Millennials. We’re a significant generation, one that is changing society in groundbreaking ways. We’re changing the way people (namely our parents and grandparents) think about races, communities, identities and sexual preferences. We’re loud, both on social media and in the street. We are – for the most part – open-minded, experimental and innovative. I say that with a fair amount of confidence.
We’re also a bit confusing, both to ourselves and to other generations. We want so much, to do so many things, that our desires are often conflicting. On the one hand we want to explore the world, pack in as many flights in one year as physically possible, find ourselves, sip coconut water straight from a coconut on the beach and post an Instagram photo of ourselves in our new swimwear, with glowing golden limbs. But on the other hand, we want to be entrepreneurs, running our own businesses with sparkly modern apartments, shiny new cars and a mortgage by the time we're 23. We want the best of both worlds. We want to have our cake and to eat it too. Greedy, right?
And with that greed comes competition. Because why would we yearn for those things if it weren’t for us seeing other people with them? We’re bombarded every day on social media with images of luxury purchases, perfect new properties and holidays that would probably cost more than four months rent. And this is absolutely not a dig at the people that post these images. Why wouldn’t you, when you’ve worked so hard to earn those luxuries? But the effect it can have on us, the audience, the social media ‘scroller’, can be detrimental to our motivation and self-worth. Though it can and often does push us to work harder in order to obtain similar luxuries, it can (and very often does) also make us feel inadequate, causing us to question our own achievements and perhaps even our careers and financial situations too.
"Comparison is the thief of joy." - Theodore Roosevelt
(And boy don’t we know it)
So then, when our self-esteem has taken a blow, competitiveness develops; an unhealthy competitiveness that can turn into bitterness directed at those that have something we want and don't have – of which examples (sadly) can be found in abundance across every social channel. But why? Being bitter and unkind isn’t going to change our own set of circumstances, only hard work and determination will. So this constant desire to fight to the top, to outwardly appear as though we have it all, is damaging in the long run. Of course we want these luxury possessions and amazing experiences for ourselves but what seems more prevalent than ever is that we want everyone else to know that we have them too. We spend our lives trying to keep up with the Joneses, too much time concerned about what everyone thinks we have, we earn or can afford and far too little time enjoying those things for ourselves, without having to shout about it on social media. Which by the way, is also a perfectly justified thing to do - to be proud of your success and to want to share that with the world. But if you're doing it for any other reason? There is a line to be drawn.
There are also decisions to be made. We need to figure out what we really want, rather than what social media is telling us we should want. Success is subjective and something that can’t always be measured by material wealth. And money definitely doesn’t always bring happiness – which is ultimately, what it boils down to. What makes you happy? What is your own measure of success? What are your goals and what do you want to achieve? Focus on you.
And this current obsession with having it all? Let it go. No one has it all, no matter how much they try to tell you they do. The path you choose should be the one that makes you happy, the one that allows you to change direction when you're ready to. Be inspired by others, allow their successes to drive you further but drop out of the competition - the only person you should be competing against is yourself.