I’m getting deeper into authoring our new book – Millennial Money – and it is fascinating and refreshing to explore the mindsets of the young adult generation regarding jobs (either career or entrepreneurial), and how they view life in general.
We know that in all phases of their lives, they desire to be a part of something greater than themselves, and to make a difference. The old paths seem stale to them—you know— grow up, go to college, get a good secure job, etc. This process seems to them like getting on a hamster wheel, going round and round with no clear space for jumping off.
The old paths, while commendable, are not always the most joyful path. One of my sons received his master’s degree from the University of Oregon in conflict resolution. He worked hard to get a job within this discipline, but really never found the opportunity. Finally, being the raised entrepreneur that he is, he launched into the franchise world and is having a blast, making a good living, and utilizing the skills he was trained in—though applied in HIS way and not necessarily the “prescribed” way.
The young adults of today are so “done”with prescribed paths “made” just for them. They prefer a buffet line of options; or even ala-cart but they must place the order themselves. I love this philosophy, and in a world where the young adults will likely work in up to seven career or entrepreneurial paths, it’s a perfect way to both gain experiences and make a difference at the same time. Creating their own future is exactly what they want to do.
I have outlined three positive ways our young adults are moving forward. We can all take some direction from them in these regards:
- Enjoy the landscape
We recently enjoyed some family time with our grandchildren in Southern California. This picture is of three cousins (two are brothers) as they contemplate the scene before them. Children take in the landscape before them with such joyful innocence. Their views are not yet too controlled by either their family or peers. They just see what they see and enjoy it. Not far behind this scene are eager parents, concerned about how low the wall is, or the bird droppings so near their hands, and just before they engage in a little fish and chips. But the three cousins enjoy the bird, the boats, the water, all flowing together in a very pleasant moment. The point I’m making is that our beloved young adults seem to have this youthful quality of enjoying the landscape before them—-for just what it is at the moment. Many of their predecessors were too distracted by their “plans” to just stop and enjoy moments. Take away the pressure of absolute plans and replace it with some flexibility and you suddenly have innovation and creativity. Am I saying that plans for life don’t include goals? No. I’m saying that in the world of young adults, the goals can be painted with broad stokes, which allow the landscape before them to be viewed without prejudice and details can be added later.
- Take it all in—without judgment
On this same trip, two cousins look out upon Disneyland and talk about the opportunities before them. They are pretty excited about the impending day, and really the only things that will get in their way are the adults. The grandparents may have to distract the adult parents just a little bit so the innocent and creative plans of these little ones can move forward.
I use this imagery as an example of how our young adults are able to cast their eyes about the world and do so in the most childlike and nonjudgmental way. What doors does this type of view open? Many—I can assure you.
- Move forward without doubt
I watched this all play out, and then their plans were sealed with a special cousin shake—officially moving their plans forward, without doubt. I heard words like “ya, let’s do it,” and then the little cousin handshake to make it official.
I believe as we recognize these three ways in which our young friends are moving forward, we would do well to learn these wonderful traits as we 1)view the positive potential in the world for us all, 2)be able to take it all in without judgement, and then 3)execute our plans without doubt.
In this process, we take the good from each other’s generations and create bridges of success for all of us.
Let’s all shake on it and just “do it.”