Simon Sinek gave a talk on millennials in the workplace on Inside Quest (IQ) with Tom Bilyeu. (You can watch the video here on youtube) I have gone back and watched this 15 minute video a few times now and want to make some serious changes in my life. Here’s a break-down of what he said.
Millennials, people born after 1984 are supposedly tough to manage because they are entitled, lazy, narcissistic, self-interested, and unfocused. He breaks down the reason this is into 4 categories; parenting, technology, impatience, and environment.
He states that many millennials were subject to ‘failed parenting strategies.’ Which is essentially the idea that everyone can be whatever they want to be (without having to work for it), they are told they are special (all the time), they get trophies for everything (even those who come in last). Participation trophies make the people who worked hard and deserve it unhappy as well as makes the person receiving the participation trophy embarrassed because they know they don’t deserve it. An entire generation is growing up and realizing they can’t’ have everything they want just because they want it which leaves us with a generation with much lower self-esteem. We are also using social media to show off their perfect lives when they are actually depressed.
Getting text messages, likes, and talking about oneself through social media makes you feel good, it releases dopamine. It’s releasing the exact same chemical that is released when we smoke, drink, and gamble. Social media and our cell phones are extremely addictive because of this.
Simon goes on to make the point that we have age restrictions on smoking, alcohol, and gambling but none on social media. Simon compares that to an adolescent drinking to deal with his/her stresses – it is essentially the same thing. You have an entire generation that has access to addictive and numbing dopamine through social media and their cell phones, but nothing to stop them.
He continues on to explain that as we grow up we are supposed to learn how to lean on our friends to help us deal with stress. Unfortunately, some teens learn about alcohol and it’s numbing effects so going forward into adulthood they will depend on alcohol during hard times instead of a person. Now millennials are doing the same thing but with social media. Too many kids don’t know how to form meaningful relationships and don’t know how to deal with stress. Many of their friendships are superficial so when they have something stressful going on in their life they turn to social media or a device instead of a person because it makes them feel good.
There have been studies that show the people who spend more time on Facebook suffer from higher rates of depression than those who spend less time on Facebook. Now he’s not saying social media is bad. He gives the analogy of alcohol isn’t bad, too much alcohol is bad. Gambling is fun, too much gambling is dangerous. The same goes with social media and cell phones. If you are out to dinner with friends and you are texting someone who isn’t there, you have a problem. If you are sitting in a meeting and put your phone on the table, you are sending a subconscious message to the rest of the room that they are not that important to you. If you check your phone in the morning before you say good morning to your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend, you are addicted. Addictions cost you time, money, relationships, and ultimately make your life worse.
These kids don’t have to be patient. They have grown up in a world of instant gratification; Amazon, Netflix, OnDemand, etc. We don’t even have to learn how to date, there’s Tinder for that now. Everything we could ever want there is instant gratification except job gratification and relationships. Simon says that we need to learn patience. Joy, love, self-confidence, a skill set, job gratification all take time. He states that because millennials have not learned these skills or coping mechanisms there are increased suicide rates, increased rates of accidental deaths due to drug overdoses, and increased number of students dropping out of school or taking a leave of absence due to depression. The best-case scenario is an entire generation who goes through life without ever finding deep fulfillment or joy in work or life.
For his final point Simon states that we are putting these millennials who were dealt a bad hand, through no fault of their own, and put them in a corporate environment which cares more about the numbers than it does the actual people. These corporate environments aren’t helping them learn cooperation, how to over-come the challenges of a digital world, or overcome the need to have instant gratification. Millennials are blaming themselves, they think they are entirely to blame. He claims there is a lack of good leadership in our world which could change this.
He has some good ideas on how to make little changes that could help. The first one being no cell phones in the conference room. When you are waiting for the meeting to start, talk to your coworkers, don’t sit on your phone! When you’re out with friends leave your cellphones at home. We need to remove the temptation. It’s like being an alcoholic, you need to remove the alcohol from your house so you are not tempted. Don’t charge your phones by your bed, charge it in the living room. When you wake up in the middle of the night you won’t check your phone because it’s in the living room.
Now, this leads me to what little changes I would like to make going forward.
Listening to this talk really hit home with me. I see a lot of myself in what he said. I do expect instant gratification. It’s frustrating for me when someone doesn’t do what I want right away or I can’t get what I want right away. I will be honest; I do feel entitled from time to time; my mom and grandparents are definitely to blame for this trait I have. I have a hard time building relationships. I am constantly on my phone. I do struggle with depression. Sometimes I do feel like I’m just coasting by in life.
I don’t want to be this person anymore. I want to find joy and gratification in my life. I want to break my addiction to Facebook and Instagram. I want to break my addiction to the games I play on my cell phone. I want to break my addiction to my cellphone all together. I want to build meaningful relationships with new friends.
So, going forward I don’t want to be on my phone for the majority of the day. I don’t want to be on my phone if I am out with friends (I can’t leave my phone at home because I have children and it would give me major anxiety if I couldn’t reach them or they couldn’t reach me). I don’t want to just sit on the couch with my husband at night with both of us on our phones – he’s not a millennial but he has very similar tendencies – I will explain this in a moment. Most importantly, I don’t want my children growing up addicted to the cell phone.
Since Wednesday of last week I have refused to be on my phone unless I was alone. I don’t scroll through Facebook or Instagram, I don’t play any games on my phone, or write for this blog while I am with my kids or husband. I do all of that the few hours a day I get alone. We went to a wedding reception where I knew no one and I checked my phone once, to look at the time to determine when we needed to leave and be on time for our sitter.
To be honest, I’m quite proud of myself. Cash has not been on my phone since then either, which is also a big plus because he loves to watch youtube videos as much as I let him.
Now, on to explain my husband’s habits:
Tyson was born in 1978 and is not part of millennial group, however he is just as big of an offender as I am. Last Thursday two instances stood out to me and gave me prime examples of why I want to rethink the way I deal with my phone, social media, and my family.
He was working from home that day and we went to the gym so we could work without kid interruptions. He came down after his work out and I was telling him about a conversation I had with my cousin while he was working out; she is going through a similar situation with her son and her ex that we did with Cash and my ex. I was talking to Tyson about what she had said to me and he was only kind of listening. He picked up his phone and started texting while I was talking to him. He didn’t even respond when I had asked him a question. He didn’t even acknowledge the fact that I had asked him a question, I don’t think he even heard me. He was too wrapped up in whoever he was texting to notice his wife was talking to him. And sadly we have both done this before to each other and our kids.
Then later that same day he was on a phone call with a coworker discussing how they want to go forward with some processes and Salesforce. While he was on this phone call he was scrolling through Instagram. How invested is he on the call or whatever this coworker was saying if he’s on Instagram?
I was baffled. After watching this short clip I want to change our lives. I told him about the clip and what Simon had to say and the only thing he took away from it is that he does not want the kids to rely on the phones for entertainment. However, I want to go deeper than that. I want the two of us to quit using our phones so much. I honestly think I will be the only one making the change at first, but hey at least I will be setting a good example for the kiddos.
What are your thoughts on this subject? Are you a millennial? Are you a Gen Xer? A baby boomer? How do our lives differ?