I’m embarrassed to be writing this.
I’m embarrassed for our generation.
While I think there’s so much energy to be found in the millennial generation, I would argue that much of that energy is wasted on really bad choices stemming from wrong ideas of the world. Why would anyone embrace a wrong idea? The answer is, no one really knowingly embraces a wrong idea. We embrace wrong ideas we think are right. Why? Because we don’t filter ideas based on rational principles but on resonance, which is how the idea feels to us. We take our thoughts in like a good drink: Did it go down smooth? But the most important ideas we will ever have won’t start smooth. On the contrary, they will be the ones that require wresting, doubting, questioning, criticizing, and honest reflection. It will require the very humble admission that I can be and many times am wrong, that how I feel about a topic doesn’t make it true, and it’s very possible that many things I feel to be true are actually not.
An example of how I reveal our weird thinking is with a few simple questions I like to ask in workshops: Does everyone deserve success? Does everyone deserve a house? Does everyone deserve security? Very quickly the answer of the crowd is always a loud “Yes!” I follow this up with explaining the definition of success, which is, the fulfillment of one’s goals. Then I ask, “If everyone deserves success, let’s say it is the goal of a man to have abs, does he deserve those abs?” I always see looks of confusion. “When we say someone ‘deserves’ something, we mean they have the right to have it. It means they should be able to claim this right from society, from the government, or from God or some higher power. Can this man claim his abs?” Of course the answer is no. Six packs are not deserved rights. They are earned muscles. There are body fat% conditions that have to be met in order for a person to have abs. That’s not unfair. That’s how bodies work. “Do people deserve to have a house?” I ask again, and once again I hear yes a lot. “Ok, what kind of house does everyone deserve? What kind of house do you deserve? A big house? A small house? A house with a pool? With air conditioning? With fiber internet? What house does your seat mate deserve?” This always causes some inner conflict because we like to believe that people deserve good things. That idea goes down smooth. But the rough reality is that we don’t deserve good things, we enjoy the good things we earned or were gifted. While I wish everyone had a decent place to live (why do you think I’ve been active with Habitat for Humanity), the truth is these structures don’t just magically sprout from nowhere because someone, or even millions of people, believed they deserved one. They are resourced, planned, built. Finally, does everyone deserve security? Again the answer is a resounding yes. Then I ask, “Does someone who abuses his or her body with sugar and bad habits deserve the same the same peace of mind and healthy disposition as someone who practices health principles? Of course not. Does someone who chooses to do reckless things and do risky things deserve the same security as someone who shows more prudence? Of course not. If they did, wouldn’t it be unfair that deserving and undeserving got the same thing?” In all examples, I prove one thing: What we think are rights or things we deserve are actually earned achievements. Security, a house, and success are all achievements that are enjoyed when the principles that lead to these achievements are fulfilled. They are not rights we deserve automatically.
To believe otherwise is to believe that people should receive what they don’t deserve. To believe that is not to believe in a just and fair world.
Entitlement is believing something is deserved without paying the necessary cost. This is the fundamental flaw in our generations thinking that reveals a very prevalent immaturity.
This is why we whine and opine online, why we cry at the office when we fail or feel bad, and why our mothers scold our teachers for giving us low grades.
This is why we are weak.
We have so much energy but we are weak, unable to make anything more of our lives than the social media pa-cute even as we continue to mooch of our well-meanjng co-dependent parents.
How do we know we are weak?
When we are so easily stressed, we are too weak to handle responsibility. When we easily breakdown during tough situations, we are too weak to build. When we easily complain, we are too weak to address things ourselves. When we gossip or backstab, we are too weak to confront others. When we don’t stick to deliverables , we are too weak to handle commitments. When we follow the crowd, we are too weak to stand alone. When we don’t move out of home, and we are already old enough, we are too weak to fend for ourselves, and in many cases, stand independent of our parents’ decision making and resources. I can go on.
And weakness is not a virtue. It is useless. It is unattractive (at least should be). Crying in the office is not just unprofessional, it is selfish, distracting from the success of the team to deal with an individual’s feelings. You dont like your company, be part of the change or quit. Dont be the little boy crying for something better when you’re an adult with the responsibility to do something better. Complaining about your partner to your friends is weak and sows the seeds for future unfaithfulness. You are better off improving things or leaving than whining and nagging. No one wants to be with a whiner. Even the Bible says its bettee to live in the corner of a roof then be with a nagging wife. Whatever it is you don’t like you either be the change or you move away. Don’t waste a moment acting like a brat. The world isn’t perfect so don’t expect it to be. It can be better or worse depending on how we face it.
When I was being updated by the latest drama from some of our “millennials” in our company, I very quickly remembered my 3 week old son crying in his cot. My baby cries when it needs or wants something. It cries unintelligently, unable to speak or communicate effectively what it is he requires. So he cries and cries and cries. He wails (which is like a shout and a cry combined). At this stage it’s still bearable, even cute. But someday, he will be 13 (a man in my book) and learning how to communicate effectively should be a given and whining stamped out. To see an adult crying and whining or even wailing like a baby is embarrassing. Some of you are in your 20s and 30s and you still address life like my baby.
Babies cry because they’re helpless. You are not. You have a mind. Use it. How can anyone with a college degree have graduated without knowing how to interact in uncomfortable relationships? What are we teaching? What are we learning? Unless you are a helpless baby, stop whining and help yourself. If you’re a parent stop raising brats thinking you’re being supportive. You’re raising a weak person who responds to life like my 3 week old. I would be so worried to work for or with someone who acts like my 3 week old. I would be dumb to do so. Same for marriage or any other partnership. I would be very stupid to connect my success to an adult who acts like my 3 week old.
In one of my talks, some people asked if I was open to being their life coach. I told them, “I don’t think most people need a life coach. I think most people need a life.” While some may take offense at such an answer (it does not go down smooth), I maintain that coaching only works for people with a life purpose (something to coach towards) and life skills (basic attitudes and abilities to navigate life). It is impossible to improve the performance of anyone who does not have clear goals or lacks basic adult skills. In a world that seems to have growing up and #adulting issues, be different. To grow up doesn’t mean boring and stern. That’s being boring and stern. To grow up, to mature, means to commit to your responsibilities and purpose, to develop the attitudes and abilities needed to meet the requirements of your responsibilities and purpose, and achieve the results you desire, not because you think you deserve them, but because you fulfilled the principles they require. That is not just not boring, it is incredibly necessary.
To all the brats of my generation (I describe you above), grow up and get a life. This may not go down smooth but this is much more than whisky. It is wisdom. #db