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12 Life Rules Millennials Should Keep In Mind

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It’s never a “one rule fits all” when it comes to living your life, especially not for millennials. For some reason, millennials are the generation people love to hate.

Some say millennials are too entitled, selfish, impatient, and narcissistic. Knowing millennials, they won’t waste time proving people otherwise. They have better things to do.

Here are the 12 life rules that millennials should keep in mind:

1. Simplify, simplify, simplify

Live simply is perhaps the best life rule for millennials. Declutter, throw out excess baggage, cut back, and simplify your life. Here’s the thing: you will never run out of things to do. You always have to wash the dishes and do the laundry.

So take it easy. If you have a gazillion chores waiting for you, try not to get overwhelmed by simplifying how to get things done. Make a list and get organized. You need to create some space in your life, relationships, and environment to clear your mind. Stop making life even more complicated than it already is.

“The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” – Hans Hofmann

2. If you don’t have control over it, stop stressing about it

There are many things that you don’t have control over—natural disasters, illness in the family, retrenchment, parents’ divorce, what others think of you, or even a really slow internet connection. These are life’s realities that most people love to torment themselves with. But what’s the point when they can’t be altered and changed?

A 2015 study by the American Psychological Association found that millennials are the most stressed-out generation. The top stressors are money, work, family, and health. While you have no control over a lot of life’s events, you have control over your attitude towards them. You can choose to fix them or deal with them, but please, stop whining about them.

 

3. Stop having fun and start being happy

Friday nights are fun, but do they make you happy? Going on perennial first dates could be fun, but do they make you happy? At one point in your fun-filled life, step back and think what really makes you happy and do it. If staying home and just watching TV makes you happy, then stay home and quit pretending you are the ultimate partygoer on Friday nights. Being happy requires being honest to oneself.

 

4. Be passionate about something

It could be baking, playing the guitar, collecting stamps, or basketball—have at least one thing that you are passionate about. Be that person who bursts with energy when talking about the things they love. If you are deeply passionate over something, it would be easier to look forward to each day.

Dr. Carol Bernstein, associate professor of psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, said that finding meaning in whatever it is that you love increases resilience and decreases burnout. Anything that can divert people from everyday tasks and routines are good for them in many ways, she adds.

 

5. Be kind to one another

We hear Ellen DeGeneres say this exact line at the end of her talk show, and it’s a good reminder for millennials and the generations before them. In the end, only kindness matters. Some people say Generation X is selfish and basically a generation that people love to hate.

There is no study to prove or disprove that millennials are less kind than others, but this is among the golden rules of life that millennials can live by. Be kind, always.

 

6. Love what you do and work hard

By 2025, 3 out of every 4 workers globally will be millennials, according to a report by Time magazine. Millennials want flexibility, training, and feedback over a high pay. But just like any other generation, they also want to be managers and leaders. According to a research by services firm Ernst & Young, 87% of millennials took on management roles over the last five years. This shows just how much millennials value their career.

No matter how millennials are changing the corporate landscape, the number one rule at work remains the same: work hard, even if others don’t. Find a job that you love, such as customer service jobs, that you can invest in. Work with all your heart and never shortchange your outputs.

 

7. Never stop learning

No, you don’t know everything, and stop telling yourself otherwise. It’s a good thing that millennials are passionate about learning and making themselves better. A research entitled “The Millennial Leadership Study,” found that a majority of millennials want to be coached and trained, and they acknowledge that being a leader requires the desire to keep learning.

The one thing that they want to improve on is their communication skills. According to the study, 58% of millennials think the most important leadership skill is communication.

 

8. Save up and invest

A study by the Investment Company Institute found that millennials are investing at a younger age compared to earlier generations. Yes, you deserve to treat yourself with new shoes or a new toy collection every now and then.

But be careful where you put your hard-earned money. Instead of thinking that you are spending money, think that you are spending hours of your life. It’s true, you earn by the hour. So next time you buy that bag you don’t really need, think how many hours you spent just be able to make that purchase. Save up and invest as early as possible.

 

9. Eat healthy and stay fit

Set a goal for how you want to look. For example, before you turn 35, get the body you want and maintain it. It’s really more than what you see on the surface. You need to be healthy to drive your kids to school, play basketball with your boys, travel, and live a happier life. You owe it to yourself to be comfortable in your own skin.

 

10. Go out there and travel more

Money, or lack thereof, is always the excuse for not traveling as much we’d like to. There’s also lack of time and work concerns. Please find the time and the resources to go out there and see the world. It doesn’t have to be a cruise along the Caribbean or a really expensive European tour. Just take a break from your routine, discover new places, and meet new people. You’ll never appreciate “home” as much as you would after going away.

 “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

11. Take a break from social media

There’s a recent study by the Happiness Research Institute that says 88% of people that are not on Facebook lead happier lives. Every once in a while, disconnect yourself and get out of the virtual world. Go to a coffee shop that doesn’t have wi-fi and just talk to a friend.

 

12. Always be grateful

No matter how superficial (and humble bragging) #blessed is, it is the law of life to be always grateful. Whenever you are feeling low or when nothing seems to be going your way, focus on the things that you are thankful for such as family, friends, coffee, warm bath, or the unexpected cash in your jeans. Always be grateful. You owe it to yourself to make room for gratitude and happiness.

It always helps to see things from a different perspective. Life rules are there to keep you sane and make things less complicated. There are times when you feel like there’s too much on your plate and you can no longer keep up. Rules will help you become more positive and a proper perspective will make you happy again.

Which one of these life rules do you have the most trouble with and why? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Emily Harper is a home stylist/upgrade consultant. She's also a health and women advocate and writes a wide range of articles about latest trends, security and even lifestyle to name a few. Get to know her on Facebook.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Charlene Rhinehart

    Dec 14, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Great article! I really like #3 “Stop having fun and start being happy.” I thought fun and happy were two terms that were synonymous but I realize that they are not. I also like your call to action found in #10. Go out there and find the resources to travel. Lack of money and time are always excuses but when you are proactive and committed to living a better life than you have today, you will find the money and time.

  2. James McAllister

    Dec 12, 2015 at 3:16 am

    Really wish I could get #2 down. One area that I really need to work on is being able to accept things I can not control.

    I have always tried to derive my happiness from internal sources and not from things I do not have direct control over, such as other people. At the same time, I feel one of life’s greatest sources of happiness is other people, so it’s dangerous.

    I lost someone very close to me recently, and while I understand there’s nothing I can do to change the situation, it has really got me down. I am confident the lessons I am learning now will allow me to move beyond tough situations that arise in the future.

  3. Maria

    Dec 11, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I love this article! Everything states is true be healthy, continue learning, invest

  4. marouane

    Dec 10, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Nice article , Thank you

  5. Marc Santos

    Dec 10, 2015 at 5:01 pm

    Simple Rules, a lot of which can be easier said than done, but then again it is in “the doing” that makes life great. Great post!

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

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Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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