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Let’s be honest. You probably don’t need to wear shades, not just yet. If you are a person under the age of 40, according to a poll conducted by Rare Newsfeed, you are most likely not too optimistic about the future of America.
54% of Americans under the age of 40 feel “pessimistic” about the direction of our country, economically and otherwise, while only 31% are at all optimistic. 47% of respondents felt that society discriminates against them, (75% of blacks surveyed felt this way, I can understand that, what with the number of recent police overreactions in the last year,) as well as 53% of Democrats.
It’s easy to look on the surface and see problems that this Millennial generation faces that my generation did not face, and perhaps that is an important factor. Student debt is crippling, with the average Class of 2015 graduate owing more than $35,000.00, along with 17% of students’ parents loans on their behalf, bringing the total 2015 student debt up to $68 billion. Only 65% of Millennials are employed and 34% live in their parent’s homes, while only 34% of Americans age 18-32 head their own household.
The most troubling statistic for Millennials comes to us from the Federal Reserve: only 3.6% of American householders age 30 or under own a stake in their own business. It seems that the more that people take advantage of educational opportunities and easy financing thereof, the more likely they are to end up working for somebody else, slaving away to pay down their astronomical student debt.
In 1980, 17% of 25-year-olds had college degrees. Today, 31.7% of young people graduate with a bachelor’s degree or higher, yet that generation saw 1 in 10 of them owning their own businesses before the age of 30. Today the number is one-third of that! Where are the entrepreneurs? Who is telling this generation that they have to work for “The Man” all their lives? No wonder they are pessimistic. No wonder they are prone to complain that the minimum wage is too low. I have puzzled over this phenomenon myself. Why would anybody care what the minimum wage is? Who aspires to earn minimum wage? If schools are not teaching entrepreneurial skills to our young people, the chasm between “the independent” and “the drone” will continue to expand until it takes on biblical proportions i.e., “between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.” Luke 16:26.
There is hope, even for Millennials. You can be the captains of your own destinies. Look around you, there are opportunities everywhere. It is all about identifying a need and filling it. Don’t worry so much about what it is you want to do, as much as what it is that needs doing. Everybody has to eat, sleep, live, be transported, etc. Become aware. Not self-aware, there’s too much of that already, OPPORTUNITY aware. You need to develop a thirst for education, real education, self-education. The way you accomplish that is to listen and observe. Ask questions. View your current job not as a dead end, but a step toward your eventual independence. The race is not for the most money, but for the most autonomy.
My heart goes out to those of you who have become saddled with burdensome student debt, but all is not lost. We live in a land brimming with multiple opportunities, a paradise that people from foreign lands still risk life and fortune to try to enter, because they want a chance at the American Dream. What are you waiting for? The American Dream is within your grasp. Can you not see the vast forest you inhabit because of all the trees in your way?
Here’s to 2016.