What’s the millennial question?
Apparently Millennials, as a generation – which is a group of people who were born approximately 1984 and after are tough to manage, and they’re accused of being entitled, and narcissistic, self-interested, unfocused, lazy. But entitled is the big one. And, because they confound leadership so much, what’s happening is leaders are asking the Millennials: “What do you want?”
And Millennials are saying: “We want to work in a place with purpose.” love that.
“We want to make an impact.” You know, whatever that means.
“We want free food, and bean bags.” And so…
Somebody articulates some sort of purpose. There’s lots of free food, and there’s bean bags, and yet for some reason, they are still not happy. And that’s because There’s a missing piece. What I’ve learned is I can break it down into four pieces, right? There are four things, four characteristics. One is parenting, the other one is technology, third is impatience, and the fourth is environment.
Because we know when you get it you get a hit a dopamine which feels good. It’s why we like it. It’s why we keep going back to it. Dopamine is the exact same chemical that makes us feel good when we smoke, when we drink, and when we gamble. In other words, It’s highly, highly addictive. Right? we have age restrictions on smoking, gambling and alcohol. And we have no age restrictions on social media and cell phones. Which is the equivalent of opening up the liquor cabinet and saying to our teenagers “Hey by the way, this adolescence thing, if it gets you down…” But that’s basically what’s happening. That’s basically what’s happening, right? That’s basically what happened. You have an entire generation that has access to an addictive numbing chemical, called dopamine, through social media and cell phones as they’re going through the high stress of adolescence.
Why is this important? Almost every alcoholic discovered alcohol when they were teenagers. When we’re very, very young the only approval we need is the approval of our parents. And as we go through adolescence we make this transition where we now need the approval of our peers. Very frustrating for our parents, very important for us. That allows us to acculturate outside of our immediate families into the broader tribe. Right? It’s a highly, highly stressful and anxious period of our lives; and we’re supposed to learn to rely on our friends.
Some people, quite by accident, discover alcohol, and numbing effects of dopamine, to help them cope with the stresses and anxieties of adolescence. Unfortunately, that becomes hardwired in their brains and, for the rest of their lives, when they suffer significant stress they will not turn to a person they will turn to the bottle. Social stress, financial stress, career stress. That’s pretty much the primary reasons why an alcoholic drinks, right?
If you’re sitting at dinner with your friends, and you’re texting somebody who’s not there That’s a problem, That’s an addiction. If you’re sitting in a meeting, with people you’re supposed to be listening to and speaking, and you put your phone on the table, face up or face down, I don’t care that sends the subconscious message to the room that “you’re just not that important to me right now.” Right? That’s what happens. And the fact that you cannot put it away, is because you are addicted. Right? If you wake up and you check your phone before you say good morning to your girlfriend, boyfriend or spouse, you have an addiction.
You don’t even have to learn and practice that skill. You don’t have to be the uncomfortable one which says “yes” when you mean “no,” and says “no” when you mean “no,” when “yes” when you… You don’t have to. Swipe right. Bang, I’m a stud!
Right? You don’t have to learn the social coping mechanisms. Everything you want you can have instantaneously. Everything you want, instant gratification. Except job satisfaction, and strength of relationships there ain’t no app for that. They are slow, meandering, uncomfortable, messy processes.
And so I keep meeting these wonderful, fantastic, idealistic,hard-working smart kids. They’ve just graduated school. They’re in their entry-level job.
And so what this young generation needs to learn is patience, that some things that really really matter like love, or job fulfillment, joy, love of life, self-confidence, a skill set, any of these things. All of these things take time. Sometimes you can expedite pieces of it, but the overall journey… is arduous and long and difficult. And if you don’t ask for help and learn that skill set you will fall off the mountain. Or you will… the worst case scenario. The worst case scenario. And we’re already seeing it. The worst case scenario is we’re seeing increase in suicide rates. We’re seeing an increase in this generation. We’re seeing increase in accidental deaths due to drug overdoses. We’re seeing more and more kids drop out of school or take leaves of absence due to depression Unheard of these are this is this is really bad.
The best case scenario. Those are all bad cases. Right? The best case scenario is you’ll have an entire population Growing up and going through life and just never really finding joy. They’ll never really find deep fulfillment in work or in life. They’ll just walk through life, and it’ll be Just, “It’s fine.” “How’s your job?” It’s fine. The same as yesterday. “How’s your relationship?” It’s fine. Like that’s the best-case scenario.
Which leads me to the fourth point which is environment, which is we’re taking this amazing group of young fantastic kids who were just dealt a bad hand, it’s no fault of their own. And we put them in corporate environments that care more about the numbers than they do about the kids. They care more about the short-term gains than the long-term life of this young human being we care more about the year than the lifetime Right?
And so we are putting them in corporate environments that aren’t helping them build their confidence. That aren’t helping them learn the skills of cooperation. That aren’t helping them overcome the challenges of a digital world and finding more balance. That isn’t helping them overcome the need to have instant gratification and teach them the joys and impact and the fulfillment you get from working hard over on something for a long time that cannot be done in a month or even in a year.
And So we’re thrusting to them in corporate environments and the worst part about it is they think it’s them. They blame themselves. They think it’s them who can’t deal and so it makes it all worse. It’s not. I’m here to tell them, It’s not them. It’s the corporations. It’s the corporate environments, it’s the total lack of good leadership in our world today. That is making them feel the way they do. They were dealt a bad hand and it’s… And I hate to say it But it’s the company’s responsibility sucks to be you like we have no choice. Right?
This is what we got and I wish that society and their parents did a better job, they didn’t. So, we’re gonna… We’re getting them in our companies, and we now have to pick up the slack. We have to work extra hard to figure out the ways that we build their confidence. We have to work extra hard To find ways to teach them social, the social skills that they’re missing out.
Tom Bilyeu: You guys are insane. Come on.
I mean I’m not. I’m an idealist, but I’m not insane. I mean it looked really good. We’ll take one phone, and so it’s like an alcoholic. The reason you take the alcohol out of the house is because we cannot trust our willpower. We’re just not strong enough, but when you remove the temptation it actually makes it a lot easier. And so when you just say don’t check your phone people literally will go like this, and somebody will go to the bathroom and what’s the first thing we do? Because I wouldn’t want to look around the restaurant for a minute and a half.
But if you don’t have the phone, you just kind of enjoy the world. And that’s where ideas happen. The constant, constant, constant engagement is not where you have innovation and ideas, ideas happen when our minds wonder and we go, and you see something and I go, “I bet they could do that” That’s called innovation Right? But we’re taking away all those little moments. Right? You should not… And none of us, none of us should charge our phones by our beds. We should be charging our phones in the living rooms.