How Millennials Can Find Freedom Within Their Circumstances

Many of the Millennials who come to us for assistance are fighting battles with a very familiar common enemy: anxiety and economic instability.

What is important to Millennials?

The young people seeking our coaching tend to fall into two camps. The majority, perhaps 60%, feel lost and untethered. They are crushed under college debt, they want but don’t yet have a house or a family, and they work hard jobs but haven’t broken into their careers. The other group has means with a job at a great salary, who can buy a home and start a family if they choose, but it comes with the high price of NEVER being able to take a breath. These people are going 24/7, and they are full of chaos and overwhelmed with anxiety. Some of them are amassing huge amounts of credit card debt to keep up with the Joneses and live the life they were told they should achieve in order to be considered complete.

Both of these people have something in common, and in fact they have it in common with many people across different generations as well: they are being held hostage to what the world has told them is important and worthwhile, and their internal measures of worth are being stifled in the process.

Homeownership is a common thread among Millennials right now, who have largely graduated college and been in the workforce for a while, and are looking to move to the next stages of their life. Many Millennials want to be homeowners, and yet an unprecedentedly large number of them are not compared to their parent’s generation. There are many interconnected reasons for this, but a big one is this:

Millennials were born into a very, very different economic reality than their parents were. Both the economy and the housing market have drastically changed in a few short decades.

Millennials: to buy or rent?

Not all that long ago, it was common to afford a college degree as a middle class student with no debt, to easily find some kind of job immediately upon graduation, and to retire with a pension. People born into those circumstances were indeed buying houses by the time they were 30 years old. But as many of you know, those are not the circumstances of today. Mix in a poor job market with little opportunity for new workers, vanishing benefits, and an unfavorable housing market, and it is little wonder that fewer 30 year olds are buying houses than ever. It would be astonishing if they were. The situation may sometimes feel grim, but it is far from hopeless–here’s why.

Once while in Maine, we had a very interesting conversation with some French Canadians on vacation. They were sharing their surprise at the American emphasis on homeownership. They were very confused about why so many people would want to take on the cost and responsibility of managing a piece of property. According to them, they preferred to rent, and have the freedom to go on vacations and have nice dinners. For them, renting was a lifestyle choice that they were happy to make, not a great failure or proof of a hopeless financial situation.

This conversation was fascinating because it reminded us once again about a very basic truth — you can find happiness, success, and self-actualization in any circumstance. To do so, you must first let go of the outside expectations and assumptions that have been holding you back.

We’re often told by Millennial clients that “I should have a house by now” and “they say I should have $x dollars in the bank by the time I’m 30.” Who is “they”? Why is it “should”?

It may be a helpful exercise for some frustrated Millennials to contemplate why they truly want to buy a house; is it because there is truly something intrinsic to homeownership that can provide peace and meaning? Or do you want it because you have been told that you are worthless without it?

You are going to experience pain if you’re looking for a similar outcome with someone that has a different life. Millennials face different challenges and obstacles than the ones their parents faced, and there is no shame or failure in that. In fact, there are some circumstances that are unique to Millennials that hold great opportunity. For one, Millennials have helped build a more progressive and open minded society than existed before. People that were once shut out from society completely are now being acknowledged, valued, and invited to take part.

Millennials also place more emphasis on wellness and the mind-body connection than their predecessors did, and as a result, they are living healthier and more balanced lives for it.

Another recent opportunity is that the path to entrepreneurship is more available now than ever before–tools like Skype and Zoom that have only existed for about a decade make it possible to work from anywhere, and to start a business from home. Many Millennials are taking full advantage of their unique connectedness and adventurous spirit to build thriving online businesses. In our experience, this generation is very grounded, socially compassionate, and interested in caring for and protecting other human beings. They are more connected to the environment, and they want the political policy to care about all people. This makes them incredible agents for change.

The Millennial generation is a brilliant and caring generation!

Far from being the generation with the least opportunities, Millennials have some incredible gifts and opportune circumstances that they can use to build meaningful, complete lives. To do this, each person must decide for themselves what is important to them. Put another way, a quote from Albert Einstein states: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The question we have for you at this point of our journey together is, “What is your genius?”

