You can blame the schools. Plenty of people blame social inequalities. When in doubt, blame Congress and the President! Each day it is impossible to avoid countless interactions ranging from “it’s not fair”, to “that’s not right”, and “we need to talk to someone about this!”
NEWSFLASH: IT WILL NEVER BE FAIR!
A 2012 article published by the Huffington Post went viral after it begged the question “Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?” The buzz that followed was only because the author, Mickey Goodman, told the truth! People hate hearing the truth and it’s never comfortable being on the receiving end of a harsh reality check.
This could not be more evident in tweets and posts by Notre Dame fans following their demoralizing defeat in the NCAA BCS championship game last night. Over the holidays a family-friend told me that he only wants Notre Dame to lose so it will diminish some egos — particularly the heir of superiority and elitist mentality he sensed while in the company of Notre Dame alumni and loyal fans. Nonetheless, even after Alabama crushed Notre Dame in every facet of the game, those egos are more present than ever as loyal Fighting Irish blame referees, time between games, and even the University of Alabama being a public institution as a competitive advantage. A complete ass-whooping cannot subdue the monsters our society created.
However, the shortcomings and character flaws that symbolize a generation make it incredibly easy for you to gain recognition. Highlight your character and brand identity by acknowledging your weaknesses. Exposing some vulnerabilities demonstrates an authenticity that is rarely seen in today’s society and creates a captive audience you can easily win-over when the time comes to demonstrate your expertise or make a point.
Opportunities are everywhere. Ambition is maintained by focusing goals that represent personal accomplishments, not a standard set by society. Remember, the bar is set low — i.e. “everyone gets a trophy”. Is that your standard? Or, will you hold yourself to a higher standard? Separating yourself from the “Entitled Generation” requires understanding the pitfalls, developing a keen sense of reality, and a willingness to live by a different standard.
If you need a reality check, watch David McCullough’s commencement address to the graduating seniors of Wellesley High School. Wellesley is one of the wealthiest towns in Massachusetts and ranks among the top school districts in both the state and the country. In case my message wasn’t clear: “You’re are not special.” But, you are unique. You just need to show people and create that captive audience!