If your parents are Baby Boomers and you were born any time between the late 1970s and the mid 1990s, then you’re a lucky member of Generation Y!
This generation happens to be comprised of a large contingent of yuppies, whom one author dubbed as the “Generation Y Protagonists and Special Yuppies” or GYPSYs, for short.
Unfortunately, many GYPSYs are a rather unhappy group. To understand why, let’s look at what constitutes happiness.
In most cases, happiness occurs when reality is better than your expectations. When life falls short of your expectations, unhappiness is often the result.
In past generations, such as the Baby Boomer generation (your parents) or the GI Generation (your grandparents and others who lived circa the Great Depression and World War II), people have placed tremendous value on economic security and a fruitful, stable career. They were willing to work hard to make it happen, and ultimately, the people of these generations achieved their goals.
The GI Generation saw tremendous economic and social improvements after the Great Depression and World War II, so life exceeded their expectations. The same goes for the Baby Boomers. The 50s and 60s were nice, but the 70s, 80s and 90s brought tremendous and somewhat unexpected economic growth and prosperity, leaving the members of the Baby Boomer generation even more successful than they could have hoped to become!
In both cases, reality turned out to be better than their expectations.
But for Generation Y or the GYPSYs, things have been very different. They were raised by Baby Boomers who taught Gen Y-ers that the possibilities are endless! This new generation sought to achieve even more than their parents. Generation Y is, quite simply, incredibly ambitious. They’re no longer happy living the “American dream.” They want to live their own personal dream; their own unique definition of success.
Generation Y doesn’t want career security, they want a career that’s fulfilling; something they enjoy.
In fact, Gen Y’s members don’t just want a fulfilling career. These people don’t just want to achieve their dreams. They believe they’re special, gifted and exceptional – that’s what their Baby Boomer parents always told them.
Unfortunately, GYPSYs are a bit deluded. They believe they’re special. They’re certain that they’re going to be better than not only their parents, but other members of their own generation.
They don’t want a pretty little house, with a white picket fence and a lush green lawn.
They don’t want a pretty little house, with a white picket fence, a lush green lawn, and gorgeous rose bushes.
No, Gen Y wants a custom-built house, with a hand-crafted fence, a lush green lawn, dotted with imported trees and a fountain that spews liquid gold.
Generation Y believes they’re special. And unlike their Baby Boomer parents, who knew that lots of hard work would lead to a great career, GYPSYs believe they’re entitled to a great career simply because they’re special. GYPSYs don’t want to invest the effort and hard work. There’s an entitlement complex at play here. And this results in lots of disappointment because that’s simply not how the world works. In reality, many of the most successful individuals don’t achieve success in their 20s or even their 30s. It takes decades of hard work to earn and work toward that true success.
Except Generation Y members have a difficult time accepting this.
This theory was even verified by Gen Y expert and University of New Hampshire Professor Paul Harvey, who noted that GYPSYs suffer from an “inflated” view of self, combined with “unrealistic expectation and a strong resistance toward accepting negative feedback.”
Quite simply, Gen Y expects that they are entitled to things that, in reality, must be earned with hard work and talent. As a result, GYPSYs have expectations that surpass what’s truly possible in reality and unhappiness is the result.
To make matters worse, Gen Y is obsessed with social media outlets such as Facebook, where it’s simple to craft an image that’s very different from your reality. Virtually everyone crafts an image that’s a bit different from their reality. This online image is often quite deceiving. And it only makes matters worse, as it GYPSYs look around at their peers, all of whom seem to be enjoying tremendous success! This only reinforces their deluded beliefs of what ought to be attainable to someone at their current stage in life. More misery and unhappiness is the result.
So how can Gen Y-ers find happiness? Well, there are a few solutions!
First, don’t lose that ambition! There’s nothing wrong with ambition; it’s what drives success! But remember to be patient.
Whether it’s your career or your fitness, ambition can serve you very well. It’s what drives you to power through one more repetition at the gym; in fact, ambition is what gets you to the gym in the first place! You need ambition; it’s what drives you to want more and it helps you to push past mediocrity. But you need to be reasonable about it too. Your body won’t transform overnight, even with the best personal trainer and top Crossfit program! Neither will your career. Or your relationships. It takes time, hard work and the drive to succeed!
Next, drop the entitlement mentality. It’s not helpful. You’re young. You’re full of possibility. But you don’t have tons of experience yet and you haven’t “done your time” yet. It takes years to become a true expert in your career field. It also takes time to take your body to the next level as you work out at the gym. And it takes time to work your way up the ranks in a social organization. Nothing worth having comes easy. You need to work for it. You’re not entitled, nor are you special. Once you “get” this, you’ll find that life will seem much easier!
Finally, don’t worry about what others are doing! Whether you’re browsing your peers’ profiles on Facebook (take those online brags and boasts with a grain of salt, by the way) or working out at the gym, don’t compare yourself to others. It’s easier said than done. But comparing yourself to others will only make you feel awful. Everyone is unique. We all develop, learn and progress at different rates. Just because you’re not successful today, it doesn’t mean you won’t be successful down the road.
What’s more, your comparisons are often apt to be unfair. You may look at that other gym-goer’s carved, toned physique with envy, but you may fail to realize that he spends 40 hours a week at the gym, working hard to look this way, while you’re lucky to make it to the gym for three hours per week. The same goes for your career, your hobbies and beyond. You can’t compare yourself to others; it’s simply not productive. Focus on yourself. Set some goals and work toward achieving those goals; you’ll soon find it’s a source of tremendous happiness!
With these tips, even the most entitled, delusional GYPSY can turn it around and achieve real happiness!
- Coach Carlos