What, indeed, is your genius? What are your talents and natural gifts that are not currently being tapped into? What are your interests? What are your passions? What change do you want to see in the world? You want to decide what’s important to you, not what the world tells you is important.

Sometimes, the way to move forward is by accepting what “is” right now. Accepting a circumstance is a very different thing from being resigned to that circumstance. When you resign yourself to a bad situation, you pull in anger and resentment. As a result, you close yourself off and aren’t capable of seeing the solutions that may already be available to you. When you accept a situation, you grant yourself the inner peace you need to work on changing it. When you are motivated by anger and fear, you don’t get the results you want. If you’re willing to accept what is, you begin to be motivated by optimism and the belief that things can change and we can solve problems. Whatever you focus on tends to expand. When we focus on the problems in our life, we get more problems. When we focus on solutions, we teach ourselves to find them.

What outside expectations have been holding you back? And what dreams are waiting to pull you forward? Contact us for a no obligation no cost coaching session and we will assist you to uncover the answers to these two questions.

We also invite you to download Eight Tools for Creating Success and Happiness in Your Life as our free gift to you.

Jon Satin and Chris Pattay – The Possibility Coaches™
©2019 Possibility Coaches, LLC

4 thoughts on “How Millennials Can Find Freedom Within Their Circumstances”

  1. My husband and I bought a house this year. Being homeowners made a lot of sense to us, but we have many, many friends who are happily renting and pursuing their dreams. The pressure and expectations of others can truly be hard to drown out sometimes, but it’s work worth doing.

    1. Great insight, Nicole. It is so important for each of us to stand firm on the ground beneath us and live life on our own terms. Until we do so we cannot truly feel happy.

  2. I love this article on so many levels. No matter your age. I keep coming back to the saying “ you do you “.

    Frankly the business model of having a career, house, retiring and playing golf … is broken and has been for a while. I encourage everyone I meet to find their vocation. No matter their age. Attending college for a degree that you are not passionate about with little potential for a career is wasteful – wasteful of time, money, energy.

    I didn’t go the traditional educational route and had a wonderful lucrative career starting at 19 as a secretary working my way up the ladder as my skills grew and matured becoming an analyst at 40. I had very little college debt ($5k) as I went to a trade school and was paid off by 26. I rented, lived and worked various cities (Boston, DC, Baltimore, NYC, Philly) before becoming a homeowner at 45 and married at 46. I worked two jobs up until 3 years ago. Corporate by day and yoga teacher by night. For 15 years. I saved as much as I could through a company sponsored 401k program. Best thing I ever did. Yoga is my passion and my vocation. I took a retirement package at 53 and used it to open my own yoga studio. That was 3 years ago. I’m still working hard at 2 jobs – at my studio and classes at a local gym. It takes time to build your dream. Hard work. Sacrifice. I am enjoying every second of it.

    I encourage those 18 and older, get whatever job you can for the best salary. Take the time to figure out what you like (What color is your parachute book was popular in my day). You may have to work 2 jobs. Even in a good economy I worked 2 jobs so I could save for the future I wanted. What is still true is = It will take many years of hard work and maturity to realize your dream.

    I recommend: Live in a city. Philadelphia is really up and coming and it’s affordable. Sell your car and cancel your car insurance. Rent a small place – I’ve been reading about housing pods – sounds very interesting. Don’t acquire too much stuff. Walk, take public transportation, ride a bike, take Uber or train. Cook your own food. Exercise. It’s important to take care of yourself and exercise releases happy endorphins. Exercise is also rather cheap so it can also be your entertainment. Many of my friends (and now some clients) are from the gym. Figure out what you are passionate about and take a class to learn a new skill. Expand your mind by reading and taking advantage of the opportunity around you. Focus on advancing yourself. Invest in YOU. Dream big but keep your feet on the ground. Stop comparing yourself to others and measuring your worth in $.

    Finally this. If you are comfortable? Then you’ve stopped growing. Think about that. Now go do something wicked uncomfortable.

    1. Thanks, Julie for your words of wisdom. Your story and advice are perfect representations of the adage “when you do what you love and love what you do” the money, and everything else that is beneficial to you, will follow.

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