Coping: A Book for Millennials

And now for something completely different.

How about we write a book for Millennials.  You know, something which could help them shortcut around some of the crap that took us Old People far too long to sort out when we were coming up?

Here’s how it might begin:

(simple title art):




Intro: Grok’n the Gap

Two sides of a Revolution:

Your birth details “chosen sides” for you in a cultural war of behaviors. This conflict is not a simple two-sided affair as in “us” versus “them.”

Rather, it is a matrix (or array) consisting of Old People on one side, the Young People on the other, but only in one plane of the matrix.

In other planes it is about excess consumption versus conservation, about high-energy-use versus small footprints and renewables.

It about headspaces, too.

This might be “me’s” versus “us” or other any of dozens of psychological delimiters drawn between people: Mental, income, energy, spirit, technology, green, political, economic, and so forth.

Sadly, you have likely been short-changed in your education. The emphasis has been on “thing-ness” and memorization. Little comprehension of certain keywords that make up the flow of life.

You may have the gift of youth – as all of us have enjoyed at some point.

However many of us older people spent far too much of our limited years trying to “figure shit out.”

This book is an effort to give you a better futures by showing you how a few things really work. The critical keywords that may have only been hinted-at in school.

Old People’s Burden

I share this as an Old People.

The gulf between us may be visualized by counting video channels.

When I was born, no one on my block had a television.

Our first television – an old Magnavox tube set – only received one channel well.

By the time I was in junior high school, a new antenna had upped that. First to three channels, then five, and eventually eight.

Radio through grade school was one channel (mono) AM, with no vibrant highs.

My first job as a radio engineer in high school was at am AM Rock & Roll station (KOL). A second job consisted of reading the meters at one of Seattle’s first FM stations (KLSN). Third job was the R&B station KYAC.  The music sounded better on FM and definitely less mushy than on AM.

Channel expansion came slowly with the arrival of UHF channels. KPTV went on the air as Channel 27 in Portland, Oregon in 1952.

Channels 13 through 83 filled-in slowly.

Video channels remained confined to television until the arrival of computers in the 1980s. Still, through the middle 1980s, computer graphics were generally coded “sprites” that moved lazily on platforms like Commodore-64s and their ilk.

By the late 1980s the Internet was coming into view and in 1991 the first webcam was turned on at the Cambridge University Computer Science Department. It stayed on until 2001.

If you were born when the first webcam went live, you’d be all of 26 years old.

Traveling life at the “speed of tech” probably means something to you, by now: Facebook didn’t launch until 2004. Ditto Vimeo.

YouTube went and the video explosion began in earnest February 14, 2005.

Twitter came out in the spring of 2006.

Tinder launched in September of 2012.

For sure and for certain: The Old People’s Burden has been keeping up with the increasing rate of change.

Imagine if you were born in 2000: A world without videos on the phone!

New People’s /Millennial’s Challenge

Let’s talk life-long learning.

I doubt there is a person alive over 50 who wouldn’t give up all their worldly possessions to start over at age 21 in a young, healthy body.

The reason is simple: We have the brains and knowledgebase that comes from experiencing half a century (and more) of life.

Most Millennials don’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain or not to waste their lives dribbling out on social media.

The key “missing ingredient” that your education may have skipped in the notion of “Personal Mission.”

Ask yourself “What lights my fire?” “What do I love doing more than anything?” “Is there something I can do for 30-years and still get a kick out of it every day?”

And more than ever: “What can I do and get paid for that can’t be easily replaced by a) a lesser-educated and less expensive immigrant OR b) by a robot?”

My wife and I produced a mixed bag of results: Some of our children were successful, others not so much. Those that weren’t lost the most productive time in life due to bad relationships and bad drugs, meth in particular.

If drug addiction isn’t enough, there’s social media addiction as well. In 2010, the UK Telegraph headlined “Twitter and Facebook costing economy £14bn a year.”

By early 2016, CNBC headlined “Facebook turns 12 — trillions in time wasted.” Work the “slope of the curve” on that one.  It’s like CB Radio on TV in the workplace. Brain-candy to rot the soul and steal your one shot at riches.

