You can name a whole slew of issues that hold you back from leading a fulfilling and more freeing lifestyle — this mode of living may not be perfect or full of joy 100% of the time, but at the very least, it’s the kind that frees you from having to put up with work that drains you and people who belittle you whenever you try to live up to your full potential and share life goals that have to do with getting rid of the need to gain the approval of everyone but yourself.
Procrastination. Watching too much TV. Overspending. Comparing yourself to people on social media. Feeling too tired to work on something you like to do. Saying “yes” to everything that doesn’t align with your long-term goals, no matter how much you want to say no. Lack of focus. Not putting in enough effort. Choosing to go shopping instead of investing in yourself. Not learning enough outside of work.
While those bad habits can hold you back and many writers have written millions of articles and blog posts about how to overcome them, let me tell you about one significant hindrance — which may be an elephant in the room of some sort — that undermines your potential and keeps you paralyzed, possibly more than anything else.
It’s not taking the kind of action that would help you the most, based on how other people dealt with their different circumstances.
This is highly relevant to Millennials today because they are constantly bombarded with unsolicited advice, often given in a demeaning and counterproductive manner. It doesn’t help them do their best work or strategize ways to make their lives better as a whole. It’s just discouraging and distracting — and highly irrelevant, too.
There are middle-class Millennials who live as if they’re dirt poor and remain stuck in toxic work environments or perhaps they’re underemployed and barely getting by in a typical paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle, but they’re comfortable enough where they have the option of pursuing the kind of work that’s fulfilling to them and would enable them to gain financial freedom faster because being a cog in a wheel is no longer sustainable in 2019, and this especially applies to those who are creative, individualistic, and forward-thinking. And there are also Millennials who are unemployed and wasting time shotgunning resumes into the black holes of cyberspace while neglecting their personal growth — they don’t take advantage of online courses or personal branding strategies and instead, fester in guilt and resentment for being forced to enter a lifetime of drudgery and dead end work, while stifling their productivity in the process.
They’re trying to force the dead horse to come back to life.
And some people have the option of not putting up with that, but they don’t use their privileges to get ahead or secure a better future for themselves. Instead, they put themselves down and constrain themselves out of some debilitating sense of guilt that only sets them back ten steps and leads them closer to failure.
Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur or even work at a small startup, but some are determined and have so much potential, yet they remain stuck in miserable environments out of irrational, debilitating fear and external pressure. And some of these Millennials have the means to start whatever it is they have planned for, but they feel guilty when they think they could be doing better things in life, so they slog through the daily grind while slowly killing their potential.
They feel trapped and controlled and demeaned. Some of them either hate their jobs, hate the toxic people they have to put up with, hate the paltry salaries they’re earning, or worse, all three, but they’re afraid of what other people would think of them, especially when they focus too much on those who are underprivileged and an unfortunate side effect of this is that these unhappy Millennials surrender themselves to the “machine” and waste their energy by procrastinating on what they love — after all, “not everyone can afford that luxury,” they reason, but that’s just an excuse formed by a victim mentality.
Now I completely understand that millions of people have no choice and that they cannot easily move up or get out of harsh circumstances. That is not the focus of this article. Rather, I want to address an issue that’s not commonly spoken of in order to analyze why Millennials remain stuck and insecure for prolonged periods of time even when they do have the resources to get out.
Your life is your own, period. Don’t worry about the hypothetical ways you could’ve grown up differently.
You need to help yourself and make decisions based on what’s best for you in your current situation. Not anyone else’s. Not the rich person’s. Not the poor person’s. Not the debt-ridden person’s. Not those who are sick from a rare illness. Yours.
You may not be like the super elite people who have the luxury to do whatever they’d like whenever they want to and you probably still have to be sensible and frugal. But you also may not be like the poor people who have no choice but to work long hours at the local gas station because that’s all there is. You’re probably somewhere in the middle.
Now, it is important to note that not everyone can do what you do. You probably have some advantages and disadvantages. And your own set of circumstances, which is like no one else’s. You need to come up with your own strategy and customize it and equip yourself in a way that best helps you to move forward and enable you to have more control over your life — and you’re wasting your time thinking about what certain people have or don’t have.
You aren’t better or worse than other people. You are just you. And nobody is more moral or less moral based on what they went through. Why worry about how you compare to other people who grew up differently? It’s killing your productivity and moving your focus away from what’s really important — you and what you’re best at.
It is unfortunate that some have it worse than others. And how some have it so bad that they cannot get out no matter how hard they work because of oppressive factors that are largely out of their control. No one deserves that and it’s inhumane and somebody has to do something about that — but the average person who’s slightly more well-off still has to worry about not falling behind, and helping oneself is time-consuming, draining, and worrisome in and of itself. Major systematic reform is needed, no questions asked (but this is a topic for another discussion by someone with more socio-political experience).
No matter what is happening to other people from different backgrounds or what generations prior had to deal with, right now, your priority is to help yourself by doing what you are best at — it’s a waste of time to do what isn’t meant to be or pursue what you really aren’t meant for, no matter how much you try to force it to happen.
If you can do so, focus on what you do best, what you’re most interested in, and what area you have the highest aptitude in. Why waste time slowing yourself down when you could speed up and excel in what you’re most likely to succeed in? Why waste time putting up with the drama and pettiness of people who only discourage you from pursuing your best interests for your own happiness and security?
You don’t have precious time to waste worrying about Baby Boomers, rich people, poor people, your peers, or really anyone who could be questioning you for the choices you make because that’s ultimately going to make YOU fall behind and stuck in a wage-slave lifestyle that doesn’t guarantee long-term security or personal happiness anyway.
Your life is your own. Focus on your own circumstances and don’t keep beating a dead horse if something isn’t working out for you.
If you want to find a better-paying job and work with supportive and driven people just like you, go ahead and take the time you need to brush up on the skills they require.
If you want to turn your side gig into a full-time job, go ahead and make that happen.
If you want to go back to school, make sure you can afford it and once you can, nothing is stopping you from getting the degree you want.
If you simply want to take a long vacation, you can totally do that too.
You need to free yourself in whatever way is most possible for you. That is your number one priority. Quit making excuses, especially when those excuses are centered upon what other people can or can’t do with their lives.
Take control of your circumstances when the times are good before they take control over you.
Because you don’t owe your needless, self-imposed suffering or victimhood to anyone.