There’s a story out there that goes something like this:
Millennials, ladies and gentlemen, are fucked. The end.
There’s your intro, body, and conclusion in the span of two sentences. Rad.
And oh boy do we, as millennials, love to harp on the fact that we’re playing on uneven territory.
We’ve heard the story a thousand times over. All told, millennials:
- Can’t afford a house in most cities.
- Are deeper in debt from student loans, car payments, credit cards, and low-paying jobs.
- Are making less money because jobs skills are at an all-time low.
- Have higher unemployment rates because qualified jobs are becoming rare.
- Live with their parents because they can’t get a decent paying job.
- Can’t find their head in their ass because they’re self-entitled.
- Are addicted to social media and lack a human connection.
I’d argue that a lot of the above is true, because they aren’t opinions — they’re simply facts.
The baby boomer generation has labeled millennials as lazy, entitled, spoiled, impatient, self-centered and confused, and they’ve countered by labeling themselves empowered, fearless, wise, dreamers, and collaborators. It’s like the complete opposite.
So who’s right? Well, that isn’t the point of this article.
There’s always one theme on the list of why millennials are in trouble: they’re victims to their circumstances. If your life isn’t quite turning out how it should (or how you envisioned it) then grab a pitchfork and curse the baby boomer generation for being the annoying older sibling that just sucks.
Truth be told, the boomers have hosed millennials to some degree. They’ve passed laws that serve their interests, they’ve sucked Social Security almost dry so it’s not looking good for future generations, they’ve cut taxes for their own benefit, and they treat the environment with generally no regard. That leaves everyone after them to clean up their mess.
The baby boomer mindset generally goes something like this: Future generations? Fuck ‘em.
But for all the crap they’ve done, what makes you think you deserve the right to play victim? Because you’re a millennial?
The Problem With Shifting Blame
When stuff gets a little shakier than normal, the first reaction is one of two things these days: run from it, or try to find the easy way.
The former won’t get you very far. The latter isn’t doing you much better, either.
That’s because running from a problem or trying to find an easy way only delays the inevitable, which is actually facing your fear or finding a way through it.
People love to shift blame and lack almost all accountability. There is always some excuse or reason why something didn’t get accomplished, someone screwed you over, or you lost out on some opportunity.
Today, most of society is a community of blame shifters. And it literally does nothing for your long-term health and sanity.
Lazy Is, Lazy Does
We’re also much lazier than we admit to. Why do something today when we can put it off until tomorrow? Why be on time when we know we’ll be fine arriving late? Why go out of your way to do something for someone when it doesn’t benefit you in any way? Why work an extra hour to get ahead if we know our boss won’t notice?
Do I hear you saying “work smarter not harder”? Working smarter is a life hack to working unnecessarily hard. But the problem is the “smarter” part is taken out of context and most people equate it to mean “less” or “lazy”.
Nah, that’s not how it works.
Working isn’t a game of seeing what we can get away with, it’s a game of seeing what we can accomplish in less time.
I guess the problem is we just love our comfort in absolutely every area of our life. We live in one of the greatest nations in the world, with the most freedom to do whatever we want.
We eat when we get the slightest hunger pang, we complain when something doesn’t go exactly like we want, we turn the A/C down to 65 overnight so we can feel all warm and snuggly under our blankets, we’re stuck in relationships that we hate because it just feels familiar, and we order food for takeout because we’re too lazy to cook.
But this notion of comfort extends beyond the small daily things we do, and enters our life in all areas, including job performance and personal development. In turn, we’ve gotten pretty freakin lazy. But instead of taking accountability for our laziness, we love to blame others.
You’ve probably heard that phrase that goes something like this:
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
And most people are thinking, why would I want to be uncomfortable all the time when I work hard enough so I can enjoy a peaceful and relaxing existence?
Well, if you like mediocrity, it’s no problem at all. The problem is when you’re only mediocre and then complain about circumstances supposedly outside of your control that lend themselves to your status in life.
I’m not sure that makes much sense Mr. Mamba Jamba, but alright.
Starting to see how comfort, shifting blame, laziness, and inevitable mediocrity all seem to intertwine? It isn’t any kind of black magic fuckery. Life is somewhat of an art, as we’re able to take it in any direction we want. But there is a scientific piece to it, and there are good and bad formulas that can drive you in a number of good and bad directions.
But I think it’s important to repeat the best piece of advice: you are not a victim.
This isn’t a foolproof statement — there are times that you had no warning signs, and you got burned. There are times a situation happened to you and you had absolutely no say in the matter. I get that, and I’m not trying to discredit some of the evil that happens in this world.
Let’s put aside, temporarily, those unfortunate situations. I speak to those who’ve had control over things. Soak this in:
Where you are today is the result of the choices you’ve made in your past.
Do you accept that? Do you take accountability for your past shortcomings, lack of change, waning motivation, and everything else?
Things are generally 50/50 in life. What do I mean? When you interact with people, it’s a coin flip on how they respond; they can accept or decline what you want or said. In past relationships that didn’t work out for whatever reason (friends or lovers), half the blame is on them, but the other half is on you.
This shouldn’t be offensive. This should be empowering. You have more free will than you’d ever guess.
Probably stings to think that your life isn’t exactly where you thought it would be, or isn’t where you want it to be. But only once you realize this can you begin to implement changes in your life to make it different (and hopefully) better.
Otherwise, that twin bed at your parent’s house you grew up in might be getting some extra love.