We’ve heard it all before: millennials are lazy, entitled, impatient and constantly glued to social media. Some of that might be true. But here are 11 so-called millennial traits and ideas and the way people have used them to accomplish some amazing things.
1. Possessing an unstoppable drive
Brian Kearney, a 23-year-old college student who started his own PR firm, believes his unstoppable drive has allowed him to be successful.
“The millennial mindset has definitely helped me get to where I am today. Like most millennials, I have an unstoppable drive and feel there’s no limit to what I can achieve if I put my mind to it.”
2. Feeling entitled
Krystian Szastok, a 28-year-old digital marketer who came from Poland to England at the age of 20 after dropping out of university, believes his sense of entitlement allowed him to increase his income significantly.
“The mentality of being ever optimistic and having a “can do” attitude, combined with the sense of entitlement allows me to never settle for anything and always go an extra mile to accomplish my goals.”
3. Constantly improving
Michelle Burke is the 24-year-old marketing supervisor for WyckWyre and believes her constant desire to better herself has been key to her success.
“Millennials love feedback from managers, whether positive or constructive criticism, to learn how to advance themselves. Work on individual and group projects at work to further your career and skills in the workplace, and this will lead to ultimate success.”
4. Being idealistic
Sean Higgins is the co-founder of software company, Ilos, that just closed its seed funding round, and he believes that being idealistic help millennials get ahead.
“We’re idealists because in any new venture there will be good days and bad. Honing in on how you help people and listening to the feedback you get are the things that keep you going. It’s that passion, that commitment, that gets you through tough times.”
5. Putting freedom before money
Brad Hines is a 30-year-old lifehacker and digital marketing strategist who believes that putting freedom and lifestyle before money has made him successful.
“I have total work flexibility in a job I created myself, freedom to travel, I am healthy, and I focus more on enjoying work than making the most money. A lot of the lifehacking mentality has helped, for example, I put my finances and menial work on automation this year.”
6. Putting meaning before money
Jill Jacinto, 29-year-old associate editorial and communications director, believes that millennials are successful because they seek out meaningful careers instead of chasing dollars.
“The millennial generation created a nation of people who are doing their best to truly live their dreams. We’re no longer accepting jobs based on dollar signs. We’re seeking professions with merit and meaning. We’re looking to work hard but enjoy life — it’s not just a façade for Instagram.”
7. Doing things your own way
Graham Bensinger, 28-year-old host and creator of “In Depth With Graham Bensinger,” believes that doing things differently and straying from the path of “normal” has created success for him. After a bad experience interviewing Terrell Owens for traditional sports media lead to Terrell being suspended, Graham created his own sports interview show that allows him to do things his way.
“As a freelance interviewer, I sometimes found myself unsatisfied as I handed over editorial control to a producer because I was unsure of what he or she would decide to air. By creating my own show, I have the freedom of choice and the episodes reflect my preferred approach to deeper, well-rounded discussions with prolific sports figures.”
8. Taking risks
Jenny Tchinnosian is the founder and director of SoulFire, a digital communication agency. The 27-year-old was born in Argentina and believes that her ability to take risks has allowed her to create a life that she is excited to get up and begin each day.
“I worked at National Geographic, The Associated Press, and had a high-paying job in Washington, DC when I began to seriously consider moving back to Argentina. I had not lived there since I was 10 and leaving it all to find my roots and start a business seemed like a huge risk; there was so much at stake. But I thought about it long and hard, then went for it.”
9. Being bold
Lolita Taub came from a poor family in a gang-ridden neighborhood in South Central LA and now has sold over $50 million in hardware/software/services in her career working for major technology providers. She believes her success came from her bold aspirations to transcend expectations.
“I credit my success with being bold in who I am compared to the expectations of society. For example, exceeding the normal expectations of a poor, Mexican-American, inner-city girl and being confident that my own wants are worth pursuing, and knowing that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.”
10. Challenging authority
Mitchell Stern, 30-year-old founder of Burning Bush Nurseries, which sells live cannabis plants to licensed medical marijuana dispensaries, believes that millennials’ enthusiasm for challenging authority is key to his success.
“Millennials have supreme confidence in our own ability to decide what’s best for ourselves and we let our experience with something trump the rhetoric that may accompany it. Furthermore, we believe in challenging authority and making decisions based on science instead of fear.”
11. Being motivated by “why” instead of “what”
Jake Ducey is a 23-year-old author and motivational speaker who believes millennials succeed because they ask “why?” instead of “what?”
“Millennials are less moved by the glamouring possibility of a big house, and gold watch and more interested in work we love. The millennial mentality is to not go where the path may lead, but instead to leave the path and make your own trail. We want to find something we actually love doing.”