For the sake of clarity I want to define the Millennial group of which I speak as the generation of people largely being born between approximately 1982 and 1997, give or take. You know who they are. They are the often times impatient, entitled, and lazy generation that largely grew up this way through no real fault of their own.
As a disclaimer, of course not everyone born to this generation exhibits these same characteristics, including most of my kids, but on the whole this does seem to encompass a majority of them. Further, even the Millennial generation themselves know and understand this.
My wife teaches at the local college here and recently asked what the perception of the Millennial generation was to her Millennial-filled class. Their responses were very interesting and confirmed even by their own admissions the negative perceptions that most folks have of a generation that is unfocused, lazy, entitled, and demanding of instant gratification.
Simon Sinek is a motivational speaker and he spoke on the topic of Millennials in his presentation entitled, "This is why you don't SUCCEED!". He brought some interesting insights as to the perceptions, causes, and possible solutions to help the Millennial generation overcome the negative stereotypical perceptions that many older generations have of them. I found the video to be quite interesting accordingly.
Mr. Sinek in particular lists four main reasons why many Millennials behave as they do:
1. Their parents had bad parenting strategies in raising them. This is very true of the "participation trophy" and build the artificial self esteem strategies of the Millenials' parents.
2. An overwhelming obsession with technology and social media. This is true, as when one wanders out in public, seldom do you see a Millennial not walking with his or her eyes glued to their phone. Their relationships are typically shallow and superficial as they look to see how many followers and "likes" they have as a means of determining their self worth and social value.
3. Impatience. Most Millennials have been raised to believe that they can do anything and that they should expect it without hesitation accordingly. They thus don't want to have to work hard and pay their dues over time to reach a given summit. They live in a world where instant gratification is required, otherwise, they are likely to turn elsewhere for easier temporary fulfillment, even in personal relationships.
4. Environment. I am not sure I buy this point of Mr. Sinek's as much, but even our corporate environments cause Millennials to be discouraged as they feel they are not making a difference in their jobs.
Now I know many Millennials that do not fall into the stereotypical generation's characteristics. Indeed, most of the Millennials that do exhibit the typical characteristics for which their generation are often known, do so through no fault of their own, at leaset initially. Perhaps though, we can help correct some of these negative characteristics as a society by helping the Millennials in our lives to reflect with some deeper introspection as to why they do as they do so that they might understand how to change things for the better, if they wish.
It is something my wife and I do with our own grown Millennial kids now, and she does with her college students. The Millennial generation has unbound talent and ideas to offer. It is our job as parents and teachers to try and help them do so. Mr. Sinek's presentation is a good way to start this conversation.