Why would you want to learn to think like a Millennial? Perhaps because you don’t understand your children? Perhaps because you are a teacher and you have no idea to connect with them, discipline them, or inspire them to want to know more? Perhaps because you have just employed one, or are just about to and you are wondering why they seem different to you. The fact is, there are lots of them (they are the biggest population group in the world in terms of numbers), they are all around us and they are powerful young people.
Irrationally predictable – that is how I would describe what I know of Generation Y. They are such an interesting generation. On one level they are more homogenous than any other generation in South Africa (across the socio-economic divides) because they have all been born ‘free’ into the new South Africa. They have also all grown up being exposed to globalization, technology (to varying degrees), mobile telephones and rapid change. What they have in common is their ability to question what they don’t see the point of, their interest in saving the world (either at large or immediately around them), their ability to be informed, their willingness to be expressive, their open-mindedness and their honesty when giving feedback. But, as we know, they are a generation who have grown up with an awful lot of choice and so there is a lot of diversity amongst them. I think society allows its members to live how they want to live, like never before; and notwithstanding the restrictions of one’s social, cultural, economic and environmental circumstances, Generation Y in South Africa are able to live in a manner that they wish, like no generation before them.
I always use the example of religion. This generation choose whether or not they are going to do religion, and then they choose which religion that is going to be and for how long. This is not to say they are not spiritual, because they can be, but as with everything else, they won’t do it unless they understand why they are doing it.
So, how to think like them: