I hear & read constantly about how those of us considered ‘Millennials’ (born roughly 1980-2000) are spoilt, entitled, lazy narcissistic & lacking direction (as found on the cover of Time magazine). That description has also been used countless times in articles on the topic of Justin Bieber.. This criticism is nothing new of course, a message likely conveyed by the earliest of neanderthal elders to the bunch of misfits running around climbing trees instead of hunting for dinner. It’s a ridiculous complaint for starters, we are all the products of our environment. These set of traits are not randomly bestowed upon us at birth.
I believe it’s a misunderstanding of the Millennials however. We live in a time vastly more complex than any that have come before. We are only just trying to make sense of the world we have inherited and I strongly believe we will leave it in better condition than we found it (which let’s be honest, was not the best).
We are inheriting a world that is polluted, in a state of constant economic uncertainty and where humans are treated differently due to their race, gender or sexual preferences. Where a different species of animal goes extinct every single day, forests are becoming a fable of the past & where the prospect of owning our own home enslaves us with a debt burden that lasts an entire working life. And why is the world in such a condition? It’s due to the greed of those who came before us; an obsession with wealth, material possessions and a focus on self-interest at the expense of all-else. How else could we have reached the point where the world is home to over 3 billion people who go to bed hungry each night? By the way, those 3 billion people have as much wealth between them as the richest 62. Let that sink in for a moment. We are the ones left wondering how the hell all this could happen..
I believe the Millennials are different. Call me optimistic but I have high hopes for this generation and what we can achieve in the world. I think optimism is a necessity, we have a hell of a lot to overcome.
We are more accepting and tolerant of each other than any generation that has come before. We are more multicultural; people of every race, colour and creed intermixing without the racism and bigotry present for so much of humanities modern history. We value human rights; marriage equality and the acceptance of refugees being prime examples of issues long neglected that we are willing to stand up and fight for. The majority of us also realise there’s more to life than going to the grave with more toys than our neighbour and we want to give back more than we want to take.
While I agree we certainly spend too much time on our phones & tablets, they have opened up communication & information sharing that is vital in promoting equality & giving all of the world’s citizens a voice. (On second thought, perhaps giving everyone a voice is not always a positive.. i.e Mr Donald Trump & Jimmy Fallon)
I believe our heart and our minds are in the right place, we just need to ensure we take action. Let’s leave the world in a better state than we found it. If we all work towards a cause we believe in, the generation of the ‘Millenials’ will be remembered as the turning point to an improved world society.
If you need a little inspiration, check out this list of 100 Millennials who are “redefining the world as we know it”.