As the millennial generation reaches maturity and heads into the work force, it’s helpful to examine some of the most common myths about life that all of us seem to take as gospel truth when in our 20s. Dispelling these myths can reduce a great deal of the stress that young adults experience, if only they are open-minded enough to take some advice. Of course, remembering what we were like at that age, the age when we all think we know everything we need to know, it’s problematic whether sharing these myths will help anyone on that age group – BUT – we can try.
“When I was 18, I thought my father was pretty dumb. After a while, when I got to be 21, I was amazed to find out how much he’d learned in three years.” ~ Frank Butler, old-time sharpshooter and husband to Annie Oakley
Before we go any further however, it must be said that virtually every young adult who is raised and educated in the West will go through a period when they believe these myths to be true – and that they have all the answers to the Most Important Questions of Life. This seems to be a rite of passage for our children and, as parents, we should be understanding and supportive of them, in spite of their often misguided notions. Remember, you were much the same at their age and condemning them for their beliefs would be hypocritical in the extreme – not to mention less than helpful.
To help reduce the time investment required by any young adults who may see this piece, we offer the 7 Most Destructive Myths About Life Believed by Young Adults:
- Rejection is the worst thing that can happen in life. NOT! In fact, getting dumped by a partner may be exactly what you need to help you figure out the difference between a good relationship and a bad one. Losing a close friendship may help you determine what being a friend is really all about, and what to look for in a friend. Getting fired from a job should tech you that, despite your expensive university education, you’re not the center of the universe for an employer. Rejection can teach you many positive things about yourself and the world, not least of which is – coping with rejection.
- Getting good grades in school means success in business. Not so much. Of course, if you’re bright and you work hard in school, you increase your chances of success in the real world of work afterward. However, there are no guarantees in life, especially work life. Book smarts may not translate into the business world so, as you head into the world of business, trim your expectations – of yourself AND your coworkers and employers.
- Making mistakes now will ruin your life later. Depends on the mistake. Sure, committing a felony at the age of 21 can seriously affect your life for decades to come. For most of us however, and error in judgment as a young adult will not destroy our futures. When you do make a mistake, learn from it, fix it if you can, and move on.
- You should be liked by everyone. Is this a Facebook thing, wanting to be “Liked” by everyone on the planet? Nah, this one goes way back. But, it’s just not possible. And besides, do you really want the creep in the next office to like you anyway? Some people are simply unpleasant and unlikeable. If you don’t like everyone you meet, don’t expect everyone to like you. In short, get over yourself.
- Moving to a new town will make you happy. While changing where you live for a new career opportunity can be an adventure, moving to a new town merely for the sake of “making a change” is no guarantee that you’ll enjoy the result. Generally, your problems will follow. If you’re unhappy where you now live, changing your zip code may not be the best way “solve” your problems. Instead, deal with the problems first, then go ahead and move if you still want a change of scenery.
- Making your point is more important than listening to those of others. The Greek philosopher Epictetus said, “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” Why say anything more?
- You need to have life figured out before 30. Dude! Say what? Do you know how many people DON’T have life figured out in their 60s, 70s, and 80s? Give yourself a break and enjoy the journey – in your 20s, and every decade that follows. In other words, pretty much NO ONE has life “figured out,” regardless of their age. Just try to live well, be kind, and take care of your friends and family. Make sure you do these things, and “life” will take care of itself.
- You can focus on healthy living when you get older. Uh yeah, sure you can. Turns out, your 20s are the years you develop the habits you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life. Working hard, being kind, and yes – being healthy – are habits that will affect you forever. Just because you’re “indestructible” now, doesn’t mean you always will be. By eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise when you’re young, you’ll be far more likely to continue doing so as you age – when your body will REALLY need it!
When you’re in your 20s, you do NOT know it all. You may not be “destined for greatness,” but you’re also not “destined for failure”. What you do have going for you at that age is; you have an amazing potential for a happy, fulfilling life, as long as you stick to the things you value, and are caring of others – and yourself.
If you’re a young adult who’s having trouble coping with the transition to life that comes with reaching adulthood: Contact us today for a consultation.