Success In The Eyes Of Teens Today
But first, let's take a quick flash back to a decade ago. Jackass gave hope to class clowns across the country and Napster founder Sean Fanning was giving the record industry the proverbial middle finger. It was cool to be a badass. Today, it has become cool to do good.
How today's teens are different:
- They will defy conformity and reshape the vision of success and career
- They will rethink how companies are built and how they profit
- They believe they can change the world (and ultimately will)
- Their idea of success isn't a 9-5 with a six-figure salary
A great pop culture nugget that shows just how much teens have transformed: "The Buried Life," an MTV show following the epic cross-country journey of four friends as they accomplish 100 dreams before they die. From paying off their parents' mortgage to playing ball with President Obama, their adventures undoubtedly provide a new perspective on what it means to achieve.
What am I getting at here? Teens see the real world through a different lens. The cast members of "The Buried Life" believe they can do anything, from going into space to delivering a baby. What's more, they're actually giving back to communities. From the small (giving a random person $100) to the huge (buying computers for an L.A. school), they tie every crazy dream they accomplish back to helping total strangers.
Assuming they stay on course (and remain entertaining), these guys will become role models for teens and reshape how they view success. For many of today's teens, becoming a millionaire will become less important over the years. Money is still important, but today's teens will see role models like Blake from Toms Shoes and Charity Water founder Scott Harrison achieve success through cause and community. They will also be inspired by how entrepreneurs are using their voices and influence to spotlight key causes.
Recently, Twitter co-founders Ev & Biz leveraged their rock-star social-media status to start up a new wine venture, Fledgling, designed to fund literacy programs. Don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are millions of teens who aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg, but the next kid to step out and become an Internet legend/ accidental billionaire will probably build something with a strong give-back component.
I'm excited to think of how far today's teens will take us in 10 years. I imagine a world where they will create products with a purpose. Imagine creating a granola brand and using profits to end a war in Africa, or building the next Facebook platform to donate 20% of their advertising revenue to crisis relief? Now that's a dream to cross off my own bucket list.