Tag Archives: Millennials

Take the Time and Use a Timeout

Timeout

“The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave by reflection.” Thomas Paine

Self- Evaluation

Self-Discovery

Self-Reflection

*yawns*

Are you one of those people who likes reading self-help books? Or the kind of person who takes hours during the week or month to stop and think about how you can do things better or become a better person?

Well, this article might not be for you.

There are people who don’t like to read self-help books, either by choice or because the busyness of life, they don’t stop and reflect (and by they, I really mean we, because I am guilty as charged) ….This post is for you.

For me, I am guilty of being a true energizer bunny, and my goal is to just keep going and going and going…. Rarely, do I stop and take breath or pause for a moment to reflect.

And you might ask, ‘Don’t you ever sit and think about what you are doing’… yeah, if I make a mistake and feel some type of pain or regret. But unless you’re in a constant flow of pain and regret, you can go weeks and months without looking back and thinking of how you are getting from A to B. This is me. To truly sit back and self-reflect on life, you have to be intentional, not only for yourself, but for those around you.

In the past, I was piling things onto my plate and  avoided this much needed self-reflection. But earlier this year, I found myself complaining and irritable, and I began to question whether I was really happy. I am naturally a glass half-full, extreme optimist, who LOVES Monday. So when it felt like every other sentence out of my mouth was negative, I began to see that it was affecting those around me. I knew something was wrong.  But, I didn’t quite know how to stop my normal way of life.

I was used to it. It was familiar. Unfamiliarity is not cool. Sort of.

But despite my resistance to this idea of changing my natural flow of life, I had enough people around me telling me that I wasn’t crazy, and that maybe a switch-up was exactly what I needed.

So 4 months ago, I significantly reduced my involvement in a lot of things which opened my life up.

More time to write. More time to sleep, and to be quite frank, more time to myself. At first, I didn’t use this time wisely at all. I was still a little reluctant and there was no reflection occurring. I filled it with other things, mindless things, so I thought I was making progress, but I knew that wasn’t my purpose. I quickly reminded myself that I needed to be intentional and do something different that was going to help me.

The purpose was to stop and reflect, and after about 3 months, I finally am getting the swing of more alone time, saying no, and developing new skills. As I began to reflect more, there were some things that I am surprised were going on in my life and others were exactly the way I thought they were.

The biggest area in my life that I needed to take a look at was leadership. And boy, am I learning a lot. I am a big proponent that leadership skills are innate, and that you can’t teach people how to be good leaders. But people can learn how to be better at leading and if they are willing to learn. I think I am natural born leader, but I probably haven’t learned anything new about leading. I needed to have a seat.

As of June 1st, 2016, I hold zero leadership positions for the first time in my life in over 15 years and I am loving every minute. I made this decision back in February when I realized, that for more than 15 years, I was in some capacity leading a group of of youth or adults in some way. I was like I have to stop. I was right, I am following, and learning so much more about being a leader than I have in the last two years.

It is important to learn that although you are capable of leading, allowing others to lead you and absorb their knowledge is a part of the process. If I didn’t stop to smell the roses, I would be missing out on some important nuggets that not only will make me a better leader, but ultimately a better person for those around me. I am learning a couple of other things along the way:

  • Patience – I need more of it
  • Discipline – I need more of it
  • Listening – I need to do more of it

The last point is clearly something that I was vastly aware of. I am always trying to talk less and listen, but taking the time to step back and see how I was behaving. I need to make this a reality, what’s the point of knowing you need to fix something and not improving it. Therefore, I am intentionally listening more.

I noticed that I needed more patience and discipline in almost every area of my life. I needed to build a little stamina in both of these areas to be a little better and a little more productive. Although a product of the millennial generation that is in love with instant gratification, this doesn’t change the fact that some things take time and you have to work hard to achieve your goals.

One goal in particular is becoming healthier. Waiting for pounds and inches to drop is the slowest process known to man. But what is the rush? I find myself trying to cheat or expedite the process, cut corners, only to my detriment. Not only did I realize I needed to improve this about myself, I couldn’t do it alone. I have felt discouraged and down on myself a number of times. The trainers have coached me, encouraged me, and loved on me a little bit, and I have stayed more committed to my health longer than ever before. When I noticed this was happening, I reflected on other areas in my life where I was lacking patience. I was able to connect some of my frustrations and identify one of the root causes to my increased complaining. This reflection has made a big impact my life in this short amount of time. So now I have opened my arms to the process on reflecting my behavior and plan to continue this self-evaluation, discovery and reflection with joy.

