Our Youth: How Much Has Really Changed?!?
By: Big Perm
The other day I was having a conversation with my daughter and while we were talking, I had a thought that comes to me from time to time. Life and time fly by whether your paying attention to it or not. My daughter is about to graduate college with her Bachelor’s Degree next spring. It literally seems at times like it was yesterday when I was in the labor room for 16 hours with her mom crushing my hand like Superman did to his Krypton counterparts after he took their powers away, being speechless and numb as I saw my daughter pop her head out entering this world. When she was born I promised to make sure we always maintained a strong connection by keeping a genuine open line of communication. I felt this was vital because it was something that was missing with my parents. This brings us back to the conversation I was having with her. I was looking for a topic to write about that would relate to her age group, so I asked her,” What issues do you feel are important to address for your peers and yourself?”. She replied to me, “Since we’re entering a new dawn of time, how does my generation identify and define success?”. After glowing, being in the middle of a proud father moment for how profound her question was, I thought to myself, she makes a valid point. How does her generation identify and define success according to the new rules of society?
How different is it from the generations before them?
My daughter was born in 1997. I believed the first thing I had to do was truly define what her age group was. In my opinion, it would range from the ages of 18 to 25 years old, individuals who would be dealing with some type of secondary education. Whether being a freshman entering college to someone finishing up their master’s degree or some type of trade school. Society is always trying to label age groups and generations so I could of assumed she was part of the “millennials”, but since I have artificial intelligence right by my side in all different forms, I decided to look it up and ask Google. It came back with an interesting and a lot more complicated answer than I imagined. Since we’re using the ages from 18 to 25, this means we’re talking about young adults who were born in between the years of 1993 and 2000. There are several labels given to this group, from being a subgroup of “millennials” to also being apart of “generation Z” as well as the group they call “centennials”. According to GenHQ.com, the latest you could be born and still considered a millennial is 1995. Anyone born from 1996 or later can be categorized as the “iGen”, “Gen Z” or a “Centennial”. All these labels can be confusing, luckily for me I was never into labels. I can see someone trying to categorize themselves having an identity crisis attempting to, but that’s a whole other topic, discussion and blog post for sure.
We pinpointed our target group to see how they view themselves attaining success. Now, we can look into how different it really is from generations before them. My daughter had mentioned students being in school longer, having many more options for work and having different goals as the main reasons success for them would have a different meaning for her age group. She further stated the conflict would reside in the fact that elders are in control of society, so will their different perspectives mesh together in order for her age group to still be considered successful in the eyes of society. I loved this because I got a chance to see how her and her age group perceives their place in society. If you haven’t heard it before, “perception creates your reality”. This is why it’s very important to always attempt to have a well rounded understanding of circumstances, situations and life events. We’re living in a time now, where “group-think” is at an all time high. We’re subjected to a high speed information age where anything can go viral in seconds, social media dependance that many are afflicted with as well as a hyper sensitivity consuming our communities which has pushed a “group-think” trend into the atmosphere. All these characteristics in my opinion allow someone to perceive success is different now than it was before. There’s more anxiety in the process of defining success than ever before because of the increased outside influence we’re able to receive when it comes to identifying our success. There’s more pressure to have an acceptable definition for success since more people are able to judge and comment on your actions and results. The intensity to come up with the so-called “right” conclusion may have been racheted up a notch but I feel the actual root of success hasn’t changed. For instance, let’s use my family as an example. There’s my parent’s generation, the baby boomers, my generation, considered generation X and my daughter’s generation which we broke down earlier. In each time period, there’s always been a societal outline for a successful person. In the same breath, in each time period, humans are still individuals who differ in some form or fashion to one another. There’s never been a cookie cutter definition for success because that definition should come from within each and every one of us. Everyone being able to find for themselves what makes them happy, which leads to the ultimate sustainable success.
At the end of the day, it’s about learning, understanding yourself to the best of your abilities to come up with a game-plan that leads to long term, consistent happiness for themselves and everybody in their life’s circle. Take a pyramid and how it’s designed and built. Imagine each stone represents input building your knowledge, wisdom and understanding of yourself. When you’re building the foundation, to make sure it’s sound and as strong as possible, you’re taking in as much input as necessary to have a sturdy, indestructible design to keep ascending. As you build and reach the next levels of understanding yourself, the format till you reach the apex shifts. More and more of the input defining your mindset and perception should come from yourself. You’ll develop a oneness, symmetrical flow of thought which will align yourself with your comprehension of success. There’s a quote from Danish writer, Morten Sondergaard that I think sums it up best,” Success does not lie in the results but in efforts, being the best is not so important, doing the best you can is all that matters…”. Even though the one constant in time is “change”, there are universal principles and understandings that remain constant no matter what!