“Millenials”, understandably known as “ Generation Y” , “The Global generation” or if you like; “Generation Me” (considerably applied toindividuals who reached adulthood around the turn of the 21st Century)are according to Psychologist Jean Twenge described as: MoreConfident, Assertive, Entitled – and More Miserable Than Ever Before.
Yet another survey conducted by the American Psychological Association,Millennials were reported to have an unhealthy amount of stress, whichkeeps getting on the rise! The big question is “Why are Millennials sostressed out”? What is it with the youthful age that has slowly turned to aspin-ball of compulsiveness to get it right, and prove oneself as sociallyand materially ‘perfect’, thereby mounting an unwanted stress whicheventually leans into depression? Are we misusing our freedom of youthor missing out on it entirely?
The enormous pressure on youths to live up to societal standard andoutperform their peers, has revealed an alarming obsession towardperfectionism; the result of which is living with extreme anxiety, especiallywhen the plans don’t seem to follow and it seems like life is passing usby. Perhaps, to address an issue, it is safe to look at it from some of it’s“triggers”: Social Media Influence, Pattern Pressure, Time famine,Idolization, Success from a one-sided story, Ignorance.
SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCE
Today’s digital era is an electronics-filled, increasingly online, fast-pacedand highly socially-networked world of humans and technology has formedour state of livelihood by mere online public presence. Whilst we cantruthfully say that social media without doubt creates endless networkingpossibilities, broadens social connections and provides an accessibleplatform learn technical skills and amass knowledge and information fromacross the world, its risks cannot be overlooked.
The susceptibility of youths on social media stems from the fact that moreof their time is being spent online which makes them the most vulnerabletowards to peer pressure and emotional distress, of if you likepsychological dissatisfaction. The real malady here is that comparisonsset in and one is forced to clearly compare their lives with those they thinkare doing better than them. Nearly everything seen online today, somehowgets imitated by the youths who are quick to bow to the pressure ofproving to the world that they are not left behind.
The irony however is that the long hours exhausted online to keep up withthe lives of others on social media can be channeled to real productiveactivities (both online and in real life) which can essentially earn one anactual living and provide financial resources needed to live a more contentlife.
Youths are now evaluated in a host of new ways and consequently, theyhave become caught up in the web of extreme pressure to fit in the box ofsocial norms, expectations, and societal definitions of success, genderstereotypes and various labels of lifestyles.
So, we rank the scale of necessary accomplishments from bagging a list ofdegrees, to building a personal brand to monetize our hobbies and skills, toacquiring all the luxury we can, and as quickly as we can because “Time is money” and the flames of the “hustle” only burns at our youth so we bettersecure the bag before time passes us by! So, one job becomes definitelyinsufficient. After all, the key to wealth is said to come from generatingpassive income streams. And not forgetting, the wedding bells won’t wait solong to chime because time, family and society are concerned!
We are under more pressure than ever to reach some kind of state ofperfection and with societal expectations being such a big part of our lives,we’re constantly searching for the perfect way to live and behave in orderto meet the expectations of a perfect life.
The twist: Some may wake up early to the acceptance that they wouldrather be themselves, and embrace their imperfections, than live in thefalsity of societal stereotypes or expectations. However, many will remaintrapped in a state of denial, and continue to wrestle with an unreachablepedestal of perfection in which society has placed before them.
This is a name coined by researchers whose studies have proved thatyouth suffer the psychological breakdown of the idea that they don’t haveenough time to achieve their dreams. Consequently, such feeling is said toincrease stress and diminish life satisfaction. Self content, patience andacceptance of one’s own pace in their journey can be powerfully uplifting,much more than the satisfaction money can give. Studies prove that self-contentment also improves not just personal well-being and happiness, butalso physical health and civic involvement.
Amidst the confusion of youths today in the chase for perfect lives is thehyper-youth-obsessed-culture of idolizing famous icons / stars. Every otherday, the media carries news of famous and successful individuals whohave reached their state of prime and are living a life of luxury and comfort,much more than any youth in their early beginning could ever dream of.
More intriguing is that success is no longer age-bound as a lot ofyoungsters have become successful billionaires and built their ownempires. We take a look at the likes of Kylie Jenner who at 21 years of agehas an estimated net worth of $350 million and Justin Beiber who at 24years of age has an estimated net worth of $265 Million.
There’s a tidal wave of getting rich and famous and social media does aperfect job of telling us that everyone making it is out-achieving us! So, wemove from being inspired by successful icons to actually idolizing them andfeeding off their achievements, because we can’t help but measureourselves by their success. Reality hits when we realize that we havebarely gotten started and it may take forever to achieve the LIFE!
“SUCCESS” FROM A ONE-SIDED STORY
The DANGER OF A ONE-SIDED STORY is that it fails to create a properbalance needed by garnering the right knowledge from all point of view. Or,as writer Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie puts it: “The single story createsstereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue,but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”A one-sided success story is unfortunately the result of over idolizing thepublic image and success of others, and failing to understand the entirejourney.
Once our minds become programmed to only see the glamorous and over-glorified life of a successful person, it is creates a mirage of falseflawlessness of success and returns to us with a harsh self-criticism forfailing to become like what we see. These Irrational ideals of the “perfectself” have become so desirable and especially hard to combat in a worldwhere public image defines a person’s value and usefulness to themselvesand society.
In reality, not every successful person’s story is inspiration-worthy, and forthe ones that are, we need to change the single-minded narrative to beable to understand that everyone has their own unique life journey’s and itdoesn’t matter if you’re only getting started. All that matters is actuallybeginning! Go in the direction that your dream steers in; go ahead andbegin wether you fail or not, begin wether you think you’re on the right pathor not, you may leave that all that realization for later, because by then youcould never know wether it’s right or wrong if you never begin.
It’s a hard-hitting daunting truth that even though we enjoy the luxury of adigital age, we’re undoubtedly still in an age of IGNORANCE.
We have highly passionate, boisterous, passionate, and energetic youthswho are capable nation builders, but these qualities have been defaced bycontinuously excusing the responsibilities that come with hard work. Youthsobsession with “The Good Life” and the high amount of pressure to achieveit have stirred so much impatience. Time has become such an expensivecommodity to be invested in acquiring knowledge when it can be spent onshorter cuts that lead to an equally short-lived success story, or otherwisea complete tragedy.
Perhaps, it’s not the life youths don’t live yet that puts them underpressure, but the life they just won’t have (without working so hard for it), and they know it, so there’s twice the pressure to take it by force! Millennials now think; “If I don’t get what I need now, I might never have it”.