I’m a millennial, and like you I’d love to make more money. More money means more opportunity, more opportunity means more happiness, right?
Let me introduce to you the Strauss-Howe generational theory, which describes a pattern in historical generations leading back to 1584. Strauss and Howe describe a 4-stage cycle of social or mood eras which they call turnings.
- The First Turning is a High, which occurs after a Crisis and the most recent First Turning in the US was the post-World War II American High.
- The Second Turning is an Awakening. The US’s most recent Awakening was the “Consciousness Revolution,” which spanned from the campus and inner-city revolts of the mid-1960s to the tax revolts of the early 1980s
- The Third Turning is an Unraveling. They say the most recent Unraveling in the US began in the 1980s and includes the Long Boom and Culture War.
- The Fourth Turning is a Crisis. The most recent in the US began with the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and climaxed with the end of World War II.
Each turning’s “start dates” are based on when the prior generation is coming of age which is typically marked by a more specific triggering event. So, according to this theory, us millennials hitting adulthood means that we’re all just in time for the crisis. We’re just “waiting” for the triggering point (or maybe it’s slowly unfolding in front of us).
An example triggering event that marked the coming of age for the Baby Boom Generation was the Assassination of John F. Kennedy.
The details of this theory were enough to catch my attention. So what does this all mean for us millennials?
Well, just like the GI generation, who were born into a depression and rose up to the challenge of WWII, our generation is deemed as the Hero Generation Archetype.
The more I think about it, the more this theory makes sense. Millennials were born into one of the biggest economic downturns we’ve seen since the great depression and looking around, we’re dealing with the aftermath of a lot of unsustainable practices that we’ll have to help clean up in our lifetime. To name a few…
- Hurricanes displacing millions
- Lack of plan for nuclear waste
- Arctic ice melting
- Plastic compiling in ocean
- Bleaching of the coral reefs
- Human rights suffering
- Cancer rates rising
- Rising addictions to sugar
- International civil wars
- & cherry on top, Trump.
Okay, then what?
Hero archetypes (millennials for this go ’round) grow up as increasingly protected post-Awakening children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists during a Crisis and emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, that age into politically powerful elders attacked by another Awakening.
Meaning us millennial will be the ones bringing our good attitudes and fixing these problems.
— Annie Guo VanDan (@annievandan) September 8, 2017
Now, our nation’s clarion call is knocking on Silicon Valley’s door…
There’s so much brain power in the Bay and the growth hacking community. So, how are we helping to solve these problems?
My recommendation is that you use your grit, knowledge, experience, and passion to learn how to fix these problems. Now, how can we leverage the technology we’ve built for good? We need the influence to build sustainable products that meet a true need for society.
- Start new companies focused on solving problems.
- Help social good causes grow and make an impact.
- Speak your voice – the rest of the world needs to hear it.
- Use data to make long-term viable recommendations.
- Help existing companies optimize their resources and reduce waste.
- If you’re not doing one of these, find someone who is and join them.
Grow solutions, grow long-term value to the world (and to beneficiaries of social good), and stop wasting human and finite resources on junk. Do it now.
If you know how to creatively fix problems, our world needs you.