Why don’t you join me? Please share your experience with self-reflection.

M/P

So What If I Want “IT” NOW… Life is STILL a Marathon (The Monday Fits)

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“…The Millennial generation is accustomed to having questions answered quickly, acting on that knowledge immediately and receiving feedback on demand…” (source) 

“..The demand for instant results is seeping into every corner of our lives… The need for instant gratification is not new, but our expectation of ‘instant’ has become faster, and as a result, our patience is thinner..” (source)

“What’s really driving this is the need for instant gratification……Even when ordering online “they” crave immediacy …. the desire for convenience – and within that the desire for immediacy in a multichannel world.” (source)

One thing I have heard for the last 10 years, is that my generation, the millennial generation, loves instant gratification. With our current technology, and information at our fingertips at every minute of the day, our minds want everything faster from retail, answers to questions, and any service that you can think of.  Well, I have news for everybody, DID I ASK FOR THIS LIFE? NOOOOOOO

Yes, I do expect my computer to boot up quickly, I hate when Netflix or Hulu takes longer than 10 seconds to load , and I definitely enjoyed Youtube way better when I did not have to watch a 15 second advertisement prior to the showing of my video. Well, I have news for everyone, sometimes I don’t want this life, the need to be instantly gratified, YOU KNOW WHY?

Life is a freaking marathon. Most events feel like a marathon. AND the most IMPORTANT things that are done of any substance or quality happen over a period of time.

So the personal desire to see results tomorrow sucks sometimes. I wish I was more comfortable with waiting and not bothered when certain things take time. In fact, it would be awesome if things happened instantly only every once and a while so it would be like a surprise. I could say, “Oh, this a nice change, things are happening quickly for one.”

Why am I ranting about this? Because it’s summer, and as always there is always someone that I know preparing for the bar exam. Yeah, I had to study for that once. And my advice is  always remember studying for the bar exam is like a marathon. Training, studying hard is long, and it sucks, but you have to prepare every day or you will get behind and you won’t have all the knowledge needed to knock out the bar exam. You HAVE to do a little something each day, even when there are no results, no progress. As millennial, I had to learn this too. WHY?

As much as we want or love instant gratification, it doesn’t really mean everything in this thing called life happens instantaneously. And I repeat, Life is a freaking marathon.

Marriage. Kids. Buying a House. Running a Business. Paying Down Debt. Building Savings. Staying Healthy.Taking care of a pet. Do I need to keep going?

Now, don’t get me wrong, we look for shortcuts. Technology has provided this desire.  It doesn’t not however make us lazy. It’s time to change story that is being told about us. I WANT to change the story. This is the story that I am trying to tell:

  1. We are results-orientated.  – We may take shortcuts, or change course several times trying new things over and over instead of trying one tried and true thing, but  we want the best results. Does it matter that we’ve learned to cut corners and be effective. Got it?
  2. We don’t want to waste time. – Why keep unnecessary information in your brain, that’s what google is for. Or why do something when there is a quicker way to do it. Tradition is important. Unnecessary tasks are not. We grew up with recycle, reduce, reuse. We want to emphasize the REDUCE part. Cool?
  3. We can work hardThe way we want to work just looks different. I don’t want to work from 8-5, sometimes I want to sleep in, start at 10 AM, but I am willing to work at 7 PM and I don’t need a baby sitter (i.e. my boss) to be productive. We just want freedom in how we get to solutions, because we know there are so many ways to get there. Make sense?

Bill Gates is quoted as saying, “I will always choose a lazy person to do a difficult job, because, he will find an easy way to do it”  and if it makes sense to him, maybe the older generations need to walk into the light. And we’re not trying to be lazy, we’re just different. Just like every generation before us. The reality is that, “People fear what they don’t understand”  (source: Andrew Smith)

Call us the “Trophy Generation” if you want to, but as one person pits  it, Jeff Avallon, the vice president of business development at IdeaPaint, a workplace technology firm in Boston says, “Millennials’ behavior is totally functional for the world they inherited. They don’t respond to traditional” [enter any word here] … Sorry, there’s no longer enough time for that. The economy demands constant innovation, and the ruling-by-iron-fist model is not nimble enough for reacting quickly. Millennials are simply trying to do better.” (source)

Look at Amazon.  The way they complain about how Millennials wants things fast, its as if they would have preferred Amazon not figure out how to get our orders to us faster. Would everyone prefer to go back to week long shipments?  Because you remember the time when it took a long time? Now that’s silly. If we choose to create other opportunities that are quicker and easier that is good, even if we spend a lot of time figuring out how to get there. Because there are so many things in life that are like a marathon, that take time and are challenging and there’s nothing humans can do about it, not even Millennials. And if we fail at events in life that are like marathons, because we are in love with instant gratification, well then, so be it. We will have to ADAPT to those things. So maybe it’s time everyone ADAPT to us.

