When you hear the word ‘Millennial’ do you think of the ‘lazy generation’ that is self entitled, expects the world on a platter and forget that there is an entire existence outside of Facebook? Well, if you do you wouldn’t be alone.
But some say Millennials are just misunderstood because their values are different to those of generations gone by, wanting more purpose and meaning to their work. That being the case, there are definitely lessons we can learn from Millennials that we can apply to our own lives.
FYI – For those who are wondering, Millennials refers to generation born from around 1980 – 2000 (different sources refer to different timelines but this just about covers it). There are also some places that refer to ‘old Millennials’ and ‘young Millennials’ as the span for this generation is so great.
Here are some of the lessons we can learn from Millennials that can help us change the way we view life (or at least help us look at things a little differently).
1 – Education Doesn’t Have To Come From The Classroom
40 years ago your main options for an ‘education’ were university or getting a trade and learning on the job. Now the possibilities are endless. You can get a university degree without ever setting foot in a classroom, you can learn how to do just about anything thanks to YouTube and you have access to more information than ever before.
Millennials know that education doesn’t have to come from the classroom. Want to learn how to do something? Find out! Google, research, ask in a Facebook group, attend local classes, attend online classes, give it a go yourself.
2 – Work and Life Need to Co-Exist and You Don’t Need To Live To Work
Screw the work life balance, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. There is no such thing as a work/life balance. It’s just this concept that has been created, that we are all chasing, and that no one can quantify. What does it actually mean? What does it actually look like?
Instead of a work life balance, Millennials focus more on work that means something to them, that contributes to their life and that they can incorporate into their life. It’s the new ‘balance’.
Even more importantly, Millennials are also fighting the idea that you work to live, work and then work more until retirement age. They travel more, do more and see more now rather than waiting until they are retired to enjoy the fruits of their labor.
3 – Back Yourself
One of my favourite lessons to learn from Millennials is the ability to back yourself. Millennials generally seem to be pretty darn good at believing in themselves, believing in their abilities and backing an idea.
It doesn’t mean they don’t have self confidence issues or are impervious to the shitty day of ‘oh God I can’t do this’. It’s more of a willing to take the leap in the first place mentality.
And it’s awesome.
4 – Create a Career and Life You Want
While generations before felt they were quite happy to fit within the job description mould, the builder, baker and candlestick maker, Millennials are challenging this and creating careers they want. Can’t find a job you like? Create one? Can’t find a business you want to work for? Create it!
Thanks to the wonders of the world wide web, creating a business is easier now than ever before. Millennials are chasing their dreams, creating businesses out of their living rooms while still working their 9 – 5 and creating a life they want.
In addition, there are incredible Millennials out there who are challenging the conforms of a job by creating their career based around a lifestyle. Want to live in England and work at a pub for a few months? Go for it. Want to travel the world and get paid to do it? It’s totally possible. Millennials create the life they want to live, not live the life created for them.
5 – Challenge The Traditional ‘Happy Family’
Think the old nuclear family of husband, wife and two kids is the only way to be happy. Uh, no. Families come in ranges of shapes, sizes, colours and make up now! And while this may have always been the case, we are far more accepting of it now than ever before.
In addition, Millennials are also more likely to challenge the traditional gender roles and have a greater belief that parenting is an equal responsibility.
When you think of how far we have come as a society you have to be a little proud. Just look at the marriage equality movement – if you ask most Millennials if they have an issue with marriage equality their only objection will be that there isn’t enough of it.
Millennials seem to be far more accepting of people and their choices, something we here at Project Hot Mess stand behind 100%.
6 – Find Purpose In What You Do
Not satisfied with being told what to do and just doing it, Millennials aren’t afraid to challenge the traditional systems and question if there is a better way. And it’s not only in their careers. Millennials are more likely to support a cause or purchase a product they believe in even if it means paying a little more.
Millennials are driven by purpose. Find a purpose behind what you do and that is what will drive you.
7 – Keep Up Or Get Left Behind
Just think of how far technology has changed in the last 10 or 20 years. In June 2007, Steve Jobs announced the release of the first iPhone. Technology is moving forward fast and Millennials know you need to keep up or you’re going to get left behind. There’s coding classes for kids in schools, and computer skills classes for the older generations who want to keep in touch. Technology keeps us connected more than ever before and it’s incredible.
You can now pay for your groceries with your phone, video call your friends in another country and create an entire business empire from your Mac. It’s pretty darn incredible. Kids are even more in tune with technology and avoiding it is no longer an option. While letting your kids sit for hours on the computer may not be the best option, it’s now essential that they have at least some computer skills (which they pick up at a ridiculously fast rate!).
Keep up with technology, even if it’s just the bare minimum, and avoid getting left behind.
Despite all the bad wraps Millennials tend to get, they have a lot going for them. Maybe they’re (we’re) just a little different, which doesn’t mean bad at all. They just look at things differently. And there’s still a whole lot of lessons we can learn from Millennials.