Thinking like a millennial

From the moment we enter school, we are asked: “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

We are primed for an office life of sitting, taking instruction and executing action plans. Growing up, we see evidence of hard-working parents who stayed with the same company for 20, 30, maybe even 40 years.

Their tenure is celebrated with pins, parties, and plaques that hang nicely on their office wall.

The mindset of following your passion and loving what you do wasn’t as recognized or celebrated in generations past. While Gen Xers may have paved the way for millennials (Gen Y) to think and feel as they do, Xers defined their responsibility as making an income to support their family, grow their net-worth, and plan for retirement.

Millennials don’t necessarily think about responsibility the same way; Instead, they start with gratifying themselves. They strive to figure out what they are passionate about and how they can stand out while pursuing it.

That statement is supported by facts such as:

  • the declining rate of pregnancies
  • the average tenure in a job or with a company (Hint: it sure isn’t 20 years)

Millennials are focused on themselves and if they don’t like something – they move on.

That may be viewed as selfish by some members of the exiting workforce, but it’s not. There is nothing selfish about wanting to be happy. There is more self-awareness in the pursuit of finding your passion, which leads to increased contentment and the associated ripple effect that we all enjoy.

But, what if you are stuck between two generations of thought process? What if you think you should have a career role at an established company – and yet, your heart is telling you to go find your purpose?

For those of us born in the ’80s, this could mean a life-long struggle of deciding which path to pursue: long-tenure at a company and the pins to celebrate it or searching for what makes your heart beat faster and attempting to monetize it.

Of course, this article can’t address each person. Perhaps you’re part of the group whose purpose is clear, and you love where you work and what path you’re on. I tip my hat to you wish you all the best.

Most of us millennials born on the border between Gen X and Gen Y will, however, struggle with how to achieve that goal.

If this article rings true for you, know that you aren’t alone. It’s a challenging place to be stuck, and not just for you – think of the employers looking for good talent and a committed work force.

How does a business attract and keep millennials? Think of those who raised you and can’t understand why you aren’t successful by their definition of “long-tenure.” 

It isn’t that these groups don’t want to understand. It is just an incredibly different approach to life for them. Employers are scrambling to work with millennials by looking at flexible working arrangements, and job perks that extend beyond pay incentive.

Parents are supporting their children’s pursuit of happiness by supplementing their finances through living arrangements. Young adults now live with their parents longer than any previous generation.

So, what does someone do when they can’t decide on the path? There is no clear answer. But, look at those who have been successful by following their dreams. It wasn’t easy. They worked tirelessly and often without recognition or support, but in the end, they succeeded because they believed in themselves.

The pursuit of happiness is the worthiest path you can be on. Remember to thank those who helped or are helping you walk it.

Don’t judge those who can’t understand it. Instead, help them understand by sharing your story of why you feel inspired and what success looks like for you. This is your life.

I’ll finish with this amazing quote from Karen Lamb:

“A year from now you’ll have wish you started today.”


Victimized by annoyance

Part 1 of 2

Annoying someone to the point of purchase is an age-old tactic learned in youth and practised every day – we just call it a different name as adults.

We have all been the victim of the “annoyance approach.”  

Consider that children learn quickly that if they annoy an adult enough, they usually get what they want.

Children can generally learn immediately who surrenders fastest and who takes time and effort.

I often listen to exchanges of “please, please, please please” from a child pointing at a food item or toy, making me remember my own pleas to my mother for the next best thing that would make my small world so much better.

This approach was highlighted when I encountered a small boy selling jewelry while travelling in Belize with my husband. There were many children who sold handmade necklaces, bracelets and anklets to tourists in their free time.

This one child stood out because he effectively used this “Annoyance” approach – asking again and again. He was almost implying that you would be a fool for not buying.

He would ask the same people as many times as it took, sometimes walking away and coming back after a few minuets. While that may sound ineffective – most people eventually bought one of his trinkets – me included.

