People of Gen-Y are on never-ending ego trips. Many Millennials truly believe their sh*t don’t stink. When we see our exes with someone new, we obviously suggest that they’re a downgrade from us. But when we’re with someone new, we clearly upgraded from our exes. Not to mention, we’re also better than the new prospect’s last.
No one does it better than us. At the office, we think we know everything. Every idea we have is brilliant, and we should be paid more because of it. This narcissistic attitude is ever prevalent among our culture. We’re overly confident in our looks and our abilities, and we’re incredibly superficial.
We grew to be self-centered even before we even knew how to boost our own egos. As kids, we grew up in an environment full of excess praise. At school and at home, we were rewarded for our efforts, not our results. Fifth place in the spelling bee? We still got a trophy. We were always made to feel special.
From our teens on, we were raised on the frequent use of the Internet, until it became like second skin. We started writing the tragic events of our teenage lives in our live journals and posting bulletin rants and survey results on MySpace after school. When we didn't know something, Google became our best friend. We got used to instant gratification, instant access to information and instant feedback from our peers. Take million kids who think they’re special, give them the Internet, and you've created this monster of self-centered youth.
Fast forward to today, we have become accustomed to over-sharing the details of our lives – pictures, or it didn’t happen. We share everything online instantly: what we ate for lunch, the bottle we killed last night, the meme that describes how we feel at the moment, and finally, the worst offender, the selfie.
We spend time trying to get the right angle and the best lighting to capture a picture of us on our good side to upload to Instagram just to show people what we look like right now. It’s become so acceptable, we’re not even ashamed to take them in front of others. Attractiveness can apparently be measured in the form of likes. Truth is, you can never be too sure of the reason a person liked your picture. It’s probable that they liked it because they posted their own selfie 20 minutes before and want to give you incentive to return the favor.
Now, our social circle is even bigger. It extends beyond the people you actually know, to distant admirers from across the map, even further boosting our egos. We are obsessed with vanity and image. We’re so prideful of our looks, and we want others to notice because we thrive off the constant attention that further inflates our self-worth.
We’re continuously connected to technology, so with the influence of social media and other outlets, we worry more about our image than our past generations did. Our phones are just about always within an arm’s reach. When wake up, we check Instagram, tweet, read emails, share pictures and repeat when we’re bored, distracted, in traffic or feeling anti-social at the party. We spend less time experiencing and embracing what’s going on in the world around us, and more time focusing on our own egotistical pursuits of the day, while keeping constant tabs on each other. That is how we keep the cycle going. Back in the day, people actually used to read newspapers and made a greater effort to stay informed. The generations before us had much more to worry about than figuring out new reasons to say YOLO, look good while YOLOing, and then take pictures to upload later.
Competition between others is another reason to blame for all this egotistical f*ckery. We all want to seem better than our competitors – for sex, for the job, for the hell of it. We just want to believe no one does it better than us, and we can’t stand it when someone gives us a run for our money. We can’t genuinely congratulate our coworker on the promotion that we “know for a fact” should have been handed to us. Aside from being jealous, we’re too busy talking sh*t about how the whole office is crazy for overlooking what a great worker we are.
Much of the reason we act in this egotistical manner is because we somehow think it’ll make us seem confident and ultimately appealing to a potential partner. We flaunt our assets, flash our money, cars, shoes, and clothes, and brag about ourselves in anyway we can in the club, at the bar, in the bedroom – anywhere we can to prove we’re better than the next.
To make matters worse, we reward this superficial and egotistical behavior. Somehow Floyd Mayweather’s cockiness is a sign of his strength as a boxer, and his ridiculous obsession with money just makes us envy his bragging rights. We love us some God-like Kanye and equally vain girlfriend Kim Kardashian and their latest superficial indulgences. When you look around at the frequent media headliners, we praise the braggers and the sh*t talkers with the biggest of egos.
Our culture teaches us that if we’re successful, we have every right to think we’re the sh*t. We proceed to prove in every way possible just how hard we ball, and a larger than life ego filled with false confidence will help us get there. But how often do we hear about the struggle, the strife, or sacrifices made to become great and successful? It’s altogether misleading. Our culture idolizes those who think so highly of themselves; we praise their attitude, not the work or dedication that they put in to reach their levels of success.
We need to cut the bullsh*t and stop wasting our time being so obsessed with ourselves. We can be confident, yes, but we need to stop letting it get to our heads. We have to keep the selfies to a minimum, and stop putting so much energy into useless competition. We need to stop the charades to impress other people and prove our lives are really all that interesting. Building relationships based on superficial reasons is one that is more than likely not going to last.
The only person we need to be better than is who we were yesterday. When it comes to work, know your strengths and values, but stay grounded and humble. Don’t act so deserving; people value hard work. Admit when you don’t know something and be willing to learn, especially from those who are better than you. In today’s world, it’s not how good you think you are that matters, it’s your results and what you actually bring to the table. Strive to be so good they can’t ignore you, and let your actions speak for themselves. It will get you far.
Top photo courtesy Favim