Millenials: We are told that we can do anything in this world if we set our minds to it. We have seen and studied the successes of others that came before us, whether that be the Zuckerberg’s or Job’s of the world. We are unafraid and want to not only contribute, but to change the way things are done. The dreams among us are plentiful.
These vivid dreams of future success have painted great expectations in our minds. Expectations to be wonderful innovators: confident and fearless. In the past, when we put on that new suit, our cocky college selves smiled at the idea of our great potential. “Oh the places you will go…,” we thought.
And we are used to getting things NOW. In a world of convenience and immediacy, we seek constant feedback. It is not only that we want instant communication, but we want to truly be heard. Due to the surge and popularity of social media, we can express ourselves to thousands via Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at any given moment. The power of reaching out to millions across the planet lies within our pockets in a little gadget called the iPhone.
If we have a question, then we can find the answer in a few seconds on Google. If we want to buy a new outfit for Friday, there is no need to get in the car and drive to the mall. Why not just do a little online shopping from the comfort of your own home? Oh and that restaurant you were planning to go to this weekend: make sure to look on Yelp to see what reviews it got before wasting your time at a one-star location.
So, here we are, out in the so-called Real World, ready to take it on. Yet, things might not have turned out like we pictured…
We visualized success. We visualized “finding ourselves” and our little niche where we could shine. “Just find out what it is that you are uniquely good at and go for it!” they told us. Well, that picture in our heads and our current life status might not be the same thing after all. So, for all you slightly lost Millenials out there, here is my advice on how to keep your future expectations high while remaining at peace now:
1. When Visualizing Great Success, You Must Also Visualize Great Obstacles:
Did you know that those that simply visualize great success, whether that be weight loss or a great career are less likely to get it. So, if you think that just creating a vision board of Ferrari’s & big mansions is the way to success, you thought wrong. That is what I like to call day-dreaming and while it does have its benefits of weighing potential outcomes, it can be detrimental if that is all that you do.
INSTEAD, when you visualize where you want to end up, you must also recognize all of the obstacles and failures along that path. Otherwise, you are vastly underestimating what it takes and are getting your hopes up only to be let down.
Do not get caught up in a trap of daydreaming.
Do not expect immediate success.
Do not expect others to pat you on the back or hold your hand.
EXPECT it to take a long time. Expect others to doubt you. Expect them to be consumed with themselves and unwilling to help you. Expect life to be unfair. This awareness will help you to be prepared for anything that life can throw at you. Then, you can react accordingly.
This is not to say that you should associate with those that are not willing to give you a helping hand. You absolutely should surround yourself with positive people and you should thank them greatly. But, understand that not everyone out there is going to have your back and that is just how it is. You appreciate those that do and tell them that.
2. Fall in Love With the Process
You must break your dreams down into measurable goals. What will your life look like in order to achieve your dreams? With the end goal in mind, map out what your days should look like to get there. If you want to one day own your own business, understand that what you do today is affecting whether or not you get there. Cause and Effect: it is that simple.
While it is impossible to plan things out perfectly, you should realize the basic steps that it will take in order to achieve your end goal. Whether that be networking, learning a skill on the side or saving up a set amount of money, you must map it out. Then, you can decide whether the end goal is worth all the sacrifice or not. Write it down and stop daydreaming.
3. Listen to Your Emotions
If you keep chasing someone else’s dream, you will never truly be happy. Success looks different for everyone. One person may desire to run an IT consulting firm while another may want to manage a farm. We are all different and have different expectations. So, stop listening to what others want and start listening to your gut.
Your own intuition will tell you where to go. This does not mean that it is always going to be a clear path. You might feel extremely lost at times (I know I have) and not know where to go. But, that is all part of life. It is about reacting to life the best way you know how. Just make sure that you are reacting according to your principles and your goals, instead of someone else’s.
4. Check Your Ego
Stop thinking that you deserve the world.
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve to live a life of purpose.
You deserve to contribute to others’ lives.
You never know how much of a difference you are already making in someone else’s life. Sometimes, the smallest compliment can make such a huge difference in another’s life that you would never realize. Do not underestimate the importance of what you are doing right now and those lives you are already touching.
So, be confident. Decide to be confident. Now. It will make such a huge difference in your life in almost every aspect. Just be confident because it is what you deserve and it will make your life so much easier. But, check your ego at the door. What you want is going to take hard work and there is not enough room for hard work and your ego, so stay humble. People like that.
5. Understand That What Matters Most is Your Character
After all, you could accumulate millions and lose it all in a day. It has happened many times before. If you base your happiness solely off of your current success, then you might never feel truly fulfilled. Instead, congratulate yourself on who you are as a person. Become an individual of high character. THAT, they cannot take away from you.
So, here's to us, Millenials: May we keep our dreams big and get there one DAY at a time.