Hey, Millennials, I Give A Damn. Do You?
A case for making an impact, creating things and leaving a legacy.Tarun Betala
The World Today
The problem we have, today, is not that we shouldn't care. But that we don't care about enough things. We don't feel so strongly about our causes and passions, if we manage to have any. This is not a surprise. Early on in our lives, we are asked, subtly, to be nonchalant about things. It is implied that the cool kids are those who don’t give a sh*t.
We are all those "cool kids" today. Some of us manage to find what we are passionate about, and do something about it. For the rest of us… our “work” is a chore we need to get over with, as quickly as possible. If it could be done better, we never stop to think. Our main concern is with the completion of it.
Everyday, we’re looking for 5pm. On each project, we’re looking for a way to mark it as completed. No surprises though, right? We have been handed things all our lives. Taking, consuming comes naturally to us. Giving and creating on the other hand is a task we haven’t yet sharpened our skills at.
If our main goal is to complete a task, or to wait till 5pm, perhaps the goal doesnt intellectually stimulate us enough. Think about the last time you really cared about something and how it was done. That should, ideally, give you a sense of what matters to you.
Think about the last time you really cared about something and how it was done. That should, ideally, give you a sense of what matters to you.
Those Who Came Before Us
Our parents, and their parents, and so on, led a different life. They had to make things happen - they had to live a life they created. Things were not so easily handed down to them, and this need, this hunger, and this thirst made them work hard. It made them create. It made them build things a world that is passed down to us.
Today, we get things easily. Phones, laptops, handbags, sunglasses - you name it. These things are accessible to us. We go out, and we buy them, because we can. They weren't so fortunate. When we stop to think, for a minute, how lucky we are to have access to so many things that make our lives easier, it creates a sense of wonder and gratitude.
They created the ground work for the world we live in today. Granted, their generation wasn’t perfect, and neither will ours be. We live in an age where our existence is threatened by nuclear bombs. Our planet is threatened with global warming and our lives are threatened with boredom or obesity or something else. As Carl Sagan said it, if we somehow manage to figure out a way to live with nuclear weapons and continue our survival, each subsequent generation will be a more perfect version of ourselves.
Those who came before us did what they could. We are left a world that is now in OUR hands. We are given lives that our solely ours. We have our share of creations and contributions to this world, alright. "We" are doing a lot, no doubt. But are we doing enough? Do we all individually care about what our contributions to this world are?
"We" are doing a lot, no doubt. But are we doing enough? Do we all individually care about what our contributions to this world are?
Passion and Results
We are more individualistic today, than ever. And that's a great thing, for the most part. But there are things we can create - the things that we crave individually. The things that matter to us. Our art, our literature, our companies, our products, our creatives. And these things are made by giving a damn. They are created not because we are too cool to care. They are created because someone, somewhere feels so deeply that the non-existence of these things is deeply missed.
You see, the problem we all individually and communally have today is that we need to find things to care about rather than letting things go. We need to feel deeply the importance of creating something so that the world - our world and our lives with it - will be in a better place when we leave it. We don't need to change the whole world - just take one step at a time and have that ultimate goal in mind.
If we can't take a thousand steps, we ought to at least take one.
Passion alone is not the solution. Passion has gotten us into enough trouble. People have done terrible things in the name of passion - passion for their country, their religion, their beliefs. Being passionate about something is dangerous if the subject of our passion is not thought out. We need to consider ourselves - in the broadest sense - as members of a species that makes a better life possible. Not as any subsection that is created by man.
If what we are passionate about propagates hatred, oppression, suppression, or bullying, it is a questionable passion.
On the other hand, using that energy, that need for belonging, and creating something that is good for the community, for the country, for a part or whole of the species - whether it is a practical innovation, a cultural creation or a social movement - is something we have to do. We can’t just sit here, scrolling through our endless feeds, making up hashtags, but look at the actual impact and the actual results we have.
The world is not changed by hashtags and the number of likes and retweets, but by actually doing something about it. Whether you like to hear it or not, my fellow millennials, making an impact, for the most part, doesn't happen by changing our Facebook profile to show that you care, by liking and retweeting thoughtful, social commentaries.
These things help, as far as they can. But you and I need to figure out what impact we want to have on our world, and take action accordingly. Start today by asking if you can give a bit more at your job, or your work - whatever you create and wherever you spend most of your time.
If the answer you get, from yourself, is that it's not possible or that it doesn't interest you - ask yourself what does and do that.
Start today by asking if you can give a bit more at your job, or your work - whatever you create and wherever you spend most of your time.