Why Millennials are the Worst Generation

Millennials are the worst. We're lazy, entitled, selfish, and rude. We make terrible music, movies, and art. We're narcissistic and spend too much time taking selfies and posting on social media. The only people we care about is ourselves. We expect everything in life to come easy to us and we quit as soon as anything gets challenging. All of these things make millennials the worst generation of all time.

As a millennial, I see this issue through an autobiographical mindset. I understand the current worldview and challenges millennials face more than I can understand the worldview and challenges of past generations. But it makes sense logically, that every generation is faced with negative, stereotypical, and even demeaning judgement from the generation before it.

I can easily imagine my great-grandmother, born in the 1920's, being shocked--and even disgusted--at the younger generation of pot-smoking, bra-burning, hippy culture of the 60's. Every decade has its teenagers and young adults pushing the boundaries and doing things differently than their parents.

Photo by  Steve Wilson  /  CC BY 2.0

The Problem with Generational Judgement

In an article titled, "Are Millennials Truly the 'Worst' Generation?" Tamara Jayne says:

"The unspoken expectation is that every generation should do better than the last (or at least we hope so). However, the cycle continues when each group of people are demeaned by the ones who came before them. If we accept that each new generation comes with different sets of issues and strengths, perhaps then we’d loosen up on the stereotypes of which generation had it easier."

Whether we like it or not, the generations of young people who come after us will always think differently, see things differently, and do things differently. This kind of shift is necessary for the development and advancement of mankind. If we want the world to be different, we need to be different.

Logically, this makes sense. Emotionally, this is a hard pill to swallow sometimes.

Our own belief systems, world views, experiences, skills, etc. feel challenged when other people do things differently. This tension causes older people to feel negatively towards younger people, and likewise, younger people think negatively towards older people. We need to recognize that this has very little to do with how one generation specifically does things, but rather it's a general feeling of tension we feel towards anyone who does things differently than we think they should be done.

If we can get past this tension between "old vs new" then amazing things can happen. When we allow generational judgement to create a chasm between millennials and the older generation, we miss out on the opportunity to bring together the wisdom of experience with the excitement of innovation.

Pursuing Wisdom

Every new generation has an incredible opportunity to take the wisdom of the generation before and build on it to create a world that is even better. Millennials are visionaries. They are solution seekers. It's these traits that can become a powerful force of change in our world.

If you are a millennial, embrace your strengths and soak up as much wisdom as you can from the older generation. Look for the problems; find solutions. Take your visionary spirit to a higher level by matching it with timeless wisdom that benefits all of humanity.

Don't allow your past, your parents' past, or your grandparents' past hold you back from being everything you can be.

Final Thoughts for the Older Generation

Rather than put millennials in a box by perpetuating stereotypes of the generation, take the time to listen and understand the young people in your life.  In the book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People," Steven Covey teaches that we must "seek first to understand, then to be understood." In order for all generations to work together effectively and make the greatest positive impact on the world, we need to do better at crossing the generational divide and see the world through each other's unique perspectives.

It may feel like millennials judge you negatively for the way you have lived your life and the choices you have made, but understand that it's not personal. You have raised this generation to be better than your generation, so let them do it. Let them examine how things could be done better and give them permission to make those changes.

Rather than assume the worst of millennials, assume the best. Encourage and draw out our strengths and our experiences. Be open to change! Change, even if it questions how you've always done things, is the key to innovation.

Let us dream. Let us be creative. Let us believe that things can be different than they are.

Finally, celebrate with us as we grow, mature, and reach our full potential as they world-changers you raised us to be.


A Millennial