Today as I was surfing LinkedIn I saw an article from Linette Lopez of Business Insider that caught my attention. The title of the article was “Comparing 25- to 34-year-olds now with 25- to 34-year-olds in 1989 is super depressing.” Now when I first saw the title, I figured it was just going to be another article bashing Millennials and our work ethic, but it was actually sticking up for us for a change! Here is some of the data compiled by the Washington, DC-based think tank Young Invincibles. “Today’s young adults with debt and a degree earn the same as workers with no degree earned in 1989.” “Millennials have accumulated about half as many assets as the same age group had in 1989.” “They also make about $10,000 less on average.” That sparked my interest so I immediately had to look up two things 1) What was the average cost of college in 1989 compared to 2013. And 2) What does the inflation rate look like. What I discovered was sickening… The average cost of a 4-year degree in 1989 including total tuition, room, and board according to the National Center for Education Statistics was a whopping $7,212 compared to the 2013 average of $24,706. For you number geeks out there that equates to a 343% increase in the price of tuition. But this number is the one that will really make you sick. The average pay for 25-34-year-olds in 1989 was $50,910. That would mean that according to our average inflation rate of 2.66% between 1989 and 2013 that us “lazy” Millennials would need to be earning an average of $95,643.88 to even break even with the earnings of our 1989 counterparts.
Now, this isn’t just going to be a crying session because we have enough of that in this world as it is. So we were dealt a shitty hand, like really really shitty. Like the guy sitting next to you has a full house and you have a pair of 2’s on the table. The answer is not to protest for a $15 minimum wage. That’s going to do nothing but drive the value of our dollar down, hurting everyone in the long run. The answer is to work harder.
According to Statista, approximately 42.6% of the US population had a college degree in 1989 compared to a whopping 63.4% as of 2013. What does this show you? 1) Higher education has turned into a necessity to find a well-paying career. And 2) Just having a college degree isn’t good enough anymore. It’s time for us to start dedicating more time into self-improvement.
We live in a day in age where we have all of the resources we could want at our fingertips. But how many people are using their smartphones and computers to learn more and not just see who the latest Facebook fight is between? I was guilty of it too until I came to the realization that if I want to be successful I have to be continuously learning. If I’m not, someone else is, and they will be laughing at me in the future while they’re sitting on a beach sipping their strawberry daiquiri and I’m in my cubical dreaming of a day off.
The thought of taking on a new challenge can be extremely overwhelming so it’s important to break it up into smaller bite size chunks. Be passionate about what you’re going to be learning, set goals, make a plan, be patient, and execute. I’ve made a promise to myself to spend a minimum of 2 hours per day on self-improvement (but it’s usually probably closer to 3). That can be anything from reading articles, reading books, meditating, exercising, watching interviews, watching documentaries, something you are going to benefit from.
One of my goals for 2017 is to read every day. I’ve gathered a list of books that I would like to learn from and have cut out TV, Netflix, and any other streaming device from my day. Yes, I will watch them in the evening to decompress, but not until my work is done.
I have also started building connections with people that I want to emulate. It is important to surround yourself with people that you want to be like, even if it is just virtually. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Snapchat are your friends, so use them! Find 5 people per day for 7 days in a row that you want to be like and follow them on every social media platform. Start learning their backgrounds and what kinds of things they have been through in their lives. When you build up enough courage and feel like you have enough information about the person, reach out to them and try to connect with them on a personal level. DO NOT ASK FOR THEIR HELP, OFFER THEM YOUR HELP. These people made it to the position they are in by first providing more value than what they were getting in return. Offer to help them out with any projects that they have going on this year and you will get responses. Side Note: You have to be 100% honest with yourself about what you truly want, not what you kinda want, or would like to have. If that’s the case, you’ll fall off the train very very quickly (I know because I’ve done it).
Cut the bullshit excuses and go. I know about 70% of you after reading this will think to yourself about how you kinda want to live in a mansion, or you kinda would like to be able to afford that Louis Vitton handbag or you kinda want to buy a new Mercedes. Well if you just “kinda” want it, then you’ll never have it. You have to be willing to work tirelessly for little or no pay for an extended amount of time to finally get your chance to be on center stage. If you go through the process, when that opportunity finally arrives, you WILL make it happen because you’ve worked too damn hard not to.