Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Millennial Question.

*Kindly note that this is a long post...a mild rant, if you will.*

So it is Thursday Post day!!!!!! Yay!!!!

Hello guys and dolls. 

How has your week been going?

I'm seriously trying to keep to my weekly blogging schedule. This is post 3 in January, so I can say it's looking good.

So...I wanted to show you guys a video I happened upon. It's about 15 minutes long but it is worth the time just to listen to the stuff this guy called Simon Sinek has to say.

Have you checked out the video?

What do you think? Be sure to leave a comment below if you agree or disagree or agree in part or vice versa.

I'll share my thoughts (for what they're worth).

I most certainly agree with him.

So I have decided to look at his views from my situational eyes i.e. being a Nigerian Millennial. If I am asked to rank the four factors Simon identified in order of importance for how it impacts Nigerian millennials, I would rank them as follows:

  1. Enviroment 
  2. Impatience
  3. Technology
  4. Parenting  

Let me now break down how I think these factors have impacted or are impacting us as a millennial generation.

1. Environment

We have a dearth of leadership and it has affected the outlook of the country and millennials. Education is a non-factor. Jobs are non existent. This is one generation that was worse hit by the decay in society. I had an uncle tell me once how my generation was to fix Nigeria and I almost bit his head off. My answer was "with what?". He was of the generation of scholarships. Meal tickets at federal universities. Jobs waiting for them in civil service. Entering the workforce fully with a school leaving certificate. All of that at their disposal and what did they do, they packed the ladders and burnt them before the next generation could step on one rung. If they had all of that and could not fix their country, edakun, what am I now supposed to do? The generation that you keep changing it for everytime? To give their children a competitive edge, they sent them abroad. To make sure they got better jobs, they insisted school leaving certificates were not good enough and we should all aim for university degrees. When we all started flooding the job markets with our certificates, they decided they only want post graduate degree holders. And on and on. The game keeps on changing. The millennial has to deal with nepotism and bureaucracy and doesn't know whether he is coming or going. So he stopped playing by the rules and that's where things went from bad to worse and that leads to point two: impatience. 

2. Impatience

I agree with him completely that millennials are impatient.  We are the most informed generation - we know what everybody is doing, we know where everyone is. It makes us itch to do great things but leaves no room for a respect for process. There are several factors that contribute to our impatience and a disdain for process such as environment, societal pressures, religion.  

Just talk to people about their hopes and aspirations and you find that they have no concept of process. Talk to an average millennial who wants to start a business. They can give you projections for 2018 and talk about the site of the business and what they hope to generate. There's no consideration given to marketing, getting and retaining customers and all the things that businesses are truly about.(Look at Instagram vendors for example) They just want the lifestyle that owning a business can afford. They want to hit. They want to hammer. They want "Dangote Money" never mind that Dangote has been at it since 1977. Social media influences, where you see E-Money spraying people's salaries out of a card counting machine, fuel this desire to hit without giving thought to how to get to the place of hammering. 

Now add religion to the mix and it becomes toxic.

As a christian, I've heard of how God can bring a man from the jail house to make him a prime minister. How God can bring you from a hundred steps back and put you in the front. Do I believe? Yes I do...with qualifications. When our religious leaders say things like this, they make God out to be a waiver of processes. Newsflash: God is not. He is a process guy. 

There's a time to be born, a time to die, a time to plant and a time to harvest.

That does not sound like Someone who abhors process. 

Our generation has taken preparation and preparedness and thrown it out of the window. Messages of triple promotion that you did nothing to earn or deserve, validate that action. The non-spiritual ones are impatient to hit and will hit by any means necessary . The spiritual ones think they should get what they want because they asked God nicely. We no longer respect process. We have no time for process. 

It even shows up in how we work. We literally have no joy doing day in and day out things. We want excitement. When he mentioned wanting to make an impact, I nearly fell out laughing. I use that word...I've heard others use that word. We use it liberally. We want to make a huge impact. We are not content to contribute to rippling waters like small pebbles, we want to make a big splash like when you toss a boulder in a sea.We are told we should make big splashes, at home, in church and at work. Contributing to the the common good is too basic for us.  So we get very bored very quickly in our jobs and businesses. We want what is new and what is next to keep it fresh and interesting. Unfortunately for us, most jobs don't work like that. They are regular, repetitive and routine. No matter how many times we hop from job to job, we'd still end up doing routine work. It's a fact of work life. I think our parents were the last truly content generation. They were patient, worked the jobs they had for decades and respected process. 

3. Technology

There's a Yoruba insult that goes "wo ti gba were m'esin". It is typically used to insult overly religious people and literally means accepting madness as part of religion. This is how I view Nigerian millennials and technology. We have accepted madness as part of our technological advancement to where we can't see the forest for the trees anymore. 

