Millennials are confident. We’ve been told that we are winners just for showing up. We get prizes and trophies for participating. We are told that we are special and different and wonderful. We are told this is a bad thing. We are told that these are lies. We are told we can’t all be extraordinary. But let me say this:
Even the word “extraordinary” has ordinary within it. Each individual essentially begins the same. A babbling, buoyant, but uneducated baby: raw potential. What sets an individual apart is not an inherent difference, but rather the way their raw potential is cultivated. It is this cultivation of youth that allows our society to advance and individuals to attain remarkable success and achieve extraordinary accomplishments. Therefore, it is logical that to realize the best possible society, youth should be encouraged often, sincerely, and equally.
There are endless examples of remarkable accomplishments that would not have occurred had the individuals responsible for them accepted that it simply was not possible. Indeed, those who are “realistic” are often simply limited in their creativity and inventiveness. Reality is constantly changing. What was not possible two years ago is attainable today; what was not even imaginable 10 years ago is commonplace. (Look at technology!)Those who are “realistic” and actively impose on a child with a big imagination, that it simply is not possible for them to achieve their dreams, hinder progress in our world
Extraordinary accomplishments are extraordinary because they are the things that others believed to be impossible. Excuse my cliched examples, but what would technology look like today if Bill Gates believed it when he was told that it was a ridiculous idea to have a personal computer in the home of every middle class American? What would society be like if Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t have a dream; if Elizabeth Cady Stanton believed that women were as insignificant as many told her? In actuality it is the people who dream big and are taught to believe that their dreams are attainable that achieve great success and improve society as a whole.
In reality it is not possible for every individual to achieve any goal they set. However isn’t it far better to encourage youth to reach or even exceed their potential than to deter successes they might have had by throwing that “reality” in their face? Furthermore, when met with frustration and obstacles, the encouragement that they receive will push them to continue to search for success. All those special millennial snowflakes will keep working toward their goals because they are the special one. Though not every individual will be able to achieve their ultimate goal, the process of striving for that success will lead them to greater knowledge and fulfillment of their ultimate potential.
So let the millennials have their participation trophies. Keep telling us we are amazing. There are many of us who strive to do everything in our power to prove you right.