Somehow, amidst these potholes and trip wires, you will find a way, or one will be made for you.

Our modest suggestion is to be proactive and make your own decisions before circumstances make them for you.

If you have a personal mission that has good long-term prospects, you stay clear of drug and time-wasting social media behaviors, your odds of being a leader in your own generation will be very high.

Search for Best Practices

A young man – with dreams of becoming a famous musician – visited New York City for the first time. As small-towners are prone to do, he became lost; disoriented by the bustle of Gotham on a cloudy day.

“Excuse me, sir,” he asked of a man passing by “Can you tell me how to get to Carnegie Hall?”

The man simply glanced at him and said a single word:


Whenever we look at people who have achieved a high level of income, fame, fortune, health, achievement in any field, there are certain Best Practices that emerge.

This book will not preach this plan or that, but it will show you, through a series of keyword discussions how you can mimic those who have already “dared to be great.”

Although not a separate chapter, let me start with on keyword to get thinking:

Repetition and Recording

Playing the piano is a fine example because it instructs us how to move “things we need to think about” out into dispersed parts of our body. Psychologists often refer to “muscle-memory” when working with athletes. The role of the coach is to find that absolute peak of performance that everyone has, and press beyond that.

A Coach is usually not be the fastest runner, the best football player, or even a concert-quality instrument player; their value is their knowledge of best practices in a particular field.

Since your best coaches, your parents, will likely kick-the-bucket sooner than desired, and you may not have life-long gifted friends, the surest road to personal accomplishment is to begin collecting your own book of “best practices.”

I mean, it makes sense, right?

People make mistakes – and hopefully learn from them – every day.

You’d think that EVERYONE would write down the major lessons Life hands them; perhaps in a journal or a notebook…

But you see, your (mislabeled) “education” hasn’t taught you many of the basic “habits for success.”

Even if they had, it’s likely have “blown up on you” because most people do not keep paper notes anymore. Instead, they keep devices and when devices change, all the old “notes to self” too easily disappear.  Just how many people export their phone book files?

A friend and long-time colleague, upper 70’s and living a seriously upscale retirement in his condo with views of both the Atlantic and the Intercoastal Waterway, expressed the importance of “keeping your platform” up with your Life well.

“One of the most important things you can do in business,” he advised me along ago “…is to keep your Outlook files backed-up.”  He also called people from his distance past now and then to keep up.  That is not social media.  That’s success media use.

He understood that much of our success in Life comes not from what we do alone, but what we do in groups.  We create teams to move projects along.

Looking back he was right, of course. But who in the education system in 1967 when I graduated from high school was teaching this simple principle?

“We succeed with the efforts of others and the more people you know and can tap, the easier success will come.”

“No man is an Island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the Continent…”  wrote John Donne (1572-1631) wrote in Mediation XVII.

In today’s digital world it could be updated:

“No person is a program, entire of itself; everyone is a node in a network of their own design…”

So we ask: “What are the things your “node” does, repeated so often as to be done at the muscle-memory level, that no robot or lesser person could perform as well or excellently?”

This is the Millennial’s Challenge: Deal with change, excel at learning the change, practice and repeat, then execute across your personal network these hard-fought Best Practices.

Next week (or when I get to it):

“Chapter 1: Keyword: RECIPE “

And my thanks to the 22-year old Millennial who was the last caller on Coast-to-Coast AM early Tuesday morning.  He asked (in so many words) “So WHAT should we Millenials DO?”

If you don’t mind coming back once a week, I will try to lay out some ideas on Thursday morning’s. There are answers, but like building a home, one of the key things to get right is the foundation and sadly, I don’t think enough Millennials have a solid one.

Pass it on and write when you get rich,

16 thoughts on “Coping: A Book for Millennials”

  1. And, this G.–is why I continue clicking the opening web-ness of your site everyday!!

    Thank you for your dedication to the production of humanistically beneficial, mind and life questioning articles!! The “Swamp Trolling” areas of LeftRight\All-Otherness……Not so much@

  2. I spent 44 years working in a steel mill as a
    machinist. They need SKILLED WORKERS.
    The company will not train you.
    You must go to a trade school.
    You must pass a hands on test.
    You must pass a drug test.
    This is a good paying job.

