A friend of mine sent me an article recently that suggests that Millennials lack grit. The information was based on findings shared in an article in Psychology Today as well as interview subject Peter Gray, a professor at Boston College. According to at least one psychologist, today’s college students seek more counseling because this generation is more “needy”.
I’m no psychologist, but I am an expert in millennial insights and I have my own thoughts on the matter. And my question to all of you today is… Do you think this is true? Do you think Millennials are “needier” than previous generations? Bottom line… Do Millennials lack grit???
There is no question that there are differences between the millennial generation and previous generations. There will always be generational differences though. That will always be the case.
We are, however, witnessing the biggest generation gap we have ever seen when it comes to Millennials. This generation gap is fueled primarily by the New Cubed dynamic of New Era, New Expressions, and New Expectations. The greatest of these is New Expectations!
Millennials have ushered in a New Era and come of age during a time when everything is being questioned, redefined and in flux. This includes everything from the economy, race relations, gender roles, and religion.
This New Era, including the new technologies that have come along with it, have inspired and enabled New Expressions. Millennials have a host of digital, social, mobile, and experiential ways to express themselves and develop identity formations that never existed before.
This New Era in which Millennials have come of age along with their multiple forms of New Expressions has led to the biggest gap of all in this generation gap, which is New Expectations.
Millennials have Newer Expectations of themselves and those around them. In many ways, these are greater expectations, at least in certain areas.
In generations past, a very popular phrase and life philosophy was “it doesn’t matter how you feel”. This was a sentiment that was typically applied to school and the workplace. It pretty much indicated that there is no place for emotion, and that your feelings about the situation, circumstances, or people were irrelevant. Just get the job done. You’ll get to be happy later in life.
This is one of the many differences that exist in the area of Millennial expectations. Millennials expect to be happy now. Millennials expect to love what they do. Millennials expect climates of inclusion. Millennials expect cultures of collaboration.
So do Millennials lack grit?
I’m sure there are some that do. I also know that this is a generation that is more in touch with how they feel about something, and to Millennials it does matter how they feel. It also matters to them how you feel. And based on the expectations of previous generations, I can see how this can be defined as lacking grit. This lets me know that this is more of a matter of an expectation gap.
The expectations that Boomers and Xers have of someone at the life stage in which Millennials are in now, is based on what was expected of them during their time of coming of age. And those same expectations have been projected on to their Millennial counterparts.
If you do believe that Millennials lack grit, I challenge you to bridge that expectation gap. You can start by gaining clarity of what their expectations are of you and themselves, and by sharing what your expectations are of them and what they can expect from you to help meet those expectations.
Here is a link to the above referenced article.