Why the Idea of Mediocrity Tortures Millennials

Posted by: Center for Growth Therapists

Many millennials (twenty-thirty somethings) struggle with a constant sense of anxiety and depression. Pushing happiness away because it does not fit for the emotional highs and lows they’re used to.

Much of the stress comes from the messages in society that you can have it all and must go after it or you are a failure. Whereas other generations promoted stability and comfort, there is a trend of overachievement that makes it difficult for people sit with their feelings whether they are positive, negative, or neutral.

Society urges everyone to do more. Be more. Distract more. And when you struggle, the pharmaceutical companies quickly persuade you towards anti-depressants or the social acceptance to self medicate with alcohol or drugs.

This is pushed so much that young adults know they want to feel better and stress less, but the idea of letting go of working hard and internalizing the pressure to do your best may mean having someone else who could do it all may surpass you. It’s all competitive. You may fail. Someone else is better. All confirming you did not work hard enough, are not smart enough, pretty enough, able enough,

Rather than the great dreams you had for yourself you might end up being just mediocre.

No one is okay with being mediocre anymore. They assume that means failure if you’re not the greatest. It’s not possible to be the best in every area of your life all the time.

The generation ahead of you has not lived through the constant connectedness online that leads to different expectations and validation seeking from social media. You’re stuck counting how you measure up by likes on Facebook compared with all your friends or looking for more to do to gain followers. All of this can make your head spin crazy over things you cannot control. Imagine bringing yourself back to dial-up internet where you forced to be patient for your services to get up and running. You also could not be on the landline while surfing the internet. Now, it is expected to do all things at once with perfect results.

However, what is most important for your mental health is to separate out the voices and messages you have been hearing your whole life in order to turn up the volume of your true self and follow your own path.

Practice telling yourself you are enough, just the way you are and you can work on becoming a better version of yourself through growth when you get out of your own way.

Among work, family, friendships, traveling, education, romantic relationships, finances, social events, hobbies, volunteering, etc. Pick three areas of your life where you need to focus your energy on currently and allow yourself to be mediocre in the others. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses. This will allow you the space you need to prioritize and focus what you do have going well to work for you rather than going crazy from the expectations of your high achieving generation.

With each area of priority for you right now, break them each down into 3 specific tasks for working on making those areas better.

Important tips for your strategizing:

  • Make time for self care
  • Disconnect from the internet
  • Take alone time when you need it without feeling guilty
  • Be present with others when you are making time to be social

For example, if your priorities are work, friendships and money. The effort you put in towards doing well at your job could translate to more compensation, but time with friends and prioritizing work could contradict each other so you could be gridlocking yourself. Strategies for getting around this could be a decision for each hour of overtime worked you will make 1 hour of plans with friends. Per each paycheck you will save x amount of $ towards a future purchase and treat yourself with your friends to one of your favorite things to do.

For additional help managing anxiety and depressive symptoms, see more tips on the Center for Growth website, call for a therapy consultation, or listen to Billy Joel’s Vienna lyrics for extra inspiration:

“Slow down, you crazy child. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile. But then if you’re so smart, then tell me why are you so afraid. Where’s the fire? What’s the hurry about? You better cool it off before you burn it out. You got so much to do and only so many hours in the day. You know that when the truth is told, you can get what you want or you can just get old, you’re gonna kick off before you even get half way through when will you realize Vienna waits for you? Slow down, you’re doin fine. You can’t be everything you wanna be before your time although its so romantic on the borderline tonight, tonight. Too bad but it is the life you lead, you’re so ahead of yourself that you forgot what you need. Though you can see when you’re wrong you can’t always see when you’re right. You got your passion, you got your pride. But don’t cha know only fools are satisfied. Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true. When will you realize Vienna waits for you. Slow down, you crazy child. And take the phone off the hook and disappear for awhile. It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two. When will you realize Vienna waits for you?” You know that when the truth is told, you can get what you want or you can just get old, you’re gonna kick off before you even get half way through why don’t you realize, Vienna waits for you?”