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7 Habits of Awesome Millennials: A Guide to Understanding Gen Y


Today’s guest post in the Millennial Perspectives series comes to us from Debashish Das of Quit, Be Free. I had the good fortune of being placed in a triad with Debashish during Jenny Blake‘s Build Your Business course last May and we’ve been supporting each other ever since!

The world knows us as millennials, yet there’s no clear definition of who is or is not a part of Gen Y. Depending on who you ask, millennials are born somewhere between 1977 and 2003, but no one can agree where to end or begin.

In any case, millennials are a recent addition to the society, and everybody is trying to get their head around the puzzle that is Gen Y.

Why are they so unhappy? Why are they always glued to their phone? Why can’t they stick to one job? Why do they want to leave everything behind and travel the world? The truth is that we are different, as is our way of looking at the world.

Millennials are no longer the future, we are already here, now. And we cannot be ignored.

If you’d like to know what makes us the in-your-face, world-shaking, agents of chaos, read on.

1. Global Connectors

Anyone who is familiar with Gen Y knows we are addicted to social media. There’s a reason for that. We were right there when internet changed social interactions. While other people complained about the way the world was changing, we took to social media like fish to water, embracing a digital world that was free from the prejudices of society.

Without the barriers of language and culture, we shared our thoughts, ideas, and lives with people from across the globe. Millennials became the first true global citizens. Our food, hobbies, work, and lives are a colorful kaleidoscope of influences from around the world.

Millennials have truly shrunk the world. Social media is our connection to this new world.

2. Defiers of Status Quo

Never ones to take things at face value, millennials are accused of being rebels, a charge we readily confess to. If no one was out there doing things differently, sticking to the known ways, we would still be living in the dark ages. We push the boundaries to see what’s possible. We’re forces of social change.

Even though we are not the victims, we feel for humanity. We believe in a world without discrimination and accept all people as one. We defy status quo because we believe there is better future for all of us.

3. Serial Experimentalists

On the surface, our behavior might not make sense:  jumping jobs, buying gadgets every few months, or pursuing a new project every year. To the world, we might seem like overgrown five-year-olds. Underlying the behavior, however, is a belief in the power of growth. We do not live by the time-tested rules because we believe in living our dreams today.

We seek new things because new is the symbol of progress, an indicator of growth. And growth never comes from the known or the comfortable. It comes from exploration, making mistakes and learning from them. We are willing to fail to be able to learn something new.

We experiment to fulfill our desire for growth, because that is what makes us truly come alive.

4. Fearless Artists

Creativity is our middle name. With the power of the internet and the ready audience of a digital society, we do not hesitate to unleash our creative potential.

Sharing creative gifts with the world is no longer limited to a privileged few. Millennials know the value of their own creativity and are not ashamed to share it fearlessly with the world. Kickstarter funds books and products; Youtube sponsors individual video creators; smartphones and DSLRs make traditional photo studios defunct; not to mention the collapse of record labels and the publishing industry.

All proof of the fact that creativity is appreciated when it is authentic and original. We believe in the creativity that resides within each of us and are not afraid of showcasing our hidden talents. Being a millennial means not letting the world tell us that we are being stupid for wanting to be a writer, singer, or a painter. It means embracing our inner artist and creating our own unique art every day.

5. Real Life Explorers

World travelogues are blossoming all over the web. Some of the most jaw-dropping Youtube videos are captured by personal digicams. Blogs about breaking free from the routine of nine to five and traveling the world are gaining followers like crazy.

For millennials, the whole world truly is an oyster, and one that we seek to explore every inch of, whether by bungee jumping in Queensland, getting lost in the grand bazaar of Istanbul, learning to cook Thai cuisine in Bangkok, or riding a motorcycle on the world’s highest motorable road in Leh, India.

Our thirst for adventure is insatiable. We live for experiences. Especially the ones that take us outside our comfort zone. We do not plan for vacations after retirement. If we want it, we go and do it. It is one of the defining traits of a millennial.

To us, life is not about making bucket lists, it’s about going out there and living them.

6. Economic Revolutionaries

Venture-funded start-ups are old news. The new age of entrepreneurship is here, heralded by the small online businesses and bootstrappers, and millennials are leading from the front.

