We live in an advanced, at-your-finger-tips society where it feels like everything happens on social media has become more than just about meeting and engaging with like-minded people.
Looking for funding for a particular project? Need medical advice or want get reunited with missing family members? What about crowdsourcing recommendations for a new apartment? You could even find employment by posting your credentials, qualifications signed off with the right hashtags.
What a time to be alive.
Millennials are constantly being scrutinised for the ways in which we prefer to do things and how we perceive our world, and one of the motifs that experts in millennial behaviour always mention is that we have entitlement issues. According to Forbes.com, millennials "grew up to believe that the world already owed them something, and complain when they don’t immediately get it."
I like to think of millennials as a generation that finds creative and practical ways to make things happen, and not relenting until the vision in mind comes to pass. But this positive belief often holds less firm when I see that, once in a while, you come across young people who feel entitled to things without understanding that there needs to be some work put in, or at least an action plan in play in order to achieve what you want.
Live from the Twitter streets, a woman received DMs from someone trying to get funding for, um, a trip to the U.S. Although it might sound like the individual is trying to pursue their dreams overseas, there is no plan for what they want to do, how they're going to do it and what they already have to work with.
This is my inbox daily...So many young people want everything but are not willing to do a damn thing for it...— Relebogile Mabotja (@RelebogileM) July 22, 2018
No CV. No details. No motivation. No formality.
Just words on dreams...what they are I don’t know...
Don’t do this kids... pic.twitter.com/xONB4HVxBq
This isn't the only instance. There are tons of posts where people ask for funding or for new products in exchange for the bare minimum, and sometimes in exchange for retweets. Yes, retweets. So that implies that you probably don't need money, or a winning CV, or an action plan to get what you need: people just have to get your post retweeted enough.
In an interview with the British editor of Vogue, Oprah Winfrey expresses that her frustration with young people is that we expect everything to happen instantaneously. It's not a very realistic mindset to have, and it's difficult not to have it when we are bombarded with stories of people becoming overnight sensations on social media.
The fact of the matter is, most of the things we want need to be worked for, and we're a generation that knows how to work smart as opposed to working hard, so social media should be a powerful tool to use a means to get to your goal, and not as a platform for handouts.
Nicki Minaj once tweeted that she would pay for a lucky individual's school fees, granted that they show her straight As. DJ Sbu also promised to retweet whoever has a business and is looking for clients and customers - that's free publicity for people who have something to work with.
Attention hustlers! Real recognise real. I feel your struggle because I'm a hustler like you. I RT all entrepreneurs brands, products &/or businesses no questions asked. Just tag me using this hashtag -> #djsbu & full information (pics / vids) of your hustle & I will do best! pic.twitter.com/pdHSQjOK7w— DJ Sbu (@djsbu) July 7, 2018
The point is to have a game plan, do your research, be active in finding the people who could help you, and always be prepared and ready when someone does decide to help you.
Another Oprah pearl - “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.”
A few millennials shared their perspectives on entitlement:
Lebohang believes that social media and the influencer lifestyle affects how entitled we are:
Regarding entitlement, I would say that millennials feel that they deserve free things because a lot of companies have been using that as a ploy to get millennials to join in, or to raise awareness of their products. Especially with influencers; we know that influencers get a lot of their stuff for free so if you see someone else getting their stuff for free, you’d be like "let me try my luck and ask for 50 000 retweets so I can get free things."
Most of the time it’s cute - it’s a nice gesture - but other times you really can go get it yourself.
Andile agrees that our entitlement lies in how we expect things from others:
I think to an extent, we are entitled. Even the less entitled people know that someone needs to meet you halfway, no one is going to help you from scratch. The people before us are more likely to make something out of nothing with a "I'll help myself" mentality, while entitled people are more likely to fold their arms and expect a hand out first with the mindset of "Someone's going to help me".
Even in bigger issues, even with relationships, we see the entitlement as "She must do this for me; he must do that for me"; or you feel entitled to a better phone even when it's your parents' money.
Simphiwe attests to instant gratification:
We're very entitled, yes, but I want to explore the reasons why we might be this way, and I think it has to do with how the current world is set up. We live in a world of instant gratification: from our apps to our food, so we're so used to things being done quickly, almost instantly - be it googling an answer or making two-minute noodles.
Over time, I think this could’ve changed our thinking into believing in instant rewards, leading to frustration when we don’t achieve what we want to achieve quickly enough. How can we understand practically working for stuff and earning things in the long term if we’re so conditioned to expect things quickly.
I don’t believe our problem is that we’re entitled, but rather, we’re impatient; too impatient to work hard for periods long enough to earn the things we truly want.
Charnele thinks entitlement has to do with how we were raised:
I think we're entitled because of modern parenting styles. I get the whole thing about trying to make our children feel good about themselves or feel better about themselves, or show them we love them, but sometimes we overdo it. You grow up in a house that tells you you’re the best, you’re the king or queen; and there’s nothing wrong with that, but the way the parents portray it, they make their children live a competitive life even with their neighbours.
Another thing that makes us entitled is this instant gratification we see on social media. You post something on social media, you get 50 likes - adding to what your parents reinforced. You get that instant gratification and you feel like "yes, I deserve it because my mother says so and because the world has proven it."
*These opinions were minimally edited for clarity and length
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