Twenty somethings lazy? According to various sources such as the Washington Post and other polls, that answer is sadly and definitively yes. A recent report conducted by the Pew Research Center displayed how generation Y as well as each of the older generations generally viewed themselves. The top troubling statistic? The fact that Generation Y is the first generation that has taken the poll to not have cited “work ethic” as one of their top defining characteristics. What the top 5 did tell me is that what we view as important is diverting our focus from what has made great men great for every generation up to this point: hard work, respect, and a core belief system (aka, integrity).
Don’t believe me? The top 5 characteristics that the average Millennial defined themselves as having were: Technology (24%), Music and Pop Culture (11%), Liberal Politics/Tolerance (7%), Fashion (5%), and only 4% said they were “Smarter”. Believe it or not, the fact that touting knowledge of music & pop culture, and fashion ranked over those considering themselves smarter is embarrassing. To add insult to injury, the top 5 of the previous generation, X, shows just how far the priorities are out of order. Rounding out Generation X’s, top five are: technology, work ethic, having traditional or conservative values, intellect, and being respectful. What this tells me is that not only are we collectively heading in the wrong direction, we are systematically making it more difficult for future generations to succeed. As unfortunate as this situation is, I think a lot of our troubles could be solved with a little bit of old fashioned mentoring and know how.
My brother and I have were in conversation recently where he stated that most people these days want the wealth and nice lifestyle as much as previous generations, the only difference is that they are either unwilling, or unaware of the price that must be paid for such a privilege. It is that latter that I believe is what is causing the “Laziness” in the current generation. Because of this, I think it’s not necessarily that Generation Y should be labeled “Lazy” per say, but more “unenlightened” on what the price of success really is. One of my favorite phrases my brother uses is “People try to pay $5 for a ticket to success, when they don’t know is that the price of that ticket is really $20.”
For those that consider themselves ambitious and are especially in the age range of 20-29, I suggest three things. First, find a mentor in an older generation that you feel comfortable with being told the good, bad, and ugly truths about your situation and your path to success. Second, reading is of the utmost importance, especially if you aren’t able to locate a mentor. Reading books from those who have been where you are wishing to venture is a good way to get a good grasp of what a blueprint of success looks like from the ground up. Lastly, you have to be open and willing to be honest with yourself about the advice that you are given by others that have your best interest in mind and from the good advice you read. Take it to heart and put genuine effort to reverse your own personal trend of putting the “Y” in Lazy and rather putting it into Busy…