenge, habit, or decision can change my life forever and solve all my problems. I can let myself believe that the next thing is the way to go. “I am going to wake up everyday at 5am for the next month to work when everybody else sleeps!” Leaving me nothing but frustrated, tired, overwhelmed and insecure, after finding out that I started it because I believed it would give me (immediate) results (which it obviously didn’t because things take time). I forgot the most important point; doing something because I like doing or trying it. Because I am genuinely curious to try it out. Because I can’t wait to find out what the results will be, positive or negative.
Don’t get me wrong here, pushing yourself to do the uncomfortable is something extremely powerful and getting outside your comfort zone is absolutely necessary to figure out whom you are and what your strengths and capabilities are. However, doing things because you think they will help you or give you immediate results won’t bring you anything but frustration. Reading 10 pages a day, because you believe that that will give you the edge after a week, won’t do the job. It will feel like something you must do, you have to do. An obligation I wrote about in this blog.
Remember this one?
So when do you know if you start something new for the right reasons? Great question. A question that can’t be answered right here, right now. The answer demands patience and time. It’s an answer that is a journey, not a destination. However, an answer that starts with stopping to look outside of you. Stop to look at the high life real on Instagram and believe that you need to do the same. Stop looking for validation outside of yourself and start looking at what you believe will give you joy. Don’t expect to come up with the big dream all at once, to figure out your passion. Look for small things that give you joy. Is it waking up 5 minutes earlier to have that time window where you can chill a little more in the morning? Is it reading a book because you are interested in what it will bring you, not seeking instant results? Is it sitting down after a long day to call that buddy that you haven’t spoke to in a while? Whatever it might be, don’t expect immediate results and don’t expect it to be easy. Because it is hard to find out why you want to do the things you want to do. But step by step, you will get closer to the core desire, that core reason.
Have I found that core reason? Hell no. Do I still start things with the wrong reasons? Hell yes. Do I get tired and insecure because I am unsure of my results and my direction? For sure! It’s all part of the journey. But sitting down with yourself, asking yourself why you want to go where you think you want to go, why you want to start the things you want to start, can give you clarification already.
Well, like every week’s blog it is turning into an entire chapter of a book. You might have noticed that I have found my fascination and new interest. There is so much about this topic that I want to research, learn and share with you. The only thing I need: time.
To conclude, being a millennial, I believe is great fun. You can build your own website, publish weekly blogs and believe that you are going to change the world. The sky is the limit! However, I do believe that the flip side offers immense amount of pressure on the shoulders of millennials, leaving this generation with the highest suicide rate and highest depression rate of all generations. Shocking numbers that need to be changed! I will do everything I can to figure out my way of coping with the curve balls adolescence and life will throw at me to help, support and inspire as many millennials as I can.