Why millennials AREN’T great at everything (but feel like they are)

Again, the oh-so-negatively-common stigma that surrounds millennials has my ears burning. Today’s issue? The endless need for recognition, gratification, and commendation by millennials. Without it they seem to slump into a oh-so-easily-diagnosed form of depression or self-loathing. But, as with any other millennial problem, there’s got to be a source. I feel this one if pretty easy to diagnose. Let’s take a look.

Joey vs Tim — we’re not all superstars at everything, and it’s better that we know that.

Take a look at any schooling environment nowadays. What do you see in terms of student recognition for achievement? It’s everywhere! We’ve become a society that feels our children’s emotions should come before legitimate reward for outstanding achievement and so, not only have we lowered the bar for achievement, we’ve erased that bar completely.

Example? 10 children run a race. The quickest one comes first, followed by a close second, third, fourth and fifth. Four more later, and last place crosses (finally). Ensuring no child is left out, every participant receives a gold medal. Well done, everyone! You’re all superstars!

Two things happen here.

Firstly, last placed Joey has now learnt that, despite his shortcomings and lack of running ability, he’s still considered a champion. No need to improve, he’s fine as is, and he’s got the gold to prove it. Joey then adopts the mindset that little effort still pays high rewards, and thus lack of work ethic becomes the norm for him.

Secondly, first placed Tim has learnt that, despite all his effort and commitment, he’s still no better than Joey. Tim begins to wonder if there’s any point to putting in any effort, ever. His potential is wasted away by a lack of hunger to do well and push himself, and thus he becomes doubtful in his own abilities.

Fast-forward ten years

Fast-forward ten years, Joey wonders why he’s being denied that pay rise due to a lack of work ethic — instead he spends his time justifying to himself (and others) why he’s entitled to bigger, better things. And Tim is struggling to advance his career out of pure complacency and lack of drive, appearing as if he doesn’t care but is quietly upset and frustrated.

I personally know plenty of millennials who fit both these descriptions, and it goes without saying the negative effects this is having on our workforce, economy, standard of talent, blah blah blah.

The bottom line

The bottom line is millennials may have a mindset now, but it’s important to remember it was created before. To fix the problem, we need to cut it at the source — starting at a young age we should give credit where credit is due, recognise real achievements, and provide encouraging feedback to those who could improve.

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