a distinctive path into adulthood
The Millennial path to adulthood is taking a shape that is authentic, unique, and influential to both social good and economic trends.
MILLENNIALS— A GENERATION THAT ‘GETS-OFF’ BY MOONWALKING ON THE SAND.
The Pew Research Center writes;
“The Millennial generation is forging a distinctive path into adulthood. Now ranging in age from 18 to 33, they are relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry—and optimistic about the future.”
When initially reading the above statement, the first sentence is what caught my eye.“FORGING A DISTINCTIVE PATH INTO ADULTHOOD.” The author’s tone rings with terror, as if he were delivering a breaking news announcement in Superman’s Metropolis— “THIS JUST IN. A blazing comet is heading full speed straight towards the center of the city. Hide your kids, hide your wife.”
Chuckling to myself, I decided I should probably reread the selection and figure out what piece of information the author revealed that could have been so daunting. On second look, the sentence opener seemed like old news compared to the author’s closing line. “… relatively unattached to organized politics and religion, linked by social media, burdened by debt, distrustful of people, in no rush to marry— and optimistic about the future.”
With every progression in that list the author’s tone foreshadows an outcome that seems to become increasingly more grim. YET, he seems to be most perplexed by the fact that this alien culture, a generation characterized by a million instances of the diverse and inconsistent, that their connecting fiber- the thread that holds a generation of diverse backgrounds, beginnings and experiences sewn together- is a majority view that favors an optimistic outcome in life.
I mean, maybe he’s right? I certainly can’t blame the author for being concerned. After all, it is rather preposterous to think that anyone could maintain an optimistic outlook in the face of such #disruption; the term that many feel most adequately characterizes Millennials’ acquisition of the social, economic, and political scene.
Other things noted in Pew’s report were;
- Millennial’s makeup America’s most racially diverse generation.
- Despite that 50% of the generation identifies as political independents, as a majority Millennials stand out for voting Democratic and holding liberal views on social issues.
- Just 26% of this generation is married, compared to 48% of Baby Boomers who had already tied the knot when they were of proportional age to the Millennial generation.
- Millennials are the only generation which has not had to adapt to the new digital technologies of this era— they are, “digital natives“.
The author is right; we’re talking about a generation that #disrupts the status quo from every angle. Whether they know it or not, this culture of young adults seemingly draws a line in the sand waging a war of principal on the traditional rules of business, economics, and politics that has long dictated our cycle of professional birth, death, and success.
Millennials are forging a distinctive path; a path that is identifiable and distinctive in both shape and form. The millennial journey to adulthood takes an organic shape; a shape that is authentic and unique to the circumstance of thesedigital natives‘ succession of the throne to social and economic influence.
For years Millennial habits of consumption have driven the shape of the economic market. Today, the economic market is driven by, not only Millennial consumption, but also Millennial PRODUCTION. The innovation of apps that solve problems we didn’t even know we had. Creating the possible out of the impossible, or non-existent; like trying to do Michael Jackson’s moonwalk on a soft bed of sand.
We see this perspective emerging in business. Many of today’s leading companies havecreated their success by utilizing assets people already have, and that are on average not tied to generating one’s personal source of income. Services like Uber,AirBnB and Tinder are just a few of modern industry’s great examples. With a plethora of consumers waiting in the wings any user can almost instantly become a service provider. These are businesses functioning on the principal of providing value for their consumer— the idea that if by helping my consumer make or save money, I, and in-turn my business, will infinitely expand the economic opportunity in front of us. Social businesses are becoming the modern day form of Corporate Social Responsibility— business that both cuts costs for consumers and provides them an opportunity for individual social mobility.
Social businesses like Tinder are doing 3 major things that are revolutionary in comparison to the perspective of traditional corporate development. Their products are; 1) innovated by consumers, 2) driven by a non-existent demand, and 3) constantly challenging what society deems is possible. So, despite the Millennial generation’s failure to successfully ‘check the box’ on many institutionalized traditions of American “success”; perhaps, their optimistic outlook is driven by the fact that, rather than dream about the impossible this generation has decided to live it; and, rather than merely attempting to sell the dream, Millennials have dared to innovate one anew.