The Millennial Ethos

Photo by Krystle Mikaere on Unsplash

85 percent of jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet” says a report from the Institute for the Future and over 20 business and tech leaders from around the world.  2030 is almost a decade from now. 12 years to be exact. Just a blip in comparison to the 13.8 billion years physicists estimate the age of this universe to be. Technology and  Moore’s Law is exponentially changing how we live our lives in this world. It’s digitizing our industries, our professions and our values. Yet, no one truly sees what exactly is happening around us. We look but don’t see, we listen but don’t hear. In the end the Millennial generation seemingly gets blamed in every conceivable manner. Millennials are deeply misunderstood and if I had a dollar for every time I’ve read blogs and articles or segments on the 24 hr news cycle blaming millennials for the collapse of large corporations and the killing of industries or proclaiming this generation is lazy, self-absorbed, materialistic and live in their parents basement, then I would have acquired a good amount of money by now. 

Millennials want more out of life.  They value new and meaningful experiences more than anything else. They want to travel the world, experience new cultures, meet new people and are genuinely intrigued by those who are different.  As digital natives, Millennials are more connected. They consume more information that any of the generations that have come before them. Millennials are highly driven. They want to feel inspired and follow their passions. They seek what makes them feel fulfilled. They seek an electric enthusiasm to their day to day lives. What else is the point of living if you dread 90 % of your time (which is work). Millennials care about making an impact and the social good. Most importantly they value self-expression. If all this is true, one can start to see why working 30 years at the same corporate job no longer appeals to this generation. Millennials are naturally more collaborative, entrepreneurial and creative. 

With the infrastructure of the world changing constantly most millennials feel it’s outdated and running on an operating system akin to Windows 95. It’s the remnants of  top down,  prescriptive and hierarchical programming that has benefited for far too long the chosen few and places the majority of the rest into rigid boxes. This old infrastructure through which our social fabric functions is not sustainable anymore. We’re overdue for an upgrade; just like a computer fixing its glitches and adding more features for greater usability. It’s that simple. When Oxfam says the ‘World’s richest 1% get 82% of the wealth’, it’s by design and I am not surprised. We’ve tried to output this process around the world, yet the paradox remains that if every single country lived lavishly as we did in America with all her innovations, inequities and complexities, our global environments would just implode. We need another way.

Robert Kiyosaki speaks of the 4 quadrants: Employee and Self-employed, Business Owner and Investor. Kiyosaki argues that 95 percent of the world lives in the first pair ‘Employee and Self-employed‘ and receive just 5 percent of the global wealth.  Most are living, consuming  and working for “the man” while hoping to increase their standards of living through a 40 hr work week that often brings them less choices, more stress and more struggles. The other pair ‘Business Owner and Investor‘ make up only 5 percent of the world’s population but receive 95 percent of the global wealth. Kiyosaki says these people are producers and creators and by that fact this often affords them more freedom and prosperity in their lives. We start to see that the DNA of our societies conspires always to integrate us within needed boxes, economic and professional cones rooted in the first pair.  Access to the other pair is hard. And to make matters worse, its gets increasingly hard to reach depending on the color of your skin, your gender and even the location you are born. To iterate this again, we need a new way and believe it or not I’m willing to bet on this Millennial generation to find that way. They just might hold the needed confidence and incredible creative power to pave the way for something new and break down those boundaries. Millennials have outgrown the clothes society has given them and now more than ever they are ready and hungry to move into the wealth creation mindset over the passive consumer one. 

I am often reminded of the TED Talk ‘Do Schools Kills Creativity?’, specifically the example Sir Ken Robinson gives of the 8 year old girl who could not sit down or focus in her classroom. She was always fidgety. She would often disturb the class and not turn in her homework. This little girl was eventually diagnosed with a learning disorder they claimed was ADHD. Her worried mother went to see a specialist. Halfway into their meeting, the specialist says to the little girl that he needs a moment outside with her mother. As he left the room the specialist turned on the radio to let the music flow loudly and told her mother outside to watch happens next. As soon as the music played the 8 year old girl got on her feet and moved to the beat of the song with her gifted rhythms. The specialist told the mother the reason her daughter could not sit still is because she’s a dancer. This same 8-year old girl who naturally spoke with her feet and movements is Gillian Lynn Sir Ken Robinson mentions. Gillian went on to influence the dance world in profound ways and became a multi-millionaire by following her gifts and passion. Similarly, many others across industries have become Pioneers by staying true to their obsessions and vocational callings.   