I have a love-hate relationship with technology. I am not chained to my phone (much to the annoyance of my friends and family). I have social media accounts. I tweet when I want and Instagram when I like. My facebook account is moribund. After I grew bored with Bobrisky, my Snapchat has grown cobwebs. I'm not of the millennials he was referring to in the technology section but I also have problems with them. Private technology is new to us. Mobile phone technology was introduced to Nigeria for widespread use in 2001. So generally, Nigerians don't use technology in a respectful manner. Couple that with the fact that we don't do things (especially bad things) by half, it is my pleasure to introduce you to the fanatic and militant Nigerian millennial social media users.

The Nigerian culture (across all cultures) is typically a hospitable and relational culture. That is all but dead now. Communication has been reduced to a series of 140 character blasts. I find social media interesting because it gives the illusion that we are allowed to opt out of real life. On twitter you see this kind of post flash across your way often:

 "it's not just twitter. People are getting married. People are doing big business. Be there saying it is just twitter".

That to me is the dumbest crap ever. It IS just twitter, despite that. That...which has been described as the "magic of social media" is in effect, People got married and did business before twitter and would continue after twitter, if there's an after. 

The joys that my generation finds on twitter is the same thing that is destroying their social skills. What twitter does that is uniquely fascinating is that it brings a group of like minds together into a clique. You are able to screen people by their ideas and ideals and decide whether or not they are worth following. This is cool. But when you spend most of life on twitter, you are conditioned to think your opinion and those of your like minded friends are the only opinions that count. America found out to their dismay last year that this, isn't in fact, true. Life does not allow you screen the people you come in contact with. It is by coming in contact with the good, the bad and the ugly that we develop street smarts and vital communication tools. When I see differences in opinion degenerate to epic conflicts online, I am more convinced that millennials are becoming less and less capable of disagreeing amicably because we feel we just don't have to. Why should I disagree amicably with you when I can just block you? Our forebears believed that you might need people in the future. They did not subscribe to the idea of burning bridges. We have no qualms with setting bridges alight and watching them burn. The relational side of us is dying. I'd call it a type of disuse atrophy. We don't care because we are getting the validation of our cliquey-clique. To me, I feel a way of life is coming to an end and I'm dreading the new way of life that is emerging. 

We are so obsessed with retweets that people STEAL TWEETS! Imagine that? Just so a bunch of faceless and unknown people can say "that banged!" "nice one!" ????? People "sub" people who "unfollowed" them. I used my hand to follow you, why do I now need your permission to unfollow you?  People are validated by the number of followers they have. When you are ill and you just want someone there to say "I bought you ribena" how many can you count on? I am stressed out by the idiocy of living a life online and if it is this off-putting in my generation, what will happen in my children's time?  

Those who live their lives online do not see that they have an addiction. I like that he broke it down on how it is an equivalent of smoking, alcohol and gambling. I logged out of my active social media accounts for almost two weeks now. I have returned thrice to twitter to post a link of my new post and to retrieve a message. As nonchalant as I am about social media, I found that I struggled. I'd pick up my phone and hit the icons then see my sign in page. It became reflex to just pick up my phone and hit the icons. If I had not signed out and just said I won't look at them, any time I hit those icons, I'd be 4 weeks deep into someone's Instagram account before I realise. Social media has revealed the voyeuristic tendencies we all had that would have been considered creepy in times past. In fact we have turned things on its head with this stuff...we want to talk to people that aren't there and spy on people we aren't necessarily friends with and live vicariously through them, shouting "goals" at every nonsense thing they do for attention online, while slapping filters on what is really going on in their lives and we think this is how to live????

4. Parenting

I am on the upper spectrum of millennials and discipline was still very important at that time. I was born during the first Buhari administration so War Against Indiscipline was widespread and it entered into our homes. Thus, I have never received a participation medal for anything. My parents only came to my school on visiting days and occasionally for PTA. 

Along the line, there was a shift from the traditional parenting. 

Parents began to do things that were considered odd just to move their kids along in life. In my first year at Ogun State University, I had a friend whose mother would "sort" lecturers during exams just so he would pass. At the time, I couldn't wrap my head around it. But things gradually got worse.
Spanking became child abuse. Doing house chores to build a sense of responsibility got outsourced to domestics. Teaching children to respect their elders became "respect is reciprocal".

Some of our parents and some of us who are parents began raising obnoxious and entitled kids. Obnoxious and entitled kids grow up to be obnoxious and entitled adults. 

Millennials' parents now think that their child/ward shouldn't have to go through a singular struggle to get where they need to be. So we see a lot of "parental involvement" in the lives of people who are considered adults in the eyes of the law. 

The trickle down effect is that millennials won't do a good job raising children. I've seen the most spoilt children and I am just itching to reset them with a well placed slap but...child abuse. So in the upcoming, millennial raised generation, we will see more participation awards and kids whose sense of entitlement would be unparalleled. It is a vicious cycle. 

We are a generation susceptible to raising a generation of over-coddled, impatient and technology dependent addicts who would live in an environment that doesn't give a hoot about their sensibilities.

As the Chinese proverb says: May we live in interesting times. 

