Millennials have grown up with conflicting arguments being thrown at them.
On one hand, they are told that they are entitled. That they wouldn’t know hard work if it hit them in the face.
On the other hand, there’s so many opportunities at their fingertips. More than ever, there is so much potential to achieve an abundance of things in a short period of time. The internet and social media haven’t just opened doors, they’ve barged them all right down.
They’ve grown up being told that they can do anything, be anything. Those same people who told them that they could be anything have then chastised them for being receiving undeserved participation ribbons despite not winning (who handed those out, I wonder?).
They’ve been told to quit complaining and but also to work for free. They’re constantly told to stop buying brunches and plane tickets when buying brunches and plane tickets can ease the pain of not being able to afford a house in the city they’ve spent their whole life.
They’re just trying to find their way, without the older generations spitting in their path.
All this chastising becomes self-doubt. Those in their 20s feel like they should minimise themselves, their goals and their desires. They feel as though they should ‘get back in their box’.
But the truth is, you can achieve great things at any age, and that includes your teens, 20s and 30s. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
When he was younger, Walt Disney was told he lacked imagination and original ideas.
Stephen King was told by a professor that he was a bad writer.
Oprah was told she was unfit for television news.
Marilyn Monroe was told to be a secretary.
Charles Darwin’s father told him he was “too lazy and too dreamy”.
Thomas Edison was told he was “too stupid to learn anything”.
There can be pretty heavy consequences if someone’s confidence is knocked to the point of no return. Imagine if those people had have let the doubters and naysayers end their dreams?
I continue to see countless posts, articles, news stories and comments with people crying out, “Ugh! These twenty-somethings…”.
God forbid that these ‘ugh, twenty-somethings’ want more for themselves. They want better jobs, better opportunities, more money, more freedom.
Your twenties should be about self-development. They’re trying to work out where they fit in the world, what they’re capable of.
We should be encouraging their trials and errors. Failures and learnings. We should let them reach for the stars if they feel like they can.
Whether it’s youthful naivety and ignorance… or daring courage, who are you to say?
If they are young and unafraid to take a leap, let them work it out on their own.
If you think twenty-somethings are incapable of great things, you may have become jaded somewhere along the way. J.K. Rowling came up with the idea for Harry Potter when she was just 25. Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook at 19. Richard Branson has opened up his first record shop. Jay-Z created his record label at 27.
These people may be outliers in terms of success at an early age, but they show that anything is possible. They show that age isn’t necessarily a hinderance.
Of course, you’ll find hundreds of examples of people who didn’t achieve “success” until 30, 40, 50, 60… but all that proves is that people can achieve success at any age.
It’s also completely okay to be content enough to simply make it through the day. Life can be tough, and only you should be in charge of how you live it. At the end of the day, “success” is subjective.
So to those who criticise the twenty-somethings, I ask, what is the point?
Why do you feel the need to naysay their ambitions and goals? Is it resentment? Envy? Many twenty-somethings, contrary to popular belief, are hard-working and ambitious. They often get labelled ‘entitled’ and ‘lazy’ but those qualities are universal, and can be found in a person of any age.
As a twenty-something, you’re going to get undermined. You’re going to have your doubters. People will be condescending and belittle you. You won’t have the security blanket of seniority and the perceived wisdom that comes with age.
Don’t let these things stop you. You’re just as capable of achieving great things as anyone else. Hone into that courage and determination that can often dim with age.
Just because you’re young, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve great things. It doesn’t mean you’re not brilliant, intelligent, empathetic, passionate, kind or determined. It doesn’t mean you don’t have anything of value to say or do. You could have lived more life than many of those twice your age. You may have experienced hardships that other people couldn’t even fathom. Your imagination could come up with things that no one else ever could.
We don’t know how long we have on this earth. So make every day count, and if you want that day to be today, let it be that damn day, whether you’re 12, 25, 36 or 80. Age is but a number.