Ambition is an admirable trait.
Impatience is not.
I am a Millennial. I am 28 years old. Most of my friends are Millennials. My peers are, of course, Millennials.
So, in terms of “the great debate” of what makes a successful (or unsuccessful) “Millennial,” I see what works and what doesn’t based on the performance of those around me.
Let me tell you:
There is no shortage of ambitious Millennials.
We are labeled as the Generation with the most potential.
We know the internet inside and out — yet we see value in detoxing from our screens.
We’re old enough to understand how the world works, but naive enough to chase big ideas in the name of leaving “our dent” in the universe.
We are mature enough for people to take us seriously, but young enough not to take ourselves too seriously.
We’re at the perfect age for greatness.
Unfortunately, many Millennials think their age is enough
I hate to be the one to admit this, but the stereotype that Millennials are impatient is true.
Now, are Millennials all like this?
No, certainly not — no sweeping generalization is ever 100 percent accurate. But in more cases than not, it’s the impatient Millennials that end up living a life of dreams instead of realities.
It’s not that they aren’t smart or full of potential. It’s not that they’re incapable.
It’s simply that they operate under the faulty belief that being young, somewhat digitally savvy, and ambitious is enough.
And it’s not.
Ambition gets you nowhere
It’s like sitting in a sports car and revving the engine but never putting the car in drive.
So many Millennials talk about what they’re going to do to change the world.
We are master advocates for action.
We’re the generation that took the “we can change the world” motif and took it viral. We have, as a generation, fundamentally changed the way people see their own potential.
The problem is that ambition and action are not the same thing. And as quickly as those videos and sound clips and messages have gone viral, they have also dissipated into the ether, never to be brought into reality.
As a result, we have given ourselves (as an entire generation) a label we argue furiously isn’t ours. We scream action while simultaneously clicking next on Netflix. We expect results that take years to magically appear within weeks, days, or even seconds. I even know of Millennials that, at the infant age of 26, complain about their day jobs with the assumption that they could easily get into consulting because “consulting is just coming up with ideas.”
This one sentence summarizes the entire Millennial generation:
“I want to be the one who comes up with the idea, not the person who executes on it.”
That’s the problem
The world doesn’t need more ideas. Ideas are easy. Ideas are as abundant as air itself.
What the world needs is more hands on deck, more doers, more builders — more people who know the value of patience, and who can take something that sounds great in theory and work to bring it to life.
Because let me tell you: The way an idea starts is never the way the idea ends.
What sounds like utopia often turns out to be a complicated web of inconsistencies.
And any idea that is immediately validated because it sounds good usually turns out to be a weak or worthless idea.
Ambition = Ideas
Stop trying to be the person who sits on a couch and throws verbal paint at a wall. Stand up. Grab a marker. And get to work.
You’re making those of us who truly believe we can change the world look bad.
This article originally appeared on Inc. Magazine.