What if somebody had medicated her? Told her to be quiet? To stay calm and conform? To stay in her lane and her box? This is what the world has done. It has tamed all of us at great consequence. Millennials are not having any of it. Albert Einstein said it best, “If you judge a fish by its ability to fly, its going to think every day that it is stupid.”  I could not agree more. This is happening to so many people.  Corporations and industries are collapsing and morphing not because of Millennials but because their top-down approach no longer meet the needs of their employees in a fair and equitable way. They aren’t  adapting properly to how people have changed since the advance of technology and this new digital economy. 

How can one capture the Ethos of Millennials and help drive innovation in this changing world forward? It’s simple, follow what excites you the most and create unabashedly on your own terms. Take the risk, collaborate, experiment, fail forward and try again. The time is now to follow that fire which you can’t stop thinking about. That gut feeling that pulls your spirit up. For those who have not figured out yet, take more risks. Try many new things. Put yourself in uncomfortable work. Fully journey to discover what you like and what you don’t enjoy, do it fast, so that you can discover your gifts early on and can further develop them.  Mooji says “Step into the fires of self discovery, this fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not.” 

If you want to help define a better future and play a role in inventing these jobs that don’t exist yet, these new companies, industries, collaborative and digital processes, whomever you are, see and hear deeply this millennial generation’s calling, for they are well on their way.  

Originally Published on Millennial Complex

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Technological Tsunami of the Future

I remember hearing the story of a young boy from a developing country who had deemed Google as his father. He had grown up with a curious mind living in this 21st century and out of the many questions he would ask, his own father could not answer. Maybe it was about space exploration, quantum computing or most likely questions about the next gaming system, an exciting e-book or the history of a country  somewhere in this planet he had heard of at school, who knows… but Google could provide him with answers not even his own biological father could.

What about the story of an African-American men in New York City who was wrongly convicted of a crime and jailed for more than 20 years. After his release he walked on the streets of Time Square for the first time in a while, he quickly noticed that things had deeply changed but the most drastic of theses changes he felt came from the people walking all around him. “They all had headphones in their ears” he said while he continued to say “their faces always planted downward unto their phones“. This black man felt less human connections today then when he was free in the 90s.

How do we start to notice more of these changes and the impact it can have on us as an individual and on our society? Technology is changing the entire face of this planet especially our interactions as a human species. The next 15 to 40 yrs. many industries and how we will live our day-to-day life will drastically change and I believe our societies will almost be unrecognizable and our children’s children will live in a completely different world. I am not entirely sure if people know to full extent of this technological tsunami that is arriving at our shores or whether we are prepared for it.

I am not just talking about artificial intelligence and automation, I am talking about how we travel around and to different cities, space travel throughout the solar system, how social movements occur, how we eat food, how we read and watch movies, how we shop and buy goods and services, how we send messages and communicate with each other and our loved ones, how we teach our kids, how we perceive those who are different than us, how we do business in this world and most importantly how we see ourselves.

Just last week I heard someone saying that using a normal TV remote control with buttons is a thing of the past, more so from the stone age while I didn’t realize that voice control and recognition remotes are now readily being used by many cable and television companies today and is taking the industry by storm. I often don’t really watch television as much with the realization that time is only currency, though I wondered when ‘this’ in the remote became a thing, when this small technological change occurred without me even noticing. I think this is exactly what is happening to us as a human species. We are so enthralled by the mundane and noise of what the world asks us to do and believe in as a result we remain unaware of the cosmic technological changes that are set to happen or that has already been taking place.

We also have to notice that all this noise is distracting us from ever finding out what our true purpose is, why we are here on this planet and why do we wake up every single day and continue on and on. By noticing these technological changes on a much more subtle way and the impact they can have on us we can begin to take back power, agency and most importantly be a driver of innovation rather than being a consumer and passive player in this world. The old architecture that has defined most industries and global structures is collapsing and transforming into something different as we speak.

So take your surfboard, build your boat (your art, your dreams, your business) and do what ever it takes to understand this shift that is occurring in our world because it is not going anywhere. It is only the beginning.