The interesting thought is that it generally does work for children; perhaps, not on everyone – and not 100 per cent of the time, but the rate of return is high — and we carry that lesson through to adulthood.

As adults, we label it with different words: Persistence, resolve, determination… but it is all the same — using annoyance to get what we want.

This annoyance approach is effective and present every day, in all forms. For example, while scrolling through Instagram, I often get ads mixed in with pictures of smiling friends.

I recently saw an ad for a sundress; at first, no impact, I scroll on. Later that day, I see it again; now, I linger on it for a moment, starting the justification process of why I need a nice new sundress.

However, I can’t seem to rationalize it yet, so I scroll on. The sundress comes up again in my feed. Like a child yelling “please, please, please” at me, I weight the choice of purchasing vs. not.

If I purchase, I can test the quality and shipping time of that company, also, I could use a new sundress (the narrative of need had time to develop in my brain).

I click on it, only to see that it is inexpensive and, if I buy one more item, shipping is free. I buy.

That ad “annoyed” me until I bought it. TV ads do that. Billboard ads are placed on popular routes so potential buyers see them every day.

We are annoyed into buying most things.

My article next week will reveal whether this is an effective approach — and I think you’ll be surprised at the result. Until then, monitor your purchases and ask yourself – would you have bought this if you only saw the ad once? Or have you been annoyed into buying it?

There is no wrong answer; many purchases I’ve made because of the annoyance factor have made me very happy. It is only awareness that is important. The more we can be aware of the motives behind our actions, the more we will gain satisfaction from the result.

So “please, please, please, please” read my column next week for the continued exploration of this idea.

Tattoo on the mind

I’ll never forget the way it felt the first time.

The dark delight my inner rebel felt at the idea of it.

The sharp and unforgiving pain as the needle pushed itself through my skin’s barrier to deposit its permanent mark.

I’ll never forget how thankful I was when the pain stopped, but how I immediately wanted more.

I have ink dreams.

The colours and designs play with my brain during the wee hours of the night. Even the pain has become something I crave.

The permanence of the memories drawn across my body forces me to acknowledge the journey I have come through. The journey has made me who I am. It gives a sense of closure to the past while honouring it – allowing me to look to the future.

Many of you share in these ink dreams of colour and permanence. They represent more than just the images you see on the surface; they are a magnifying glass on particular points in your life story. 

Tattoos provide stability. No matter what society defines as the next fashion trend. No matter how you dress at work versus the weekend. No matter where your clothes come from, tattoos never change. 

They are always with you, to ground you and remind you of your sense of identity. It’s self expression that no one can take from you. Even if you chose to cover them during your working hours, the tattoos are there, living under the layers, giving your walk a certain confidence.

Like most dreams that want to become a reality, an experiment is usually the first step. My first tattoo was small and purposefully concealable. The words “forever bound” neatly scribed in the Urdu language live forever on my right lower back – symbolizing the bond to my longest friendship.

I didn’t know what it would feel like or how my skin would react. I didn’t trust myself to commit to something bigger for fear I wouldn’t like it as time passed.

It wasn’t until years later that I started to add. It seems the happier I am, the more I want to document it on my body. But that doesn’t mean that all tattoos symbolize something joyful or even symbolize something at all.

Sometimes an image speaks to me for unknown reasons, so I allow my artist to bring it to life. Some permanently inked bonds are for broken or lost souls; others are created in memory of those who have departed.

I have one tattoo that captures a relationship no longer intact. It serves as a beautiful reminder of what was and a hope for a future in which the ink represents a current bond once more.

I have ink dreams of colour and delight. I’m represented through all the stages of my life through the art that covers my body. I am also a professional in the workplace; I am a friend, a sister, and a wife.

None of my ink takes that away. It only enhances the visual journey of my life.

These ink dreams are spilling over into reality more and more as our world has no choice, but to accept what was, the unacceptable.

