What’s Wrong with the Generation: Entitlement or the Ecosystem?

How can we try to fix it?

Photo by Simon Maage on Unsplash

Yesterday I came across a post where the author mentioned the danger of watching too many success stories, that the new generation thinks it is easy to take radical decisions and they might fall for something which looks cool at the beginning in order to be successful quickly. Like earning in lacks quickly, getting more followers quickly, getting investment for your business idea quickly, making things that can go viral quickly…

In his post, he mentioned about excessive emphasise on ‘working smarter than harder’ without understanding where to work hard and where to work smart. Does smart work eliminate the need for hard work? Doing something which you love rather than love what you are doing and the trendy one, ‘why work for others when you can work for yourself.’

I made a few hiring mistakes in the past 2 years so I instantly connected with his post to understand what this attitude speaks about and how can we do something about it. So my randomness instincts triggered me to look at what goes behind this attitude of the young generation. I am not an oldie but it’s been like 10 long years since I graduated and 8–9 years since I started working in different capacities like freelancer, contractual, full-time employee and an entrepreneur. So, I am trying to share my learnings in this post on why the young generation looks impatient and entitled.

Here I am analysing a few important pointers on why is internet filled with how can we become successful, success stories and blah blah…

Let’s understand the nature of the content:

Mostly the content out there is either aspirational or entertaining. People love watching something which will satisfy their aspirations. Will you watch a video that says, ‘What my failed startup taught me?’ or would you like to watch a video on ‘How I generated 6 figure income working 2 hours from home?’ This is the nature of headlines. Copywriting has now become clickbait which tempts us to open that video and watch it. Feels smart, isn’t it? But that’s how it is working on the internet. Many content strategists teach us how to create good headlines, how to create a piece of content that will inspire consumers to take action that leads to instant gratification.

The more I learn about Marketing, the more I am making peace with these things. The responsibility ultimately lies with the creator to be mindful about creating content. There are several amazing content creators out there who provide value to their consumers, they tell them to be consistent, be patient for getting the desired success. I can personally vouch for them as I am learning a lot from these types of creators. Then there are other types of creators who make it feel really easy to achieve results but they will tell you all kinds of success stories and hide what kind of effort their successful consumers are taking. But when you consume their content and start the process, you will soon understand that okay, this is going to take time. It is not a straightforward thing, I have to figure out so many things before I succeed. But that’s okay.. creators need a certain no. of views and create an impression in order to crack sales. Here comes the responsibility of consumers to analyse the content that they plan to consume. As a 20-year-old, is it too much to ask for? 18-year old is supposedly mature enough to vote. But our opinions are formed because of the content we consume, the social interaction we have and because of the larger ecosystem that we are a part of. Family, society, peers, teachers friends, social media, everyone has an influence on us.

Moving on, let’s try to analyse a few more things:

Our struggle with attention. Attention is one thing people are lacking today. Scrolling infinitely looks much easier than staying on one 20-min long video or completing a book. Yes, social media is responsible for that but is it right to blame social media? Partially, it may be but it has more to do with the influence and the competitive spirit that they are creating in humans. If my friend has 1000 views on her Instagram reel, I would want 2000 of them. Social media apps are designed in such a way that they become intuitive to users. When the user sees it, they instantly know what to do with it. And, they certainly make heavy use of human psychology to design their apps, emotional design. They trigger emotions in us that might not be in our control. This is why ‘human skills’ like emotional intelligence and self-awareness is becoming more and more important in the 21st Century.

So the next question is, what can we do about it?

Well, there are a couple of things that we can do about it:

  1. Try to work on our levels of attention
  2. Try to challenge ourselves for growth
  3. Try to consume content mindfully
  4. Rising Self-awareness levels

Let’s come to the first point which is working on our attention levels:

Social media platforms are fundamentally selling attention. That’s their business. Nothing wrong with it. But the user needs to reflect on why they are spending time on social media. If their feeling of social media is only derived by seeking attention, it’s a difficult state then as they will affect their creativity soon. But paying attention is hard. It requires effort. And that’s exactly where the problem lies. As a 20-year-old or a fresh graduate, I may not be able to pay attention to learning something. I will feel that I will learn this only if I get something out of it, some quick results, instant gratification. We will talk about that too. But let’s see how can we work on our attention.

If you feel that you are unable to pay attention, read this:

Jiddu Krishnamurti says in response to ‘why are we unable to sustain attention for more than a couple of mins?’

He asks to reflect on “Why do you want to sustain something all the time? Why do we need continuity? Because somebody told that attention is important or you discovered it? What is it in attention? Why is there inattention, the distraction?”

Wherever the thought moves, watch it, it will convert non-attention to attention. Thought is never static, it always moves. That is the nature of the thought. The brain has its own rhythm, the rhythm of thought.

If you make an effort, is that attention? That is practice attention. Attention can be gathered through practice and psychological training. We can really help ourselves to create this practice of attention.

“Where there is attention, there is no me.”… JK

Me gets dissolved and curiosity will induce.

Let’s come to the second point now, how can we challenge ourselves for growth?:

We get bored quickly, often. There are two reasons for that: One, we feel that the work is challenging enough or it is relatable to us. Second, we feel that the work is too complicated and it is not leading us anywhere.

But there is something interesting called ‘Flow State’. Flow state is the state when we are so engrossed in work that we lose the track of time. We get fully immersed in the task. It was defined by a positive psychologist, Mihály Csíkszentmihályi in his book Flow.

We can induce flow state of the mind consciously by doing the following:

  1. Having clearly defined goals: Goal that is not very easy to achieve and not very difficult for us to lose interest.
  2. There needs to be clear feedback: When we give feedback, it helps us to slowly shift the state of the mind to the flow state. Short-term and long-term feedback both are required.
  3. The 4% Rule: Task should be only a little difficult than we can achieve. Like if we can finish the task in 30 min, we can challenge ourselves to do it in 28 min.

There are several techniques to design work for coming into a flow state. Will talk about that sometime later. The third point I mentioned was about the mindful consumption of content. I will be writing a separate article and creating a YouTube video on that soon. As that is a topic of my interest and I can talk a lot about it.

Finally, let’s try to see how can this impact our thinking? Like, if a 20-year-old is taking radical decisions because of external influences, what exactly can be done?

Try to influence with the positive content. Spread awareness about mindful consumption of content. Nowadays, content is the kingdom we are living in.

As a teacher, mentor, and manager, try to design their path or work so that they will get into a flow state and relate to the work. Provide a purpose that they can pay attention to. It is easier said than done. It’s difficult to implement. I am still struggling with it but one thing is for sure:

Self-awareness is extremely important. Teaching self-awareness is something in our hands and it is achievable.

If we can make effort to increase our own self-awareness and spread awareness to increase self-awareness through our content, help our students, mentees and teammates to challenge themselves and understand themselves better, something can be changed for sure. It’s a difficult question to reflect on but still,

let’s try to make a positive difference, bit by bit.

Let me know in the comments what you think about it. Today, I am leaving you with two beautiful books: Flow and HBR’s Self-awareness. See you tomorrow!

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