We want to be rich, and are not afraid to say so. Selling our soul in exchange for chump change is not our style. We want to do things we want, whenever we want, and provide for people we care about while not being slaves to a paycheck.

If we do the same thing that our parents did, and their parents did, how can we expect to live life differently from them? Big dreams require big money. And we want those disproportionate results.

To us, being rich means living life on our terms. Money is not a motivator, but nor do we call it the source of all evil. We seek to make money because it gives us the power to choose how we live. Living a millennial lifestyle is about living with passion, doing what we love, and making money along the way.

7. Freedom Fighters

Underlying all these traits and connecting all these habits is our deep-rooted desire for freedom.

Freedom has no common definition and is absolutely individualistic but it is what lies at the very core of being a millennial. We define our own freedom and take responsibility for it. It’s also the source of our greatest fears. Living a life defined by society, not being able to explore who we truly are, conforming to social rules, and becoming part of the system frighten us to the core. A millennial will fight till the dying breath to avoid anything that is a threat to freedom.

The simple truth is, if you seek freedom in life (whatever its meaning for you), you are a millennial at heart.

This is not a manifesto for why millennials should rule the world. Nor is it a plea for understanding our plight. This is a statement of facts and an effort to show what makes Gen Y tick.  We know we have faults, entitlement issues, and an attitude problem. But we’re also ready to change and adapt.

We’re willing to meet the world halfway. If only the world understood the language we’re speaking.

If you’re a millennial, let me know what you think about our relationship with the rest of the world. If you’re a non-millennial, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Gen Y. Take it away, in the comments below.

Photo Credit: Kmeron

Debashish Das About the author: Debashish Das writes about motivation and strategies to overcome fear of failure and the unknown in order to quit a frustrating job. He loves helping people turn their passions into potential income sources before they quit their jobs. Learn more about his work on his blog http://quitbefree.com

What do you think?

3 comments… add one

  • […] doing only 4. But, they resulted in 2 of my guest post pitches being accepted (read them here and here). If I had thought about not having time enough to research and pitch 10 people, I wouldn’t […]

  • Kenneth Tran says:

    The only part I disagree with is the jumping jobs. Gonna start a rant now…

    I have no idea why millennials jump jobs, personally I at least attempt to be a loyal emplolyee. I do, however, finish jobs, complete projects, get sent to different projects, run out of work to do, or move to the next challenge when there are no more challenges. Jumping jobs looks bad on a resume. You don’t necessarily have to work for the rest of your life at one job, but you need to focus on doing a GOOD JOB during the time you’re there. The only time this wouldn’t apply, is if you accidentally took the wrong job and the position is not a good fit.

    Disclaimer: Keep in mind that in the TECHNOLOGY SECTOR, people/millennials list their work experience by the project. So it may appear to be job jumping, but they work for X company and worked on projects A, B, and C. In tech, we list on our resumes, I did: A, B, C instead of I did: X. Plus in tech, talent moves around due to numerous factors: geography, relentless recruiters, talent poaching, projects end, buyouts/exits, SPLINTER GROUPS, corporate funded branches, etc… (This is an article in and of itself)

    Disclaimer 2: If you’re in the “startup game”, then well… that’s the name of the game. The startup world is completely different than the corporate world. And then.. the super-startup (startups with corporate teams) world is completely different from the startup world (more like the halfway point between amateur startups and corporate).

    • Debashish Debashish says:

      Hey Kenneth, that’s one long rant! And, I agree with everything you say. I was reading a blog post a few days ago, which said that in the tech world staying in one job for a long time would mean that your chances of getting hired by another employer actually decrease. Like you said, no point in staying with an employer if you run out of challenges that don’t appeal to you.
      By mentioning “jumping jobs”, I was just trying to address the traditionalist voice that says you should get one job and stick to it till you retire. I even mentioned that this behavior is an indication of seeking growth.
      Seems like we are both expressing the same opinion, in different words.

  • Sebastian says:

    I’m not sure about us being the defiers of status quo. Most of my friends and classmates are settling to be normal.

    Maybe more people are daring now because of the inspiring stories we find on the internet but most people are still scared today.

  • […] 7 Habits of Awesome Millennials: A Guide to Understanding Gen Y […]