We’re going to be the generation that changes the world…
Not through our innovation of future physical inventions or businesses, nor how we have already reshaped communication, or our ability to blatantly preach togetherness through quietly expressing selfishness. Not by our desire to create solutions to fix national obstacles after first, confronting worldly dilemmas. Although these will all be added fractions to the difference we make in history, they won’t be what allow our generation to rebuild the foundation of the future on Earth.
Some of us already know exactly how we are going to make this change.
The rest, thus far have been too afraid to express it. We were born with it. We’ve been living with certain characteristics and abilities since birth that have been sharpened or stripped by personal experiences and general heartbreaking events.
As a generation we are already half way there. Twenty-somethings around the world currently have a strong intellectual grip on life. Where we fall short is spreading the message and knowledge. We are gradually passing the torch of youth to the next generation without making the transition from student to teacher. And we are doing so while receiving some pretty hefty criticism from our elders.
Criticism we don’t take to heart, for multiple reasons.
We find it hard to acknowledge judgments and verbal opinions from those responsible for allowing us to grow up in the world we live in today. That our, “lack of discipline” is mistaken for self-motivation and that so-called, “sense of entitlement” is a poor justification of our parent’s implanted form of privilege. And that damn, “inadequate work-ethic” is actually our version of self-respect and patience.
Ultimately, we are fully aware how serious life can get yet at the same time, we understand not to take it too seriously. Change is made every single day. Every decision we make creates a small ripple in the world. We are all responsible for change. The only disparity is the measure in which we create this change. This is the difference between leaders and followers or entrepreneurs and employees. We all make change.
It is up to us to decide the size of the change we make.
That’s the easy part, the difficulty comes when the decision has been made and action must be followed. A transition that only takes place when you embrace the fear of failure and roll the dice of success. We are the quickest to proclaim the weight and amount of change we want to create, but the most lethargic when it comes to actively filling the scale.
We recognize the problems that are currently in front of us. It is now time to use that inner ambition to solve them. We’re aware how precious our time on earth is and the importance to live the life that truly makes us happy. The quality of life rests in our hands and the only thing keeping us from fulfilling this life is fear: the fear of the unknown and the fear of failure.
Out of all the “problems” with our generation, the only problem I personally see has never been mentioned. There’s probably never been a generation more afraid of failure than our own. Mostly because it is foreign to us, growing up our parents wouldn’t allow us to fail. If we lost, we still got a trophy. In the real world, this isn’t the case. We have become extremely afraid to take a chance and continue to shy away from taking that leap of faith. Our fear of embarrassment has overcome our desire to succeed.
The only opinions that truly matter to us are our peer’s.
This is why we spend so much time on social media anticipating the next notification or “like”. The moment we are all willing to put ourselves out there by exposing our failures along our pursuit to make a change is the moment we will begin to eventually redefine the approach to failure.
It would become something we encourage. Failure would be something to showcase and overcome. Our generation already believes perfection is a word used by the insecure. However, I won’t be impressed until we adopt the ambition to work with, through and around failures on our way to perfecting perfection.
So where does that leave me?
Two weeks removed from quitting my 9 to 5 (more like my 7:30 to 5:30 plus a 25 minute commute to and from) job with great health benefits, a steady income, casual/half-day Fridays and a safe and secure industry with plenty of work in order to launch my first start-up business.
In the midst of launching my start-up business, my boss caught on and questioned my desire to work for him. He found personal printed items at the printer and did his research on me. He found my twitter, which led him to my blog, which had to lead to hundreds of questions. The person he saw on his computer screen was not the same person seated nicely in one of his cubicles. He saw the ambition, the drive and the desire to succeed. The complete opposite of what I physically dragged into the office Monday through Friday.
To my surprise and appreciation, he was more than understanding of the dreams I wanted to fulfill. He provided advice and encouraged me to take some time to truly decide what I wanted in life. I knew what I wanted, I just wasn’t completely positive exactly how I was going to achieve it. No, actually I found myself afraid of failing.
Afraid of not having guaranteed income to pay-off my credit cards, my student loans, my rent, my utilities, or even my Netflix account. These were my problems before I even began to think how I could maintain my way of life without a steady paycheck.
For years I have labeled myself as Young and Hungry. I labeled our entire generation Young and Hungry. But I’ll admit I simply lost that hunger the moment I left my parents health insurance and received my first real paycheck. That hunger I once felt was fed by stability and security. By junk food, by food that on every Monday morning had me watching the clock until Friday afternoon. It was a quick fix. There was no nutritional value or nourishment. If I continued to feed my hunger with my job, I eventually would have looked in the mirror one day without recognizing the reflection.
You see, I needed to quit; I needed to change my diet. I needed to feel that hunger again and pursue something that I knew would replenish my ambition. I needed to know I could still make a change. I needed to know I could still make a difference. I needed to know I could still make explosions.
I guess I’m here to remind you of the impact you once wanted to make. This is the lowest my bank account has been since I graduated from college nearly 3 years ago. At the same time, this is honestly the most alive I have felt since high school. The fear I feel reassures me that I made the right decision and that nothing great has come without sacrifice.
Before we can make our difference, we must change the way we think. We must change our diet. Failure has a healthy place on the food pyramid of entrepreneurs. Without it, how could we measure the lengths we are willing to push ourselves? It is what allows us to grow not only as CEO’s, but also as people. We all have the capability of reaching our career goals, but first we must be willing to fail.
Jarad Barr is the founder and CEO of Barr Locals, the newest way for Columbus, OH to experience the local bar scene. Jarad is also an avid writer as the author of the weekly eBook mini-series, Young and Hungry and his blog, TheBarrPursuit.com.