Millennials, how would you describe yourself? Unique, Special, Talented, Creative.
Now, People over 35, how would you describe Millennials? Lazy, Entitled, Sensitive.
We've all heard insults and generalizations thrown at millennials, or people who grew up in the late 90's/early 2000's. Yes, I am a "lazy millennial" and yes, I am a 20-year-old writing un-ironically about the "problem with today's youth." Get your pitchforks/ Tumblr posts ready.
Actually, I agree with our critics. A lot of our peers are lazy, entitled, and will become "triggered" at the drop of a hat. We demand safe spaces and refuse to accept any criticism. What caused this transition from personal responsibility to blame society and hide?
Two Words; Participation Medals.
Yes, participation medals. In the last decade or so we have seen a severe decrease in competitiveness with a greater focus placed on making everyone feel like a winner. In reality, we aren't all winners, and winning takes a hell of a lot of hard work. We grew up receiving participation medals and were taught that winning isn't important, at least you tried! In reality, winning is important. Whether its in the workplace, at home, or on the field being the best is something we should all strive for, and if we are constantly told that everyone gets the same reward regardless of talent or amount of work, we expect the rest of the world to coddle us in the same way.
Life: What we expect
I'm sorry friends but none of us are special. No one is born perfect, and people are going to judge and criticize you no matter what you do. Previous generations have accepted this truth and recognized that the only way to truly succeed is to work your ass off and become the best at whatever the hell you're doing. Your success is entirely in your own hands. Didn't get the grade you wanted? Study harder. Didn't get the promotion? Put in more hours. Couldn't beat the other team? Practice every day. Now, we take every opportunity to avoid taking responsibility and place the blame on "the system" or an unfair professor. Maybe you got an F because you don't understand what a comma does, maybe you should've studied last night instead of watching Netflix. No, of course not that's ridiculous, its obviously the system that is designed to hurt you and keep you from succeeding. sigh
We are conditioned to believe we deserve something just for showing up. We do not have any reason to value hard work because we are all told how special we are from the moment we tumble out of the womb. Anytime we face adversity or any challenge, we look for the easiest way out or find a scapegoat to avoid the mere thought that we might not be good enough. The world does not bend at your feet, and your feelings do not dictate how others act. The world is harsh, the world is judging, and the world will not accept your slam poetry as currency. If you want to succeed, you have to put in the hard work, and failure is the choice to give up. No medals for showing up, no A's for effort. Just work, and results.
Hard work, and results
Of course, this doesn't represent all of us. Our generation has brought about massive improvements in human rights and cultural shifts that were unheard of just 50 years ago. We are more open minded, more accepting, and more worldly than our predecessors, but we have got to stop acting like a bunch of delicate flowers that panic when the wind blows. We need to accept personal responsibility and understand that our feelings don't matter. You will not be protected from being offended and the only safe space is locked in your room. Face the world, and don't expect it to give you any hand outs. Nothing hits harder than life - but winners know how to get back up.
You, getting back up.
Phew, that was deep.