Calling All Millennials!

Sure, you’ll protest, but will you vote in November?

America needs you to vote and we’re not telling you who to vote for.

But if this election is like previous ones, you most likely won’t.

Why is that?

Because you don’t take so kindly being told what to do, which then takes away your choosing to do it and replaces it with having to do it. And that’s not your deal.

Maybe an alternate approach would be more successful…

I’m going to try an experiment. Please tell me how it worked.

In October, 2019 I gave a presentation in Moscow related to my book, “Just Listen,” which became one of the top books in the world on the topic with 25 translations.  Interestingly, but not surprisingly, other countries appear to be more interested in becoming better listeners because I am much less frequently asked to speak to America audiences on how to improve their listening and empathy.  Apparently, Americans would rather be listened to than listen to others.

In that presentation I explained how when you focus on what other people are listening for, (because everyone is always listening for something when they’re in a conversation) and you get where people are truly coming from and then help them, or at least empathize and validate their need, people will feel grateful.  And then they will lean towards you and possibly show their appreciation by considering what you then say to them.

So, my non-fellow boomer generation millennials, is this where you’re coming from and what may explain some of your reluctance to vote?

  1. You believe your vote won’t make a difference and the difference it makes is not worth the hassle there will be in voting. BTW one of the greatest negative feedback loops on doing anything in life, is to believe that whatever you do won’t make a difference in the world or in your own life and will certainly not do much about causing you to be happier in your life, so you think, “Why bother?” and then you don’t bother to do anything.
  2. You are cynical and with good reason. That’s because most times you have trusted and believed what you’ve been told by older generations and “the system,” you’ve been disappointed and even worse, deceived. And you’d rather be cynical than foolish for trusting and believing again. You know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”
  3. You are asked to be loyal to a system or a company and to work very hard for it, without it being loyal to you. That’s because at the first economic sign that your company needs to lay off people, and you’re in an unfortunate expendable place, you can be laid off in a heartbeat with not much of a safety net.
  4. Although superficially it might be fun and funny to be witty, sarcastic and jaded, down deep, it actually doesn’t give you any true pleasure to be cynical and negative. Down deep you’d really like to believe again, but if you do so and you’re disappointed or deceived again, it will just reinforce why you shouldn’t trust or believe anything about the system.
  5. There has been a cumulative effect of being disappointed and deceived where when it first began, you felt hurt, then you felt fearful knowing it could happen again, and then, given the choice of being afraid or being angry, you chose angry. That’s because fear can stop you in your tracks, but with anger, at least you can move. And you have continued to stay angry.

If however, the system and older generations could dig down through your cynicism and anger and drill down to what is really going on with you, might it and might we, discover that you really do want to trust and believe, but be able to do it safely and without the worry of being disappointed or deceived and then feeling foolish yet again?

I know that the cynical part you might be tempted to blow me off right now.

But consider this as maybe what you’re listening for.

Might you way down deep want and even ache to trust and believe again because you unconsciously know that staying cynical and angry, as energizing as it might be in the near term, will eventually lead to cynicism and protest fatigue.

After that fatigue takes hold and doesn’t let up, it can eventually cross over into hopelessness and pointlessness and just plain giving up. And then you’ll withdraw, go radio silent, maybe turn to opiates and not infrequently and tragically end up in the obituary column.

If the above is true and you let us, the system and older generations, know that you’re willing to give hope another chance by voting in November and we are willing to have you hold us accountable if we disappoint or deceive you again, might you cast your vote in November?

Afterward – the system probably will only truly change when you as the younger generation join it as did John Lewis and like him cause “good trouble” and fight the good fight to change the system from within. Unfortunately that may be a challenge, people are living longer and the system has not found a way or process to cause aging politicians (as in over the age of 70) to move aside sooner and “go gently into that good night instead of staying on too long waiting for the dying of the light.”

You don’t have to be a millennial to have cynicism you’d like to overcome.

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