    They do NOT want unskilled labor!

    • So far Robots cant bend pipe and pull wire, excavate without a human hand on the controls, pound nails and cut rafters, cut stringer for a staircase, trubleshoot a problem in a PLC SCADA system, or change the oil in my car.
      When they can program themselves to do those things, they will also write code that will get them high, so I’ll still have to get out of bed and reboot their asses back to work.

    • I can tell Perry is a gezer because they don’t give you 44 years in a job anymore. They also don’t pay that good or at all for a non-cnc literate machinist and even then they don’t pay like they used to to support a family, house and new car. And probably not for long enough to pay off the student loans.

      Most waiters(esses), retail stockers and other low end job workers that I have talked to have at least some college and their bosses treat them like they are dime a dozen just like the old days. The barriers of training, experience, tests are heaped on top of personal ingenuity of how to live on a nonliving wage except for a few lucky engineering and med field grads.

      Geo has some good thoughts on advice for millennials, but some things still get learned best the hard way. Most of us geezers also tend to forget the question and lose the answer in a pile of reminiscences.

  3. Thanks George! I was that caller. I try to follow and read your posts every morning and even in peoplenomics! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this series and help show us the road ahead! It really does mean a lot. I know this will help me and hopefully others as well! I look forward to Thursday mornings even more now!

    PS: Sorry that this is a similar repost but my last comment didn’t load so I didn’t know if you have to approve them or not. Also forgot to put in my email. My apologies and thank you!

  4. I decided in my early twenties that pursuit of money and “success” was not for me, that that pursuit would not make me happy. It seemed to me that having “enough” to live on was the right way for me.

    Having a little more money now in retirement would make life more comfortable for me, but I can’t see how it would make me happier. It was other factors in life that had a strong influence on my happiness outcome.

    I do respect you for providing a guiding hand to all the young adults out there who have not been wisely educated. I hope they listen.

  5. I always pointed out to my children that the ages of 18-28 are the most difficult as they will be forced to make life altering decisions with almost no experience to guide them, enter the life lessons of others.

  6. My, I wonder just how many millennials actually read these columns?
    The absolute rapidity of, and monstrous proportions of the changes that may very well befall this planet sooner than we think possible and far out of the range of experience of any of us old (70) folks — how do you give advice about that? You are trying to prepare for every possibility “you can think of” — but what of the ones you cannot even imagine or BELIEVE?

    • First I know several millennials who do read them – and second a lot of X-ers too. And last, I think it’s important for us Olders to keep our shit together and keep learning new tricks every day. If we don’t keep growing, we should be “going…”

  7. I love the book for millennials idea.. Just make sure you add a section for millennials with children.. seems if you have kids its tough to save money till they get older..
    One of my kids both are professionals.. they have five kids living at home two in daycare.
    the budget I know of.. is this..
    House…. 800.00
    their income combined is right at 65000.00 a year..
    they qualify for federal assistance programs but don’t take advantage of them as far as I know..
    electricity 300.00 plus
    water … 67.00
    gas.. not sure but heard them say two hundred a month on budget once.. 200.00
    garbage 15.00
    groceries.. 300 per person per month or 2100.00 ( budget in 1600.. hope they can do it for that. since I guy them their years worth of meat ..
    daycare two kids 800. per child whether or not they watch them.. 1600.00
    car payments.. 500.00
    car insurance.. lets say 100.00
    school loan 550.00
    not counting the older kids are in activities.. they won’t be able to invest till they are fifty five when the school loans are paid off..

  8. It is true that no one retires from a non-union
    The shop I was in, the average age is 65.
    there is a big difference between a journeyman
    and an operator.
    A journeyman machinist can run ALL machines
    and program.
    It is true a cnc OPERATOR pays nothing

    The difference is an education.
    It is true some college people are not worth
    a dime. I am 68.

