The internet has often been a brutal place for Millennials, continually reminding them of their inadequacies and shortcomings compared to their peers and the generations that came before them. They often get a bad rap for their perceived laziness, entitlement and narcissism, but most people don’t realize these perceived qualities are actually a double-edged sword for this up-and-coming generation.
One word: self-improvement.
With consistent inadequacies and comparisons to others, Millennials have no choice but to look to themselves to solve the problem. They are the kings and queens of personal improvement commitments, and they anticipate spending twice as much as Gen Xers and Boomers on self-improvement, even with half of the average income. There are many motivating factors that contribute to the drive that is individual improvement. For instance, Millennials tend to be the false poster children of social media platforms, habitually crafting their social media to portray only the most flattering and impressive aspects of their lives, ignoring the day-to-day difficulties in an effort to highlight their personal successes. This has never been experienced by other, older generations on this scale, as Millennials were the test subjects for social media as it rose to prominence. Many may not understand that it not only creates peer-to-peer envy but, for better or worse, motivates as well. The media is also partly to blame for highlighting only the hyper-successful Millennials who create gainful exits from booming startups or rapidly climb through corporations. Forbes’ 30 Under 30 shows Millennials their peers’ successful endeavors, but also reminds them that they aren’t doing enough.
A staggering majority of this generation has made a personal commitment to improve themselves; this includes a bevy of things like workout regimes, diet plans, therapy, life coaching and apps that are designed to improve well-being. Technology is leading the revolution of self-help and DIY therapy with apps such as MyFitnessPal, created by Under Armour, which allows you to scan for the nutritional content of foods based on barcodes; add caloric information, and the app will automatically subtract those calories based on the amount of exercise output for the day. Another app called Coach.Me has also been attributed to Millennial self-improvement due to its provision of habit trackers, habit coaching, and leadership coaching, which are all meant to help build careers, help users get in shape and facilitate skill development by connecting people with coaches specified for them.
It may also be important to note that American Millennials, for the most part, have their basic needs taken care of: They’re fed, safe and constantly connected—more prevalently than previous generations. If you were to look at Maslow’s Hierarchy, there is little to worry about in the lower levels of physiological, safety and belonging for Millennials. Consequently, is it time for them to begin self-actualizing? The catch phrase “follow your passion” has exploded in recent decades, and Millennials have the unparalleled luxuries of an ever-mounting selection of goods, media content, career options, romantic partners, lifestyles, educations and diets. With this comes self-reflection and a continued drive to become the finest versions of themselves they can be. If you had all the choices in the world, easily connectable and readily available through technology, would you not want the best?