You’re not wrong, but you’re not right either. Your personal life experience seems to support what you already want to believe (that participation trophies are evil) and you’re right, it does, in your case. But it does not paint a complete picture that can be generalized.
Lots of people who got participation trophies are super hard workers. Lots of people who didn’t ever get a participation trophy and were pushed to work as hard as they could as kids, ended up lazy, or killed themselves. It’s more about who they are than what trophies they got.
My best friend’s little brother was the most spoiled brat you could ever imagine. His mom gave him everything and sheltered him like a china doll because he was so cute. We thought that was terrible and that it would ruin his life in the long run. He constantly skipped school and barely passed (when he passed at all). My friend was not cute and rarely got any attention. He focused on being at the top of his class and taking all the math and science courses available just to get any acknowledgement.
Long story short, my friend graduated top of his class as an engineer and got a good job where he still makes a decent average salary but hasn’t done anything worth mentioning. His little brother, after dropping out of two careers and going back to mommy, suddenly decided that he wanted to get serious studying law and now makes 7 figures on a bad year and hasn’t lost a case yet.
He never had tough lessons or anything that would mold or build his character. He just one day decided that he wanted to do something and do it well and he did.
There are lots of purposeless people in every generation and if you think this generation is “more purposeless” than previous ones, then you haven’t lived through many generations. Your father isn’t more typical of his generation than you are.