  9. I am a widow, 42 years old, a single mother and a professional Tarot reader. I am now the same age that my mother was when I was born. She died at the age of 83, in 2015. Life is short, kids! Much of my job involves helping people untangle the knots in their personal relationship can’t do this, but I’ll probably still be reading cards when I’m over 80 years old which is good because almost for sure there are going to be no Superannuation Accounts in 20 year’s time. In my spare time, I grow vegetables, which just about feeds my children and I. I own my own 60 acre farm, but heavy labour every day of the sort I would have to do to earn a living off my land would shorten my life. So I do a little bit each day, and we are gradually building up the place. I work 20 hours per week reading cards and this just about keeps us as a family.

    My advice to the young folks out there? Start building your life now. Find something you love, can get paid for and can do even when you are geriatric and get really good at it…NOW!!!

    Life is short. I look and I have two adolescent sons. In just over a year, it will have been 20 years since I met their Dad. We were only together for about 4 years, and they were four of the happiest years of my life. One night he had a heart attack and died and my life since then has been one long struggle. But if he hadn’t died, I never would have learned to read cards, so you see, everything has a purpose. I now do about 1,000 readings a year and all of the crud I have been through has dug a deep well of compassion in my soul. I love my work and can see that it is a great help to the people around me. Would I change anything? Well, if I could bring my Husband back from the Dead now, I would. I love him and miss him so much.

  10. The best advice for millennials (and everyone) is be prepared for at least a 70% decline in the purchasing power of the dollar, economic colonization of nearly all USA corporations and smaller businesses (by the Chinese) that actually produce something besides services. USA wages that are equal or less than Chinese wages, more prison labor, and eventual breakup of the USA into at least five geographic/economic sections in order for the USA to get out from under the unpayable federal debt.

    You can also throw in a civil war that will both reduce the population and provide a basis for the breakup of the USA. Americans will beg for foreign intervention to get the USA governments at all levels off their backs before this civil war starts on order to accomplish this. Additional issues caused by the federal government seizing all USA pension funds for some kind of USA treasury bonds that have severe redemption limits, and handing the funds over to the bankers instead of paying down the national debt. The elimination of government money for psychiatric drugs will be like gasoline on this conflict.

    I expect social security, GI bill, Medicare, etc. to figuratively disappear at the end of 2017 or shortly thereafter. The dollar amounts will not change, but with at least a 70% devaluation in purchasing power of those dollars an honest person will call them gone. This failure of the USA economic system is mathematically unavoidable. While America seems to have the largest economy in the world, while they have not yet included prostitution in the GDP as Britain did, they do include all the derivatives and other financial crap in the GDP. The $9,000 income of a Chinese worker has about twice the buying power of the average American worker.

    This “find your dream and live it” is just the fantasy being fed to the worthless children of a dying empire by an aging population looking in the rear view mirror. The real future is working 12 hours a day just to provide the basics of life. Reference Argentina in 1993, Ecuador in 1999 and Venezuela today where 28% of the population has foraged the trash for food as examples. In Venezuela, farmers are so strapped for hard cash to get the next crop in the ground that one ounce of silver will buy 9 months of food for one person, and an ounce of gold will buy a modest country house.

    For those noticing the 33% USA tax rate, please note that for slaves back in the day the cost of keeping a slave was 70% of what that slave produced. It was not necessary to eliminate slavery, mechanization would have made it economically unviable in less than a generation.

    Keep in mind that too big to fail simply means that you are too small to save. If you are not producing something of value for those in power, you are just a worthless eater in their eyes. It’s why in some circles the American retiree is considered one of the most endangered species on earth.

    That’s how it looks from Ecuador, where the visibility is unlimited, and my track record for predictions is unrivaled.

  11. There is not a lot of certainty to any career path these days. I feel that the central problem is being able to make a living at something in todays economy, and then being able to jump rapidly into an off-books barter and favor economy as the current one gets less functional and finally no longer works at all.

    I have a 24 year old son who has a degree in computer science and the possibility of working in Silicon Valley. If successful, he does not see this as a long-term career move. His plan is to work in computers long enough to pay off college and develop hobbies in green engineering that will be marketable later when the internet and power grid become unsustainable. Other than college, he is allergic to debt in any form, and has been very creative about sharing rented quarters, ride and resource sharing, cooking cheap food and the like. I think he has a good chance of thriving in this new century.

Comments are closed.