We know how easy it is to name any generation and automatically think each member is an exact replica of every other member. Although certain demographic and cultural characteristics may prevail, it is unfair to the group and the individual to pigeonhole any single member. That is why I so appreciate Rebekah Bell’s essay on this subject (“The Incredible Potential of Millennials” The Kansas City Star, 8/26/13, p. A11). Bell, herself a millennial, acknowledges the blemishes among her generation:
“I know there are some in our generation who are lazy, self-entitled and indulgent.”
Every generation experiences this, correct? I think so. Bell goes on to highlight the noble character of many millennials:
“[Millennials] have published bestselling books, found cures for diseases which baffled scientists, won Heisman trophies and Olympic gold medals, founded multimillion dollar companies, and led campaigns to end modern-day slavery. The Pew Research Center defined us as ‘confident, connected and open to change.’”
I absolutely love Bell’s expression concerning the “A word”—attitude:
“Yes, we may be facing a difficult time in history but we can consciously choose to demonstrate the kind of character, conviction and courage that is necessary to carry us into a bright future.”
Her sense of taking ownership of the future and manifesting a positive attitude about the future are crucial keys. Millions of millennials have those keys. That is what will drive their success. I do not care what your situation is. Without a sense of taking ownership and without a positive attitude, you will be dead before you hit the water. Millions of millennials are planning for success and not failure and I am one of their biggest cheerleaders.
Some interesting trends are working in the millennials’ favor. Derek Thompson points out their unemployment situation is improving (“The Millennials Stimulus Plan” The Atlantic, May 2013, p. 34):
“Although unemployment among young people remains higher than the rate for any other demographic, as is usually the case, it has been steadily declining for the past few years.”
No matter how you slice it, the millennials will be driving our economy for years to come, partially just due to their group size. At 82 million members, millennials outnumber their prior generation by 8 million and the baby boomers by 5 million. This means the more successful the millennials are, the more opportunities will be available for everyone.