What are your thoughts on his views and on my thoughts?


  1. May you live in interesting times is not a Chinese proverb, it's a Chinese curse.

    I agree with a lot of this, especially the part about impatience. I feel very impatient about a lot of my goals and I often struggle with fear that the moment or life will pass me by.
    I think the reason this is becoming more common is that before social media when we were struggling, we thought everyone our age was in the same boat, dealing with the same issues and struggles.
    Social media allows people who would have never rubbed shoulders in real life to see what each other's lives are like, and I think people are discovering to their shock and dismay, that not everybody is "struggling" or "hustling" or "suffering" like they thought.

    Some people, and it's actually a great many people are living lavish lives of luxury that others cannot even begin to dream of and now that it's in your face, you can't help but feel resentful of your present situation and anxious to transcend to better things as quickly as possible.

    Spot on too about our parents' generation getting everything then totally destroying the country. That's why I honestly don't know why they expect us to respect them. A lot of people in that generation are useless people yet go around demanding respect because they have children and are married.

    1. I think the best part of this post is the last paragraph of sugabelly's reply. Why on earth do I have to respect people who demand respect just because. I see alot of dense older people who want to just be "respected" without contributing anything meaningful to Society.
      Growing up in your own world truly makes u think everyone is going through the same hustle, but alas SM opens your eyes to reality, you've got to make this money somehow.
      May God help us all....

    2. You are right that it is now out here in our faces that not everyone is of the suffering and smiling class. That young people are getting things done and those things are "yuge" things to boot. This makes us antsy and we stay questioning our choices. No wonder a huge number of us are just clinically depressed and we don't know it or can't treat it because "you are not depressed in Jesus' name!" is the typical response to such "notion". Your last paragraph made me howl!!!! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Girl, I don't want to do an epistle here but honestly, I agree with almost everything you put u here. I saw that video a couple of weeks ago and I was just smh while i was watching.

    1. Thanks doll. Thanks for reading and commenting

  3. Nice! First off I have learnt something new. And I understand better now. I don't know about parenting failure. My mom could use eye to settle you. Na eye we de look before we chop outside sef no matter how close the family. Funny enough this was norm amongst my peers. I first encountered parents bribing when teaching. I almost fainted. A parent bribing a teacher to pass his/her child is not just criminal but wicked. So the child passes and then if a doctor he/she will incompetently treat a person who will die for no other reason but a parent's wickedness. I know that as humans we have a deep seated desire for validation but social media explodes it. How many people remembered your birthday or how many people liked your pix is a real dopamine fix.

    1. That's what we are here for. Glad you learn something. A lot of us on the upper and in-between millennial spectrum don't even understand some of these things. My mum was also an "eye expert" so I know how that goes. It is wicked and criminal and just downright devilish to purport to "help" your child/ward in that manner. It is clear they have no thought for the future and the havoc that child is getting ready to wreck. Thanks for reading and commenting

  4. As always i enjoyed reading your thoughts and i largely agree with you. I am 'borderline millennial' so maybe like you, i have the privilege of comparing then and now especially with regard to the parenting factor. The way i see it, the demarcation between the millennials and non-millennials has almost faded as the non-millennials are leaning so much towards the millennials, struggling to fit in just for a stamp of approval, validation if you may. Then there are the millennial's just a struggle for all of us!

    1. Thank you so very much. Thant means a lot. raised a very interesting point. It's like the video said, folks just don't really know what to make of millennials and perhaps the non-millennials have adopted the "if you can't beat them, join them" approach to just get by in this fast changing world. I agree that it is such a struggle. We can only wait to see how it pans out and may God help us all. Lol. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. Very insightful as usual. According to Simon's definition of millennial I missed it by one year. And this is even more evident in the fact that I'm comfortable in my job, I have no desire to make an impact save for finding my purpose, I'm not on snapchat, I barely tweet or know how to retweet and I don't even know the meaning of 'sub' ��
    I had a convo with my M-I-L once about how they as parents started of strict but have now descended into total pampering by paying our bills and trying to get us jobs through their connections. And she said no parent likes to see their child suffer. In their time things were easier even with the struggle but now things are too hard for us. Hmmm so in that vein millennial parents don't want their children to 'suffer' and what we have, as you rightly pointed out, is a vicious cycle.
    And the impatience from religion Wow! Spot on. That's why I'm a proud Catholic. We take it slow ��

    1. Thank you ma'am. Bwahahahaha..your comments on social media deficiency made me laugh out loud. I mean, I understand that times are excruciatingly hard and our parents would just rather provide the needed help so we don't "join bad gang" to get what we need but you find that even the things they should just watch to see how the child handles, they immediately step in and we can see how this is affecting homes and families today; just see a lot of the young married couples and peep some of their issues from home finance to raising their children and it is a whole lot of mess. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  6. I agree with the video and with your article. You hit it on the head. I also have that love-hate relationship with social media.


    1. Thanks dear. Welcome back from the 'moon. Thanks for reading and commenting


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