This post is inspired by the millennials around me (including myself) and validated by an unexpectedly profound book called “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck.”
Many of us have read this book and many others have heard about it, but let me just say this – if you have to read just one book in your life, then it must be The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck. Manson may not have used the most sophisticated vocabulary but he definitely struck a chord with some of his concepts. This book may change your life.
While the book focused on something quite different, it also confirmed some of my observations about young people today. So if you are under 40 can relate to any of the traits below, then you’re probably an entitled millennial. Which means internal happiness, satisfaction and fulfilment may evade you for ever.
Needless to say, there are all kinds of millennials with different cultures and personalities, but there’s also a vast majority that falls in the entitled category. That’s the one I’m talking about.
Millennials are impatient
Starting early childhood and extending way into adulthood, impatience is the core of an entitled individual. I know impatient 8-year-olds and I know impatient 26-year-olds. The term instant gratification has been floating around when describing young individuals for a while now. Instant gratification is when you want to experience any kind of pleasure or fulfilment without any delay.
“Craving a shawarma” *click click* – Uber Eats at your doorstep.
“Let’s go see this new place in town” *click click” – Careem at your doorstep.
“Need retail therapy to uplift my mood” *click click* – Same day delivery at Souq.
The concept of waiting to satisfy your desires is becoming obsolete. In the name of technology, we are creating (or becoming) a generation of impatient animals, if I may, who have absolutely no control over their desires. My examples may be a bit silly, but this also applies to our personal and professional lives. Expecting positive outcome without putting in the hard work is the way to be for us.
Millennials have an incessant need to be right
Since when did being right about everything become a measure of intelligence, popularity or influence I do not know.
Millennials (including myself sometimes) take pride in the fact that they’ve read enough about a topic and can engage in debates. They form opinions through their research and present well backed-up arguments that others may find difficult to challenge. This absolute surety in some cases becomes their basis of evaluating their self-worth. Yes, the internet has given all of us access to this information and some put it to much better use than the others, but it is NOT humanly possible to know everything about something.
As Mark Manson coherently put in his book, “people who base their self-worth on being right about everything prevent themselves from learning from their mistakes. They lack the ability to take on new perspectives and empathize with others. They close themselves off to new and important information.” And folks that get a high on being right struggle a lot when their beliefs and ideas fail them in their own lives.
Millennials are self-obsessed
Self-obsession or narcissism is not always positive, it’s just always about me. Narcissists idolize themselves on a good day and victimize themselves on a bad day. This is called self-aggrandizing vs others-aggrandizing according to Mark Manson.
When this kind of aggrandizing happens, people fail to remember that they are not unique in their happiness or problems; Most of us know it but we still find it difficult to accept that good and bad shit happens to everyone. It just so happens that we are so self-absorbed we don’t realize millions of people before us have been through the same exact things we are going through right now and millions after us will go through as well.
So yes, “the world doesn’t revolve around [any of] you.”
Millennials tend to be non-committal
Not just in relationships. Of course that is happening, but I also mean generally with good habits, resolutions, promises.
We are such a distracted generation we spit words like vomit. Making promises that we are incapable of keeping, starting things that we are too lazy to follow through, buying things that we don’t intend to keep for long, but doing it anyway.
Relationships, which are much more complex, are also a joke with our generation. The most #popular advice for anyone going through a difficult phase with a loved one is to “let go of all the toxic people. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life” instead of “communicate with them in a language they understand.”
Some people respond to logic, some respond to emotions, some respond to ultimatums, but human beings do respond to stimuli. Therefore, committing to a human being involves understanding what they respond to and talking to them in that language. Commitment to anything is not that hard if you can commit to communication. But no, you would rather let go of all the negative vibes and move on. Unstoppable.
Millennials are more superficial and materialistic
Does retail therapy fix a bad day for you? Is driving a pricey car representative of status for you? Do you (positively or negatively) evaluate people based on their appearances or material possessions on a daily basis?
Millennials tend to measure their own and others’ self-worth using things that don’t last – money, cars, house. It is no longer about what kind of a person someone is, but about the things they own. There is no point denying that we all do it (unconscious bias is real). But millennials are the best at that. What’s worse is that they are living in such a thick bubble, they don’t realize humans (including themselves) are a lot more than what they own.
Yes, with all the amazing things the world has to offer, we want to indulge every now and then. We may find happiness in a tub of ice cream or a new pair of luxury shoes, but only those wants make a pretty shallow life.
Whatever happened to finding happiness in looking outside the window while on the metro?
According to another book that I’m reading (Quiet by Susan Cain), when the world moved from a Culture of Character (hardworking, honest, kind) to a Culture of Personality (social, team player, charismatic) in the early ’20s, people started valuing what appears more than what is within. So not only do we judge people by the clothes they wear or the car they drive, but also on how likeable their personalities are.
With years of exposure and some evolution, I think people today only use the external traits as a measure of a person’s worth. Their goodness of character and values is secondary.
Millennials think they need to be positive all the time
Much of this comes from our need to share the best moments of our lives online. Nobody likes to share or see negative experiences (or the reality) of life on their newsfeeds. So even if I’m going through a difficult phase (as we all do because we are humans and real life has both yin and yan), I would rather #throwback to my good times on Instagram because my life needs to be positive, happy, pretty and perfect when it goes online.
Unfortunately, we are a generation so deluded that our online lives have taken over our real lives. We’ve subconsciously started comparing our real, ordinary lives with the flashy highlights of other people’s lives. How is it that my blogger friend always manages to look perfect, wear the right clothes and be at the funnest places all the time?
It may sound like common sense when I say it but not many people remember this when they scroll through their newsfeeds.
Millennials tend to avoid responsibility
Entitled millennials are also growing up to be more responsibility-averse in all walks of life. If they are pushed into positions of responsibility, they find it hard to take control of their lives and its challenges. Entitled millennials also prefer to stay at their parents’ homes, live off pocket-money and delay “adulting” for as long as possible. Higher standards of living, lack of commitment, and the increase in individuality are making late marriages and fewer children more common.
Based on these signs I think 100% of us are entitled in some form or another. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is that we are trying to be less self-absorbed and more self-aware to consciously control our sense of entitlement from dictating our lives.
And not to mention…
Despite our setbacks, we are part of a smarter, more driven generation that cares about making an impact. All we need to do is channel it in the right direction.