M/P

Appreciate Failure or Else… You Fail? (The Monday Fits)

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“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Taking risks, or pursuing your goals is something that is so important. I have touched on this several times in my blog, especially directed at my generation, millennials, and for young women. I find that success is often deliberate, regardless if luck, faith, or a blessing, had a lot to do with it, no one is successful from just sitting around doing nothing. But it’s long over due to talk about the challenges that you will face as you take risks in different areas of your life. And sometimes these challenges are small like hiccups, but let us not forget that life’s biggest challenges are also known as failures. These challenges are on a whole different level; more like a combo of swine flu and pneumonia.  That’s right, completely and utterly debilitating.

There is no denying that we will all experience failure, some are more familiar than others. I remember this idea in church, that if you’re not living right, the devil isn’t really trying to mess with you. When you’re walking down the path of righteousness it’s not going to be paved in gold and the path is filled with bumps and jagged edges because the devil is trying to throw you off track. I believe this is true in our lives as leaders, followers, employees, managers, friends, lovers, mothers, and fathers. Failure hits every part of our life, and how we deal with failure makes all the difference. Well, apparently, our generation is avoiding it like the plague, unlike generation X. “They” are saying that we need to fail a little more, and love it.

The millennial generation is taking a page out of the early baby boomer generation’s book: Don’t fail. A mantra of the older generation was to  “follow the rules, avoid taking risks, and don’t fail”.  “In fact, managers were once expected to be infallible, deflecting the blame when problems arose’… “young Boomers famously rebelled and adopted a risk-taking spirit—which their business leaders began applying on the job when they took over.” (source) These actions had an effect on the generation Xers that created cyber boom tycoons like Mark Cuban.

So as generation Xers are aging, and millennials are graduating, moving into new roles, and dominating the workforce, many would say that we need to take more risks, and go a step further and fail while we’re at it. However, based on the state of the economy, we’re kind of listening…. but not really.  “More millennials are unemployed than any other generation. Despite the national unemployment rate dropping below 6 percent, the unemployment rate for millennials remains stubbornly high at nearly 12 percent”. (source)  Can you blame of us for looking for security? I don’t even need to list the stats on education loans, millennials have more than any other generation, ever.

The economic downturn happened within the last 7 years, but there has been an overall push for “embracing failure” since the turn of the century  from commencement speeches to conferences that endorse failure as a part of the career process.“An NPR analysis of popular speeches going back to 1774 identified “embrace failure” as the sixth-most popular theme (outranking platitudes like “be kind” and “dream big”). Of the 38 speeches with this theme, all but three were delivered after 2000—by the likes of J.K. Rowling, Oprah, and Ben Bernanke”. (source) And based on the “startup failure’, there was a conference started in 2009 called FailCon.  Last year, FailCon’s founder cancelled the conference “out of the belief that failure is now so ingrained in Silicon Valley culture that a conference is unnecessary”. (source)

So there are a lot of people telling us that it is okay to fail, and that the more you fail, the better you will become and your future is a little brighter… blah, blah, blah. It is easy to become skeptical listening to Bill Gates, Oprah, and Mark Zuckerberg go on and on about how failure made a difference, because what good does that really do for you? Many stories of success come from people who failed and THEN were successful. Wouldn’t you love to hear stories in the midst of the struggle? That would be the realist stuff you ever heard.  Raw, blunt, and oh, so matter of fact. But the reality is nobody really hears the stories of those who are failing while they’re falling except themselves. Sometimes we have to learn to listen to our own stories in the midst of the struggle, and only from that place do we find the inner fight to move forward.

This is what I call appreciating failure, and learning the benefits it can provide. We can’t appreciate someone else’s failure. Appreciate means more than being grateful and understanding. After a mistake, whether it’s a week, or a year, or years later, we learn from our past mistakes. But appreciate also means to, “recognize the full worth of”. (Source). This idea is more than just learning what we did the wrong , where we took the wrong path, or maybe the goal was really out of our reach. But that there is actually something to learn from failing. To be resourceful, to be able to fall down and get back up, and we can’t learn that from anyone else: we have to learn for ourselves. But we must also recognize that failure happens even with the most well-drawn, organized, and laid out plans. That’s why I would say to some extent, we do have to accept failure , and recognize that it is not the end of the world. You may not be taking that risk, because you’re a afraid of failing, or your thinking that failure is the end of the road. It could be just the beginning.

