The realisation of not being “that great”

A couple of weeks back, I watched a YouTube video addressing whether today’s youth really is lazier than past generations, as some older than us claim. A point that was made was that we’re growing up in a time where we really don’t need to work as hard as they did back in the day. Indeed, one could argue that today’s education system has a much larger negative affect on us, the teenagers, but when comparing the work environments and conditions it’s clear we’re better off now.

For example, there have been made laws and rights to ensure a safe workplace where one is being treated fairly (in terms of for example the age of the employee as well as the number of working hours per week). In some countries, such as Norway, there are even organisations you can head to if any financial problems occur through unemployment.

Our lives and our perceptions of security differ widely from people’s back in the day. Most of us (in western countries) have a pretty solid foundation — Ultimately, we don’t really need to stress. At least not as much as in the mid 19-hundreds, when the people (employees) had to build up the country and try and recover from war and poor forms of governance. Nothing was guaranteed, and the fear of not making any progress worked as an excellent motivation, making past generations generally “harder workers”.

Another topic touched upon in the video, was that we don’t have to strive as much to fulfil a sense of success, or rather the hopes and expectations of our own success. This generation, for some reason, has from an early age been told that we are special. We are strong, we are determined, and we can make our dreams come true (and then with a little bit of “through hard work” thrown in there).

Not just that, but we constantly see new people popping up in the media, becoming famous for, well, basically doing nothing. Even if some may do work their bum’s off, it’s been a growing trend not to show it. #Iwokeuplikethis #blessed, making an impression on young kids today that in order to succeed, one just has to naturally be special. Which we are told we are from day 1 anyway. Basically, we’re made to think we in many cases don’t even NEED to work hard.

Naturally, this has a negative effect on us, because we are bound to one day realise that it takes more than your mum telling you that you’re special and can succeed, to actually BE special and DO succeed. This hitting us may be one of the reasons why depression is rising in today’s youth. Of course, we can’t ONLY blame our parents. The way society has progressed with a wider focus on more “superficial achievements” (if one could call it that) in the media, also doesn’t help how we feel about ourselves.

“You’re special.” → “You either have it, or you don’t.” → (In most cases,) “Jk, you don’t.”

Which leads me to my personal experience with this “issue”: Growing up, I’ve had a few things I’ve viewed as my “strengths”. These include writing, public speaking, debating, taking part in discussions, my maturity, my passion for the English language, my ability to reflect on things and my “philosophical mind”, according to my beloved parents.

In recent years, my feelings towards these “strengths” have changed drastically. It has come to my attention that quite frankly, put into perspective, I think it’s safe to say it turns out I kind of quite SUCK at those things. — And I’m not going to lie, it has really bummed me out at times. I’ve always been told that’s what I’m good at.

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe it is important that kids are encouraged to do things. Without the encouragement from parents and others, and without any kind of confidence in ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to develop various abilities and skills. It may just be the case that the need for hard work in order to develop these abilities has slowly been forgotten a little bit, or has decreased in importance in our understanding of it.

So for me not to sit there, bummed out, feeling bad about myself thinking “I was never actually good at anything and I suck and I’m completely worthless” etc etc, I need to enter this mindset:

What my parents have encouraged me to do and said I was good at, has so far been at the level of a child/young teenager. In perspective, it has only really been what I have had and (hopefully still) do have the potential to actually become fairly good at later in life. This only if I work to make further progress within those areas of interest. Soon entering my 16th year, I believe it is time to start working for these things.

Entering this mindset, I think the “I suck at everything”-attitude fades due to it sounding like something a grumpy person who feels sorry for themselves would say, which I don’t think anyone really wants to be. I also find it very encouraging.

I think that’s the key. Growing up, you later realise you actually DO need to work to be special and successful. Rather than accepting your own personal opinion of you sucking and never being able to do anything because you so far haven’t actually worked that hard to improve, you need to find that encouragement within yourself. Understanding that (in most cases), all hope isn’t gone.

You truly can start from nothing and through hard work reach the point where you want to be. It ALL starts with you. You just need to believe in yourself (which if you don’t, that’s also something you can start from nothing and work towards. Don’t be that grumpy person who feels sorry for themselves and sits there without getting anything done).

So yeah, we may not be “that great” — but use that as a motivation, because we definitely can be!