Millennials continue to get a bad rep. “Millennials,” an often denigrating label, refers to the generation that comes after Gen X. We are a generation that lives and breathes digital technology. We are supposedly sunny in our outlook and our peppy optimism is attributed to our sense of entitlement and privilege. We are the generation that yawns when told about how once upon a time, so-and-so had to walk however many miles just to get to the nearest such-and-such place. Such a story might produce a sense of failure in a Gen-X underachiever, tell it to us and it just sounds like a cliché. We are also the generation that came out of college and right into the Great Recession, saddled with student debts and facing the possibility that we might never be able to buy our own home by say, age 30. In fact, 30 seems like a young number to us. Our parents were most likely already making mortgage payments and feeding a second child by the time they were 30; but at most, we can buy a bottle of overpriced green juice.
Faced with new possibilities and impossibilities, our generation is unique and some of the stereotypes about us probably hold water.
But if you’re balking at the stereotypes, check our list. Here are the really reliable signs that you have what it takes to make it, even if you belong to this so-called overprivileged and over-entitled generation.
1. Despite the stereotype, you have GRIT
Grit isn’t just programmatic hard work. Millennials often shine in school; we are efficient at doing what needs to get done and we know the official steps to success like no other generation before. We are professionalized very very early on–these days, high schoolers feel left behind if they don’t get a good summer internship before college.
But GRIT is something else. Grit is a type of determination in the face of unfamiliar situations and uncomfortable contexts. If you’re a child of immigrants, it is what drove your parents to be able to take a strange route to a strange country and learn a strange language without a safety net beneath them. Grit is a pioneering quality, do you have it?
2. In this age of fast capitalism, you have INTEGRITY
In our present age, memoirs are written based on complete fabrication. Any controversy is likely to make you even more famous. We live in such a media-saturated world that quick fame seems easier to come by than boring old hard work. It is easy to cheat a little, to cut corners, just as long as you can package all this as a sellable brand.
But do you have the moral fiber to do things the hard way as long as it is the right way? This is integrity, and it is an increasingly rare trait among us today.
3. You work HARD
Again, true hard work is different from being educated; it is different from memorizing the expectations you know you have to meet. True hard work is the thing that makes you do something difficult again and again until you master it, even though the rewards are not immediately within your sight, even if no one is watching.
I believe what separates our generation from our parents’ generation is this: our hard work propels us towards success, but they worked hard for the sake of working hard. If you have nothing to earn from refolding every single shirt in a retail store so as to make its pattern more visible to the customer, and if your manager isn’t even around to see this type of commitment, will you do it?
4. You know what is going on in the world beyond your little bubble.
You would think that with all the social media at our fingertips, we would be much better informed than previous generations were. But because we live in an age that is out to customize consumer choices for the “unique” consumer, we are increasingly prone to using social media only to serve our direct, personal interests. That is to say, cute cats and tomato frittata recipes make up a lot of our newsfeed…
We live in an increasingly interconnected world, but also an increasingly fragmented one. Globally, the divide between the rich and poor continues to be staggering, populism is a disturbing trend all over the world, Islamophobia, environmental destruction in the name of big business, etc. I mean, keep the cats, but I do believe that highly successful people have a mind that can take a genuine interest in things beyond their immediate context.
5. You go home for dinner on a regular basis.
Dinner at your parents’ on a Sunday, or dinner at night with your loved one. Or dinner at your close friends’ every Friday. Keep strong ties, because we live in generally precarious economic times, our world is changing faster than ever before. We need anchors, we need roots. The people in our lives connect us to what matters the most to us, beyond trends, STEM subjects, Bitcoin, beyond our restless millennial chasing after success.
If you are the type of person who prioritizes spending time with the people who are important to you on a regular basis, I believe it means that you manage your time well. I believe that it shows you know your values in life and have a good support system–all traits that help in the making of a successful person. Don’t buy the stereotype of the lone wolf chasing a distant goal in the cold dark night. Behind every successful person is a network of friends and family who give them support and love, and for whom they make the time!
What other traits do you think it takes for a millennial to succeed? Share your thoughts with us in our “comments” box below!
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