We can put too much pressure on ourselves to not fail.  Let’s think about our kids who go crazy to the point of sickness over their grades or maybe cheat to get into that prestigious school or the young adult who becomes anorexic for the next dance performance, or the athlete who uses performance enhancing drugs. We always want to bash that they took it too far because they did x, y or z to get their end result, but are they not just trying to avoid failure at all costs?

Lately, my favorite comeback stories are baby boomers, who were close to retirement when the recession hit,  and had to pick up their life, pursue a new career at a point when they thought their careers were almost over.  Whether it’s because they still had kids in school they had to support or were foster parents, their resilience is humbling and refreshing, and reminds me that failure can happen to the most secure of us all. So I have learned to appreciate more and more failure in my life, regardless, if I want to or not, we have become familiar foes, friends, and sometimes best buddies. Failure isn’t always around, there are definitely times when I don’t want him around, but there are times when I need him, because that’s the only way I learn the tough lessons (because I can be hard-headed). Don’t be afraid of failure, you need it to thrive.

To Err is Human… And We Can’t Get Enough of it

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“Every man must do two things alone; he must do his own believing and his own dying.” – Martin Luther

This is not another blog post about politics, I promise, but I am kicking off with Hillary. Yes, Hillary Clinton, you tired of her too? Me, three times a million, but it’s not her fault. As I read another story, commentary, or opinion about Hillary Clinton running or maybe not running for office, I think my mind might explode. There are a number of commentaries that discuss whether her heart is in it anymore. Either way, I don’t care. Her eventual campaign is the same reason millennials are increasingly less and less likely to be interested in the political system or are aware of the current state of affairs.The pursuit of power is her motivation. It’s at her fingertips, and even though she may fail, right now that pursuit is stronger than the fear of failure.  Do they really expect us to believe that she is the best candidate in 2016? Maybe at some point she was, if she’s your cup of tea, but she’s out of date. She and Bill have made mistakes, but no one is listening. It’s not quite the same as Mitt Romney, because she is at least married to Bill. The Republicans love to hate that democrat less than President Obama.

But If she were to do an evaluation of herself and those surrounding her did too, she is not the best candidate, and that doesn’t matter to her or her team, cause its all about the pursuit of power. I know there are plenty of people who would disagree with me.  And this opinion has nothing to do with partisan politics. I think there are other democrats that could do better and I think there are Republicans that could do better.  But this story isn’t unique to good ole Hilary, and there are further implications that are important to our generation and those that follow us.

As we teach our young kids to work hard and reach for their dreams, there is this thing that is called failure, that’s not really failure. But it comes with being successful and smart. Is that you can’t always be a winner or the winner, but you’re not really a loser. You can not always lead, or be in control. Your time is not all the time. Now many would say that Hillary hasn’t had her time to shine and has been in the shadow of Bill. But she won her own senate elections and was selected as the Secretary of State. She is NOT chump change. If she never becomes President, that doesn’t make her a failure. What’s a bigger problem, is having people who entered the political scene 40 years ago still attempting to lead this country.

Why am I pointing this out? It’s easy for Americans and citizens across the globe to recognize politicians often serve too long, such as the soon to be Congressional retiree, Barbara Mikulski, or there are political families who shuffle in and out of power. But the reality, this is not just in politics, its also in another, probably more important institution, religion.

Although some humans can resist the temptation of power, it can trap even the most pious. So why do we have people serve in positions that are surrounded by money, power and fame for so long and then act surprised when a scandal comes out, or more foolishly, believe that they are some how incapable of making mistakes, or acting inappropriately. For politicians,  it’s easy to notice the slow contamination from when they enter the political world, fresh faced and full of optimism to the point when they are tainted; mostly bought and paid for by billionaires. We get it. But let me ask again, what about leaders in our churches, temples, mosques or religious leaders who fall into the exact same or similar trap.

