As someone who teaches people how to life coach teens, young adults and their families, I often marvel how often the words: Millennials and Procrastinator are woven together in sentences.
"What is it with this generation (says the teacher), they never do their work and if they have problems they never tell me until it's too late to do anything about it! Why are Millennials such procrastinators!"
"Have you seen Skeeter's room!?! I have to tell him every day to clean up that pig-sty (apologies to our porcine friends, they really do get a bad rap)! I just refuse to clean up in there again. The level of my Millennial's procrastination is only equal to the amount of video games he plays... and that is a whole Pokemon Go full!"
"I can't get one single Millennial to do an honest day's work! They come in, sit around on their phone and then 20 minutes before the end of the day, they jump on their computer, do their work and leave. These Millenials avoid, stall and procrastinate like no other generation this company has ever worked with!"
So here you are; A Mentor for Millennials. You have gained their trust. They are starting to do a daily routine of something creative, something reflective and something physical.
In Skeeter's case; painting, breathing (deep breathing) and visualizations along with daily short walks. It is clear to you that the process of having them find micro-successes to build incremental self-worth is taking hold. Yet, they don't clean up their rooms, they don't take care of homework and (if they have a job) they never seem invested in their work.
Are they actually the self-entitled generation or is something else going on here?
What makes Millennials different?
Welcome to the first generation born in the land of the internet. Their home is the internet. (Let's call this land:WebFredonia).
Gen x'ers and boomers are landed immigrants to this new world (exception Captain Spaulding). This changes how they see things. Take a two-year-old with an iPad. Their facility in manipulating and interacting with it is innate.
How they interact with the digital world affects how they perceive the "real world". (Good luck getting them to interact in the real world without the proper interface.)
When you talk to a Millennial through Skype (which is how I life-coach teens and young adults throughout the world) and you mention any topic; say... Donald Trump (will this article now have a November shelf-life?) as the word "rump" leaves your lips, they have opened 12 different tabs on all sorts of aspects of the Trumpster; bankruptcies, misogyny, bullying, suing people, bromance with Putin, (fill in the last seven on your own). They have at their fingertips a wide swath of information.
Millennials know everything about everything on a surface level. The problem with too much information is that there is no depth.
Too much information and too many choices leads to an inability to begin anything. When you are in the internet world you see vistas of possibilities and those vistas, without a deeper understanding stop Millennials from trying anything because "what about all those other possibilities? How can I choose?!?"
Then there's kid dancing around in his Star Wars pajamas. Who hasn't seen that and that was one of the first world-wide humiliations on the land of internet.
The two things that stop Millennials in their tracks are based on WebFredonia; not knowing where to start (too many choices) and the fear of public humiliation (Star Wars Pajamas).
Let's look at the three Boomer complaints from inside a Millennial's head:
Teacher: Problem; Never do work, never reach out for help.
Inside the Millennials brain: Yes! I have so many great ideas for this project. Like 20! I'm going to attach all the articles ever made and then I'll write it in the style of War and Peace. My teacher will love it. (One hour before the deadline). Hmmmm. Maybe if I don't go to class today and tell her I was sick, I can get an extension. (Seeing as they haven't started anything).
(Thoughts on actually talking to the teacher). Seriously? Nuh-uh. I have learned it is better to avoid talking to the non-WebFredonians and then all you have is just a nasty mark to deal with and hey, it can be ignored just like spam email. Yes. Bad marks are simply spam email. Erase it and they go away. Nothing exists in WebFredonia once you delete it.
Parent: Problem: Never cleans his room. Never comes to dinner when I call but keeps playing video games (or Facebooking).
Inside the Millennials brain: Clean my room? Sure! If I promise to do it and I really mean it, that's all that matters, right? It's all about really meaning it. Like that text I sent that girl. It was soooo true. But now... the text is gone and it's in the past. Leave my game?!? Betray my WebFredonian compatriots? How dare you?!? You deserve the dreaded... "coming". I don't have to mean it after all, you don't appreciate interrupting our WebFredonian exercises in video-gaming democracy.
Employer: Problem: They never work hard enough. Never listen and always think they know better.
Inside the Millennials brain: What a waste of time. I could get 10 times as much done if you just let me do it when and where I want. Your business is old. Your thinking is old and your coffee tastes like the stuff Gramma made when she confused sugar for baking soda. If you would listen to me, we could get actual Millennials to buy this crap
Now you know what they're thinking and why.
Next step... how to transform procrastinating Millennials into empowered, action based, thought leaders (who do laundry).
To be continued... in our next blog! Stay tuned!