Happiness in the Millennial Times
The young generation lives mostly in the present; they are updated every second and mobiles and the internet is their assistant in almost every task. They live their lives publicly- their thoughts and opinions are read and commented upon by thousands online. We can see tons of posts about new experiences, travel, food and what not. They seem happy and fulfilled. But are they really happy? They are strong believers in the doctrine of self sufficiency and make no bones about asking “What’s in it for me?” They know the price of things, at times not their value. In these changing times, everybody is exposed to social media. Opinions are bandied about as facts, fake news travels faster than the truth and every single person has their own little role to play in this charade. We must remember that the Mobile phone & internet were given by us & they have grown up with them.
Yet, the social media has its own power. In the wake of the Parkland shootings in Florida, the youth are organizing. In an op-ed piece in NY Times, author Tim Kreider notes, “The uprising of the young against the ossified, monolithic power of the National Rifle Association has reminded me that the flaws of youth — its ignorance, naïveté and passionate, Manichaean idealism — are also its strengths. Young people have only just learned that the world is an unfair hierarchy of cruelty and greed, and it still shocks and outrages them. They don’t understand how vast and intractable the forces that have shaped this world really are and still think they can change it. Revolutions have always been driven by the young.”[i]
And in these turbulent times, what is it that millennials have to do to be happy? What can their elders/mentors do? Let’s apply the ATM of Happiness here.
Acceptance – Elders need to accept the youth and their viewpoints without taking them through the rigmarole of being corrected, lectured upon on everything they do (my children would like to nail me down here). They need to be patient enough to understand the millennials. The millennials need to accept that their elders have the wisdom from their experience & understand that using some wisdom is not bad. (Dude what *#@ is this MD muttering all the time is a common response in their conversations i.e., Millennial to Millennial)
Taking Charge – The youth likes to think that they are in charge and yet do not understand the full extent of it – the fact that this power comes with responsibilities has eluded them. The millennials believe that they will decide what they need to do yet and that is fine, but they need to understand that there is also the responsibility that comes with the power to decide for yourself. It is because that decision affects the people around them, their family, their friends and the decision affects their future as well. Taking charge of your thoughts and feelings should be mutual. The youth and their elders should listen and understand the viewpoints of each other to then decide amicably and be committed to supporting that, once decided.
Making the most what you have – Your family and your friends are the absolute constants in your life. Spend time nurturing those relationships. Care for each other. Experience joy and happiness internally, instead of putting it all up on social media. This generation is unencumbered by the need to survive and that is a big plus point. At times the confidence in their ideas and their ability put them in practise is incredible – a Facebook or an Uber wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Yet the bad news is that at times the casualness in their attitude can take way so much of their success.
Their ability to go against the motion for something they believe in is incredible & that gives them power of being successful without worrying about looking back … flipkart is a classic example from India. I recall being told to talk about the present & future …the past is of not much interest to us.
The millennials are not different species, they are humans too. And like humans, they need to collaborate and socialize to progress. With individualistic philosophies and practises on the rise, millennials should understand that their ability to collaborate & communicate and be collaborated & communicated with is critical. Communication is key– with their own generation, the younger ones and the older ones. For example, there will be times when the older generation wants to teach them the value of time management, but they refuse to pre-plan and still stick to last minute. This needs to change as in the long run it affects overall their effectiveness & a teams performance if its a mix of old & new ) and take responsibility with empowerment they desire ( full freedom to decide is a must , so I keep on swiping my credit card yet don’t have the means ready to pay the EMI is classical example ) Seems like collaboration comes naturally when there is a shared outcome for the group A corporate trainer for a large telecom company was sharing an example of how his 1000 > millennial ensuring customer advocacy insights were executed to the hilt as their bonuses were linked with it. However, whenever there was an opportunity to outshine each other through a team event, no effort was lost to have the spotlight on each individual.
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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are personal observations and have no semblance to any event or meant to hurt any individual or communities on their personal beliefs . The article contains references to publicly available material for which due credit goes to the originator.