The Millennial Struggle
After hanging up the phone I thought to myself, "damn, he gets it." Peter and I connected via social media (so 2016 of us) and he is by far one of the kindest and influential person I know. I am thrilled to share with you his vulnerable and wise words of wisdom.
Guest Post by Peter Yobo
The Story In Success We Have Been Given:
“Peter you’re going to be great one day. You will be successful in anything you do. Just go to school, get good grades, and the world is yours.” This is a story so many Millennials are familiar with because we all heard it growing up. Our parents heard a different story that came from their parents who lived in a tougher world - “work hard, get a good job, and keep it.”
One problem though is all that praise and positive reinforcement developed this thing within us called the "EGO." If you were to look up the synonyms of the word you would find the following: self-esteem, self-importance, self-worth, self-respect, self-image, self-confidence, etc. I say problem but let’s be real the ego is a huge asset, it will get you noticed, hired, promoted, and praised in most places. The problem I speak of here is what we do with the ego to make it a snare to us. We as Millennials build up our ego into a larger than life image of what we believe we deserve in life and spend the rest of our time and hair trying to live up to. I will explain the hair part. I started a nonprofit when I was in college and received so much praise from my friends and professors because I was a student who was crushing it and doing more than was expected. Well that fed the ego, and it grew. Then I graduated and had to live up to the large ego I had created, I took more risks, got a loan for $50,000 to start a business, failed miserably, and worked my butt off to pay back every dollar. Thus the hair loss.
Pain Involved In Having Success:
The sleepless nights and anxiety helped me rein in the ego a bit. But that was until the debt was paid and I once again had the space and peace of mind to think up new entrepreneurial ideas. There was another problem, that little app called “instagram” and today “snapchat.” These apps introduced a pain I hadn’t felt in college. Maybe because in college social media was used to make plans and check out last nights parties. Social media outside of college dealt a huge blow to my ego, because I would see friends and young people my age living out my ego. The same ego I was struggling to live up to. They had the cars, the bodies, the friends, and were visiting the places I aspired to be! Your pain could be not having the boyfriend, the relationship, marriage, kids, etc that you see other people having.
Stripping Self / Identity To Ego:
I wasn’t enough, something about me wasn’t allowing me to accomplish the thing everyone else was so easily attaining. All I did was tell people about what I planned to do. Dammit I felt ashamed, I wasn’t cutting it... Wait a freaking minute! Ok I am going to paint a picture for you to help you get to the aha-moment I had. Imagine a donkey with a carrot at the end of a stick tied to its head. Mr. donkey here is driven by the thought of what the future would look like after he has that carrot instead of taking a step back and realizing at that current moment, he has a stick on his head and a carrot at its end. He’s not getting that carrot. I lost sight of all the amazing things around me. I didn’t even remember the last time I looked at an ant doing its thing on a summer afternoon. I was too busy living in the future, chasing after the image of who I could be that hung at the end of the stick. I needed to let that go. If this is your story too, you need to let that image go and find joy in the person you are, where you are, and why you are at this very moment who you are. A lot of “you are’s” I know.
The Future In Having Faith:
The problem with actually doing this is having faith that the future will work itself out. And the difficulty most people have letting go of the ego and leaving the future to live in the present is it may cause you to make decisions other people may condemn. You may decide not to play the office politics anymore and that might not be popular if you’re in an “up or out” kind of job. Also for overachievers, living in right now may feel like you’re slacking off and not making great strides towards your future. This is the problem I have and it comes in waves. One moment I am content with what I have and where I am, then the next moment I feel like a complete failure.
What To Do:
What became important was realizing that there was nothing wrong with having a compelling vision for my life and the lives of others. I realized it was my business to ensure this compelling vision of who I could be, impact I could have, and the life I could live should not alter my ego. Instead I needed to have a sober, humble, and gentle view of myself. Do your work in the now, use what you have, and trust the process. The current in the ocean never changes. It has been the same for decades, you go to the ocean and you trust the process, that the current will never change. Trust in the current within.