I ask this, because the studies show that millennials are affiliating less and less with a religion.  “In 2012, Pew Research Center released data showing that 32 percent of Americans ages 18 to 29 are religiously unaffiliated. This was an 11 percent increase over any other age group that year, and a 7 percent jump from the 25 percent of young people who responded this way in 2007” (source) 

Now we know that religion is flawed, because it is made by humans, so there is no expectation that it should be perfect. But there is also evidence that despite churches (specifically christian) are failing at an unbelievable rate, researchers are seeing “churches planted at a rapid rate….. It’s a transition from an outdated model to one that’s hopefully working better”  (Source) . So it’s not that the people don’t want to try something, which is supported by the fact that although there is a decrease in millennials affiliating with a “religion”, the latest Pew survey from 2014, states that “86 percent (of Millennials) still profess belief in God” (source) 

So then why are Millenmials running from religion? Because it’s being run by like many other institutions. Instead of being a shining light, we are falling for the same ills: power, greed, and fame. And more than any other institution, those three things make it hard to lead something where humility is kind of the number 1 ingredient in leading a group of believers. I would love to speak to a member in televangelist Creflo Dollar’s congregation. Last week, he created a gofundme account for a new jet, and the fact he still leads a church baffles me. He is one of the many national pastors, who could almost cover T.I.’s song, “If it ain’t about the money”.

This generation has grown up with some of the richest, most famous religious leaders, not to mention we grew up with the catholic scandal actually being out  in the open versus behind close doors, tell me why it’s crazy to think we’re less likely to want to be affiliated with a religion or religious groups. Certain culture, racial groups, and religions differ on the statistics, but across religions lines, one thing that is certain, millennials need for religion is declining. Maybe it’s as more people are educated, they need less religion?

Some people believe that, “young adults perceive evangelical Christianity to be too political, too exclusive, old-fashioned, unconcerned with social justice …… young evangelicals often feel they have to choose between their intellectual integrity and their faith, between science and Christianity, between compassion and holiness….. What millennials really want from the church is not a change in style but a change in substance.” (source) 

While I agree to an extent, when you look at alternative churches, or what some call the “feel good” churches, their leaders start a church and lead the church for YEARS, as many of the traditional churches do. As churches grow,  certain things flow in, more money, radio or TV deals, more attention, power, and fame. Now for some, can they stay grounded? I am not so sure. We are human, and to err really is human. When you ask people no longer affiliated with a belief system, its often something that happened to them or some religious drama.

Religious leaders serving for their whole life was always an interesting concept, especially in the Christian faith, when Jesus only served in his ministry for 3 years on earth, are those leaders greater than he? Is he not the example?

My mother, a very devout woman, has always made the point that you should never discuss a spiritual or religious matter over and over, but in today’s society it feels as if we don’t have any conversations about religion, too contentious. Religion, spirituality, or your belief system, isn’t like race, there are times you should be surrounded by people who are just like you, but if we never talk about differing views and ideologies, we are doing ourselves a disservice. So I want to hear from you,

 Why do you think Millennials are less religious? Or why are millennials finding less need for places of worship?

Comment below or tweet me @TheDSTLawyer or @missinperspctiv

Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls… Well, Maybe Just a Little Bit (The Monday Fits)

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What is a waterfall? It is a beautiful flow of water over a cliff, and generally, waterfalls are located in the most beautiful parts of the world. But anyone familiar with popular culture may also think of waterfalls as referred by the 1995 single by the R&B trio, TLC.

“Don’t go chasing waterfalls, please stick to your rivers and your lakes that you’re used to, I know that you’re going to have it your way or nothing at all, but I think you’re moving to fast”(Click for Video)

So in popular culture, waterfalls have come to describe a crazy, tumultuous dream, goal, lifestyle or ambition that is out of reach, and as you move towards it, you can place yourself in more danger, because you can’t handle it. It is too strong.  Now, in most instances, we should avoid waterfalls. The obstacles that they bring us are too strong, the pain they cause can be too great. But I always wondered how can you truly tell if you’re going down a river that leads to a waterfall; if the decisions that you make are good or bad? You just can’t.

So you’re GOING to go down waterfalls in life, that is inevitable, why not chase one?  Yes, I’m saying we should chase waterfalls. And will chasing waterfalls produce a positive result. Maybe. Maybe Not.  But the process of chasing what you don’t  know may have a positive result for you. This idea of chasing waterfalls really vibes with my methodology towards life, and I promise that I am not exactly a risky type of person, but there’s a reason to this madness in my mind.

