Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Millennial Mystery

If you're born between 1990 and 2000, you're a Millennial. If you're born before 1990, you're not. Sorry, but you're not. You're classified as old school. The quicker you deal with it, the better :-) The reason why I say "mystery" is because those of us over 30 need to catch a wake up if we want to be relevant to this generation. They are light years ahead of us when we were that age. Their world now and the world we lived in when we were 18 are two different worlds. Two different galaxies, actually. If you're wanting to 'reach them' in whatever capacity i.e. business, ministry, relational, you'd better be up to speed on four Millennial traits.

Firstly, they are incredibly tech savvy. They're on all platforms and they have a mapped out purpose for at least two of them. They have accounts on the rest so they can appear relevant to their peers and so that they don't miss out on who's doing what where. Being in 'the know' and 'up to date with the latest news' is a big driver for them. And this isn't just with their peers, frienemies and celebrities....but their trolls aswell. They want to be informed. Of. Everything. 

They realize they have a voice. And they want their opinions to be considered. They blog, post, and they not afraid to disagree with anyone. Bill Gates. Kim Kardashian. Caitlyn Jenner. "Who cares who they are? I have an opinion and I'll disagree if I feel differently. Because I can." It's because of this, that millennials are a more confident generation than ever before. They've crossed the shy barrier and they've expressed their differences. Even if it's only on Facebook. 

Like it or not, Millennial, but you are also the "I Want It Now" Generation. Instant gratification is what you've grown up with and its what you know. You've been brainwashed, unfortunately. And it's our fault. Life...REAL not about instant gratification. It's an illusion. Your parents and the society you live in has done you a disservice by ingraining this belief into you. Did you know that a millennial gets an average of 52 'notifications' a day i.e. emails, Whatsapps, Social Media likes, Blog comments. That's around one reply/comment/thumbs up to something they've said on Twitter, to a photo they've posted on Instagram or a blog they've written, every 30 MINUTES!!! They post on social media in order to generate a response. And they get it. Very quickly! Millennials are results driven. If they don't get a reponse or a desired result within a prescribed time frame, they will move on to something else. 'Take your time' is not part of their vocabulary. It's not part of their makeup. When I was young, we were taught the value of sticking to something, through the good and bad, in order to get to your desired result. Not a millennial. The hard work that a Marriage needs is foreign language to them. They don't understand that. If it doesn't work, move on. "Why live and be unhappy, bro?" Sticking at a job, build the blocks necessary, make sacrifices and climb up the ladder over time is stupid thinking to a millennial. You want to be the CEO? Start your own company! The only sacrifice they willing to make is sleep, so that they can live harder and make more money! 

Millennials are lonely. Because they can literally live and exist in their flat with their iPad, they don't need to socialize, in person. And this is why a guy my age (and I'm only 36) can see through the facade of 'social media'. It's not social at all. Many Millennials' identity is wrapped up in what others think of their opinions on Facebook. They measure their likability but how many 'likes' they get on a quote they posted 29 minutes ago. They quick to respond to a disagreement on their blog post but have little idea on how to do it while sitting around a meal. Facebook may say they have 1248 friends, but they still go to the movies alone. What this generation is lacking is that only few of them know what it feels like to belong. Belonging to something that only happens when practicing real socializing. Face to face interaction and building relationships over a long time. Millennials are being robbed of this human need. We all need to belong to something. To someone. And it can't come from online shopping or social media chat rooms. 

Make no mistake, Millennials are smart and they know a lot. They are the most informed and knowledgable generation ever. They can hold conversations and have intelegable arguments over a host of social ills and injustices. They have strong opinions and they are gifted in communicating these opinions. They're adventurous and they not afraid to work hard when the time calls for it. But they want results and they expect things to be done quickly, and they make no apology for it. But they need the over 30's. They need us to show them the value of time. They need us to interact over the supper table. They need friends, flesh and blood friends. They need to feel valued. They want to belong.


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