There are things in life that some people overlook, and perhaps reading insights from a dumb Millennial may just do the trick.
Hello there, dear reader! You probably clicked because you’re wondering if I’m truly a dumb millennial, or if this is some clickbait nonsense. True enough, I am the dumb millennial you’re looking for, born in 1991 and possessing a brain that’s slow as a turtle.
But of course, since everyone has a definition of dumb, I define my stupidity as the lack of speed in learning. In real-life terms, it translates to me working longer hours in completing the same project as my peers. Quite frankly, it takes me four days to write a decent article, as compared to our editorial team, who cover and publish articles daily. It also takes me a lot longer to recall things, so I have to write things down repetitively so I’ll remember them.
So why write an article about life lessons if I am as dumb as I can be? Well, despite being dumb, I believe society can learn some things from people like me. After all, society tends to overlook or be bothered about certain things we seem unfazed by. Nonetheless, I’ll leave you to be the judge. Here are six life lessons I promised:
1. Prestige doesn’t matter
Let me be blunt: Ivy League degrees don’t matter. And yet, 90 per cent of the people I talk to in events lead with that introduction. Now, I appreciate that you have a great education, that you’ve had the opportunity to communicate or meet “with the greatest minds of the world” – but when it boils down to understanding who you really are, or if you’ll drive real change in your chosen industry, a nice pedigree even from McKinsey or Goldman Sachs doesn’t predict success (sorry, Rocket Internet). All the pedigree sincerely tells me is that you’ve clearly made all the right decisions in life, but what about wrong ones? If you’re strapped on cash, what would you do? If you failed to close a massive deal, how will you react? Pedigree doesn’t tell me that, character does.
2. Sucking up just makes you suck
Y’know, dumb people can differentiate too. We’re often overlooked in society as we aren’t in any positions of power, but we notice. We notice if people are being sickeningly sweet to their superiors or rich individuals, but being rude to their other colleagues. We notice how people can change their tone in asking small favours from others, but backtalk the same folks they asked favours from. On the flip side, don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Tying your wealth and pedigree to your identity shows a crippling insecurity toward failure, even a dumb person knows that. Be more sincere with yourself, you’ll feel less pressured and deal with challenges a lot better.
Admittedly, I am still working on this advice – but when I do accomplish prioritisation, I achieve the clarity that I need to move forward. Prioritising in this case doesn’t only mean work, but also in short and long term goals, as well as identifying values that are important to me. Thanks to technology, I also shamelessly use apps that can help my life become more organised when my brain is normally slow. If I get lost or forget, I can always refer back to what I’ve noted in these apps and continue where I’ve left off. Prioritisation functions like a map, it will lead you in the right direction, but it’s up to you to trudge onward.
4. Ask ‘stupid questions’
One of the greatest lies ever told to people is that stupid questions exist. The only reason why ‘stupid questions’ exist is because there are two types of people in society: people who insult and people who teach. The people who teach may initially be angry at you for not knowing something so simple, but they’re angry because they want you to learn. Seek help or learn from them. On the other hand, people who insult just want to selfishly feel better, so when you ask for improvements, they will only give half-baked explanations and excuses. Ask away, you’ll be surprised at how people can behave just from one question. If you’re still developing the habit of asking questions, start by reading books or asking Quora or Google – you’ll find lots of interesting questions and viewpoints there!
5. Having resilience is handy
Truth be told, I survived school by being resilient. I understood that other students would be faster at me in understanding concepts and memorising facts, so I just studied harder and longer. Hurray, sleepless weeks. It didn’t matter to me that I had much less free time than my smarter friends, I just did my best. I was still not as smart as my friends, but knowing that I put in the effort and did decently well on my studies made it worthwhile.
Additionally, another handy trait of being resilient is understanding failure. As I’ve gotten Cs in college, I wasn’t beating myself up as hard over my grades compared to the straight A student who got their first B. It’s very laughable now, but there have been too many instances where brilliant people, not just students, have taken their lives because they could not live with their perceived failures. If you learn to laugh and live with your dumb imperfect self, death should not be an option.
6. Stay supportive
Back when I was in high school, I was insanely competitive and arrogant, so I didn’t offer a lot of help to my friends; obviously, this caused a lot of friendships to fall out. I’ve since learned from that experience, and exert whatever effort I can to support my colleagues and friends. I can be either providing feedback on one of their projects or connecting them with people who can help them better. Small and simple acts are not taken for granted; you’ll build stronger friendships by doing so. Talk to people, listen to their thoughts, help them where you can – your actions won’t be forgotten.
There are certain things in life that are independent of one’s intelligence, such as identity and character. People tend to obsess over perfect track records, the pedigrees and status identifiers signalling early success, but what truly matters is the story after. How does one pick himself up from failure? Do people sincerely admire you for who you are, not for your status?
After all these questions, you will reach the realisation that being slow or dumb is not the greatest insult of the century, so if you’d like, you can just call me a Millennial instead.
Image Credit: Matthew Wiebe of Unsplash
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