People talk a lot about career advancement with millennials. We are young, and still have plenty of time to change, alter, and improve the direction in which we want to go. If we’re unhappy, they tell us to change it. And we love to hear from people who have found a job that they love, or have turned their passion into a career and become the coveted entrepreneur. I would argue that the latter is mostly supported, even if people don’t like or understand the idea, most people like the idea of starting something new and innovative. But for the former, if you’re unhappy, change it, my experience has not quite been that way in my career.

Academically and professionally, I have had some really amazing experiences. They haven’t always felt the best at the time being, but through all my experiences I have always learned a great deal for the next step in life. But even more so, I have a certain standard for what environment I want to work and thrive in. Recently, I was in a situation where I was unhappy, rarely did I feel supported in my frustrations from other co-workers who were in the exact same situation. We all were upset, but rarely was anyone willing to do anything about the situation. And as the only millennial (unfortunately) in the whole department, my constant approach to identify and change the situation was seen as a sign of immaturity.  Often times, people would “understand” my frustrations, but rarely were any of my suggestions good ideas or pursuing the path for change  seen as necessary.

“Oh, it  is not that bad”, “There are worse work situations out there” (which was true), “You’re young, you have to be patient”

That’s right, just wait your turn. The idea that I should wait. That things will change eventually. Wrong. Wrong. And more wrong. Unless, I am waiting for my Heavenly Father to lead the way, the idea of waiting on someone else or something to get better, isn’t for me. But I will say that every step I took to change my situation, or pursue a different recourse, I often felt like I was going down a river toward a waterfall. There were difficult days , because trying to change things while being very upset is a bad combination. There were uneasy times, and job safety is always in the back of your head when you’re challenging the status quo. But change wasn’t coming to that position, that department, so I started fighting differently. I started pursuing new positions that everyone told me I wouldn’t get (people love to tell you what you can’t do). But I knew this was the right fight.

I was able to get a new job, and not just any new job, but a better job, a job that many were surprised that I got, because it was a significant promotion for a person who had only worked with the organization for a year. But I wasn’t surprised, not because I’m amazing, but sometimes you have to step out, especially professionally, when everyone is telling you no.

Why do I tell this story? Because when I was feeling like I was on a fast track to a waterfall (because I was so close to blowing that place up). It was very lonely. I had family and friends who were trying to be supportive, but they were not here and couldn’t really know the exact situation. At times, the people who were in it, didn’t have the same need or desire to fight, but I did. I only felt supported when the fighting was over, and sometimes it feels that way, but heading towards what could’ve been waterfall was definitely worth it. You can’t focus on the end, you have to be able to muddle through the water. My river didn’t lead to a waterfall but it could’ve, but it was worth the ride. So you have to fight for what you believe (even if you’re wrong at times) is my philosophy.

Here’s two examples in popular culture,were taking a bet, one with public support and the other with a public lashing: At the Oscars, last night, Patricia Arquette lit it up, and social media by simply telling women, that we have fought for equal rights for others, but the time is now, for us to fight for equal pay for women. Those words couldn’t have been said on a better stage, with the best part followed by Meryl Streep overly animated concurrence. Positive Words. Great Stage. Almost Full Acceptance. (I’m sure there is someone out there disagreeing somewhere)

Conversely, look at the past week for former Mayor Giuliani is having. At a fundraiser for the presidential hopeful Gov. Scott Walker, Giuliani took the spotlight off of Walker, and put the bullseye over his entire body. Mayor Giuliani bluntly said that President Obama does not love America. Yep, that’s right. Just that plainly. In his Wall Street Journal op-ed that followed this past Sunday, he said he wasn’t questioning the President’s heart or mind, but that the President actually has criticized this country more than any other President in history. Now a lot of people didn’t like what he had to say, including a lot of the other Republican presidential hopefuls, and they tried to distance themselves as fast as lightning. Did I mention Giuliani wasn’t invited, and he sure as heck wasn’t supposed to speak.

Negative Words. Wrong Stage. Much less acceptance of his words. (Because you know Rush Limbaugh praised every single word).

My question should either of their voices be stopped. In my mind, they both could be going down a path to a waterfall. Patricia Arquette took a stand, that could’ve been rejected, and so did Rudy Giuliani. Just because Patricia had a 90% chance of acceptance, and Giuliani had a 30% chance, do we only take the safe bets?

I challenge us all, especially millennials, to not always taking the safe bets, chase the waterfall. The waterfall isn’t always a new thing, business, or something uber aggressive. It can just be a new project, requesting more responsibility, or asking for a mentor who is going to challenge you and not just puff up your ego. So go chase a waterfall, just a little bit, because standing in the lake will get you nowhere.