What are your stories told through ink, or the ones you would like to tell? If not ink, what are the ways you express yourself and the journeys you’ve been on?

Being born gives you the right to share. Don’t shy away from showing the world how amazing you are through any method you choose.

We all deserve to hear and see your story.


Why is bad easy to believe?

Creating Confidence part 4 of 4:

Why is it hard to believe that you are awesome?

Dear reader, you are awesome.

I know that if I were lucky enough to meet you, I would be inspired by your story. I would want to spend all afternoon hearing about your experiences and the insights you’ve gleaned from life.

Every day, I meet people who humble me. People who have been through real struggles and come out stronger. People who are passionate and full of love for their community. People who are so remarkable that I doubt my own awesomeness.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe; however, like you, I am awesome, too.

Why is it so easy to doubt ourselves? Why is the bad always easier to believe?

There actually is a scientific answer: It’s called negative bias and it is the human condition of which we give more weight to bad experiences than good ones. Researchers even have a formula for this weighting – apparently negative emotions have an impact of three times stronger than positive.

To put that astonishing fact into perspective: That means that I can tell you that you are amazing and if you immediately think “no I’m not,” that thought will have a negative effect three times greater than the positive effect of my compliment.

That is significant. Every time you have a negative thought about yourself, you are doing serious damage.    

If negativity has been proven to do considerable damage to our psyche, why doesn’t everyone hold a positive outlook all the time? Because, like the reason we form many bad habits, it’s the easy way out.

Humans naturally take the easiest route and it seems easier to hold a self-doubt than it does to work at improving your confidence.

It is natural to fall into a thought process of “I can’t” and negative self-talk supports that internal narrative. That is why people with confidence stand out and are often more successful in life.

Confidence does not come from putting others down. It is not an “I win; therefore, you lose.”

True confidence comes from believing in yourself. It is as simple as that. Once you believe in yourself, you no longer seek the approval from others, which allows you the freedom to follow your own path – That is where you find happiness and success.     

It’s time to stop those damaging, self-deprecating thoughts.

You are awesome. You are stronger than the negative narrative that wants to play on repeat in your brain. You can change it starting now. It won’t be easy or happen quickly, but you can take small steps every day to embrace your awesomeness.

A technique I love, and practise everyday is to start my day with gratitude. When I wake up in the morning and swing my feet out of bed, I put one foot down and say “thank” and the other foot down and say “you.”

Starting the day with gratitude is the best way to change your internal narrative. Instead of sluggishly rolling over and groaning as you pull yourself up – start it with thanks for the breath that flows from your lungs.

I have spent my last three articles focused on creating confidence because I truly believe that everyone should love themselves and recognize their own awesomeness. I have written about smiling and the positive side effects.

I’ve encouraged readers to own their spotlight especially if other try to drag them out of it. I’ve laid down a challenge to everyone to try something new every year. I have done this to inspire people to love who they see looking back at them in a mirror.

I hope that you, dear reader, will recognize just how awesome you are. Perhaps, one day, I’ll be lucky enough to hear your story.

More Mindful Communications articles

About the Author

Like most people, Christy has taken many paths. On the officially documented life list, she is a certified yoga teacher, an advanced open water diver, a financial adviser with a financial broker’s licence, a Harley rider and owner, an author, a community advocate.

She has been trained in coaching, negotiations and communication studies. She competed at a provincial level in competitive swimming and now has a passion for overall fitness.

On the un-documented list, Christy’s diverse experience is both positive and full of pot holes. She is the founder and CEO of a start-up company that never made it past the start-up phase. She has enough tattoos to classify as a walking adult colouring book. 

She has gone through all the identity phases at different times in her life: hippy, gothic, classy professional, biker... and is now a unique blend of them all. She a spiritual junkie and is addicted to adrenalin, learning and travel.

The bottom line: She is full of love and lessons with a hope that those who read this and connect with her will benefit from what she learned and be inspired to reach for the limitless possibilities of life.

Connect with her at:[email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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