The Monday Fits: Episode 4

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, you’ll be criticized anyway. You’ll be damned if you do, damned if you don’t” – Eleanor Roosevelt


 

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The art of critiquing and judgement can be mastered by a skillful commentator who can provide insightful instruction that provides positive change in a person, group or an ideal.  However, a critique can be weak and distract the listener if the critique is formed out of jealousy due to one’s personal agenda or insecurity. With that being said, there are a number of concerns going in the world today that are being critiqued, yet if you google news articles about millennials, there are a lot of people with misplaced critiques. I am honestly tired of baby boomers and generation Y’ers making predictions about the millennial generation, MY generation. Many of the things that are being said about Millennials are just wrong. Where to start? Most news articles say that millennials are lazy, soft, self-centered, narcissistic, dumb (er), technology-obsessed, selfie-obsessed, and the me, me, me, me generation. As if we are the only generation with those issues. Now I understand the implication is that we have those issues at a more alarming rate than any generation before us. Let me ask this, a generation that experienced one of the highest unemployment rates ever, is it fair to imply that laziness is one of the main reason our generation is struggling to have jobs?

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And jobs are not the only critique. Since 2012, and as recent as a couple of weeks ago, studies are showing journalists continue to write that millennials are not buying cars, homes, or using credit cards; Millennials are also living at home with her their parents and using public transportation. The articles stem from legitimate concerns that it may be hurting the economy, but, uh, every one of those industries either failed, needed a bailout, or were practicing such shifty behavior that more regulations were created to force them to act fairly; so EXCUSE US for not wanting to purchase or depend on those items as much as our parents. (Because we can all agree that using cash and public transportation, and less credit is really better for so many reasons we will not go into today.)

And the notion that people see millennials living with their parents as a bad thing is just ludicrous. It is true, if you are doing absolutely nothing with your life and living with your parents, that is bad, but a number of millennials, I would go further and say, there are young PROFESSIONALS who live with their family members while saving for a house or getting to the point where they can live on their own. I mean, have these people had a roommate lately? It is not a cakewalk. I would rather live with my  family, before a roommate, and I have never had a bad roommate experience. But if their parents do not care, why should we?

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Luckily, there are a few articles out there, highlighting our better qualities, that we are volunteering more, more involved with civic engagement and voting in elections better than our parents at our age. (Source). Yet, it doesn’t keep the perpetual critique of our generation. In a recent article in the Washingto Post, Catherine Rampell wrote an opinion piece about how millennials cannot afford life milestones that have been established in the past. She states, “We want to move out. We want to own our home. We want to marry. We want to work. The problem is, many of us can’t.” (source). But I would argue that this is okay. One of the number reasons Americans are in too much debt is because they are trying to keep up with Joneses, so why is it a problem that millennials view their current financial status realistically and are not interested in the joneses. Rampbell goes on to say, “America’s young adults have gotten a lot of flak for missing many of the milestones that earlier generations checked off with ease. Perhaps preferences for these kinds of life milestones will eventually change, too, as norms evolve out of economic necessity. But in the meantime, don’t malign millennials for “rejecting” milestones that remain out of their reach.” (source)So the question is, if we are changing the social norms due to economic necessities, are we really afraid of risk, or actually being smart about our current decisions?

Millennials are called lazy and a me, me, me generation partly due to the fact that we were the first wave, of the “reward everyone epidemic”. You know, everyone is special and gets a trophy on awards day, even though some students have done absolutely nothing and may be mediocre in some areas. This ideology does hurt growth in kids, because they are not facing reality and living life slightly sugar coated. According to critics, it is preparing our generation to be less likely to take a risk. Yet, when we decide to do something outside the norm, it is wrong. Did I miss something? Is it not a risk to disagree with the status quo, and reject the path of our parents before us? To not follow the direction of the “wisdom” that contributed to the blunders of 2008?!? By no means, do I believe the previous generations did not accomplish many things, and provide a pathway for us to follow, but the critiques are surrounding cars, houses and credit cards!

Because of 2008, there should be excitement that this current generation is thinking and creating our own solutions, options, and situations differently. The gift that technology has given us, is that we can research and have access to information to fully understand something without necessarily personally experiencing it. This gives us the ability to innovate  and make judgements regarding the things that have happened before us, and that is a good thing, but baby boomers have a big problem with this. Being somewhat of traditionalist, I think the best combination is a mix of tradition and innovation. You cannot live on tradition alone, nor can you live blindly with no acknowledgment of history either.

Malcolm X says, “If you have no critics, you’ll likely have no success”. So to some degree, we are doing something right, to receive such staunch criticism. But if we just look to our political system, on both sides of the aisle, the top leadership that was voted after the mid-term elections have all be in office for over 30 years and refuse to step down and let the younger generations change the world, and that’s where the critique should be fully, but only a few speak up. So I guess Malcolm was right.

M/P

Listen Up Young Black People, Social Media Is Not the ONLY Answer!

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There’s a saying “there’s nothing new under the sun”, yet, in terms of justice, we think the game has changed, or better yet, we believe the lies: You can make a difference on Facebook, IG, Twitter, or from any social outlet. The Black American story is rich in oppression, conflict, and overcoming all obstacles, but lately it feels as if our generation is quickly believing that using words, pictures and engaging in heated banter is enough to change the hearts and minds of those who have been entrusted to uphold what was constitutionally entitled to us. Equality.

Two weeks ago, I was volunteering with a group of kids who studied the civil rights movement in a summer enrichment program. One particular volunteer was asking a student about her project on the Montgomery bus boycott. He asked her a simple question, “Why did the Montgomery bus boycott work?” -The student stood frozen, petrified. He continued to ask her leading questions, such as, “What were the largest number of users of the bus system”, “What happened when all the Blacks stopped riding the bus”‘ The young girl she was overwhelmed, and couldn’t quite articulate that the boycott hit the bus system where it mattered most, their pocket books, and ultimately decimated the bus system to almost complete ruin. Their actions were strategic, pointed, and involved a number of sacrifices. But when I think of that little girl, I think what is up with our current generation. Do we really understand the civil rights movement and why it worked? I would argue that we don’t.

Yet, I can’t seem to blame our generation, do we really know and understand what it takes to bring justice for our people, or maybe we’ve been lied to about what are currently doing. “This new generation is so innovative”, we give “passionately to sporadic causes” and we have a “new way of doing things” implying that we get what we’re doing. Yes, it’s true, we’ve had technology at our fingertips at a very young age and we do care differently, and maybe with a broader perspective which is a good thing. And we have more access to information than any generation before us, yet, do we have the capacity to be the change agents, are we really truly armed to make a difference. Can We?

On August 9, The Wall Street reported that “The Rev. Al Sharpton on Saturday said protesters would travel to a planned Staten Island rally later this month in caravans of cars and buses, rather than marching over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, to protest the apparent chokehold death of Eric Garner. Political opposition had been mounting to Mr. Sharpton’s original plan to conduct a march over the bridge, which critics said would cause traffic jams and obstruct Staten Island’s artery to the rest of the city.”

SO?

The story further goes on to discuss how the Mayor of New York City and the New York Governor expressed concerns about safety directly to Mr. Sharpton. But what about the safety of individuals who are being murdered by Police, such as, Eric Garner. And the bigger question is, why is Al Sharpton still speaking for us. The whole purpose of a protest, is to inspire action. I’ve never been so appalled at a “concerted” effort to dim light on a serious social issue.

But when I scan my timeline, no one is talking about how Al Sharpton is bowing down to political pressure, or how the march on foot should continue. I see more posts from black yuppies, about “I am Eric Garner “, or if I was to die, what picture would the media use? Who cares! Hey, that may be a real possibility if we don’t stand up and do something about it. But the reality is we are too comfortable.

Also trending, “did social media help with the Renisha McBride case?” She was shot through a locked door; I’m not sure what part social media had to play, other than captain obvious. The scary part is that we’ve fooled ourselves to believe that it did, as oppose to realizing the stark differences in her case from the many others that have occurred out in the open with unarmed Black Americans.

So do we stop hoodie photos or catchy awareness campaigns, no, but we do need to do something more.

We are a generation of the Huxtables, more Black Americans are educated and middle class, but the socio-economic gaps between lower income and middle/upper class is widening exponentially. And we can’t expect our famous stars to be the Harry Belfonte and Sidney Poitier (who bank rolled a number of civil rights efforts) of our time. Will we not speak and act for each other?

I recently watched a documentary where Charlie Evers, Medgar Evers’ brother, said that it wasn’t till the young white and Jewish children from the North that came down to the south and they started dying and getting hosed down and attacked by dogs on TV did it feel as though change really began to happen in Mississippi. Maybe it’s time for the middle class and uppity negroes to get a little dirty for a change.

MP