Millennials’ Unhealthy Ambitions

Millennials do not look up to those that came before them, but horizontally, to their peers that have more time for TV than work. Measuring up oneself in such a distorted way is causing the impairment of personal and professional growth.

Millennials though are only taking from their parents. Most parents compete with neighbours next door. Accomplishments are measured up against the neighbours’ economic, educational, and social status. All of this, just to keep up with social appearance.

While parents sink to such puzzling attitudes, the offspring drift to imitating fictional and reality TV stars with little useful life lessons to impart. They lack skill but have the sort of physical appearance society deems beautiful, none of which they try to hide. They help create a one-dimensional world that has little similarity to that of the real one. What is unfortunate is that there are no easy means of waking people up from this wasteful daydream.

They are rare, but there are those who are bookish and reflective instead of just chasing the opposite sex, drinking alcohol or using recreational drugs. But their admirable choice not to settle for the easy things puts them in stark contrast to their many peers that have no life goals.

The fictional world has sipped into the real one, with ceremonies such as proms having become prevalent in our schools. We are mimicking Western culture, with little understanding of what it stands for, and allowing it to shape our pursuits in life.

Such attitudes are most prevalent in Addis Abeba. It is a city with a vibrant and interesting past, surrounded by a country that is going through an immense political change. They fail to see that the country’s low level of development or political dilemma is a headache just as impactful on them.

Instead, parents, teachers, society and the whole educational system allows them to ignore the essential aspects of life. They grow with similar mindsets that result in an informed electorate: susceptible to propaganda and unsophisticated enough to notice the ills of their nation’s society or government.

Guilty pleasures are not bad. It is utterly OK to watch a movie that is not serious or a game show or reality TV that adds absolutely nothing to our understanding of the world. It is only unhelpful when we begin to imitate the characters and the people of those worlds. This would be a reckless outlook to hold in a country such as Ethiopia.

Students must be helped to see the context of education early on in households and schools. Parents and teachers are too focused on the basics of academics. Little attention is given to comprehensive lessons on life goals and career development in the education curriculum.

The primary and high school years are vital stages for crafting life lessons. Students must be taught what academic skills are for in the effort that peer pressure and fictional characters would not govern them.

This would have been easier said than done has there been more local heroes that can show us the worth of pursuing ambitious life goals. Aside from the media spots here and there, successful people rarely come out to share their experiences. Such people do not write books about their successes as well as their failures. Some have not even been able to pass on their skills to their children.

Heroes have primarily been those who have slain others on the battlefield. We call them Shi’gedaye or Demmelash, roughly translating to ‘killer of thousands’ and ‘avenger’, respectively. There are some that do deserve recognition for their heroics in battle. But the nation is starved for the sorts of heroes that were thought-leaders, and innovators.

The best thing we can do for ourselves and society is to discover our life’s worth, to have a sense of direction. We ought to be able to upgrade society’s sense of being and ability to compete in a healthy way.

There is no problem with imitating local or international role models as long as our reasons for doing as such are grounded in reality. Such enlightened attitudes encourage discovering natural gifts to live a significant life that can inspire many.

A skilled human power can be birthed if we work to help the youth grow up to want to address Ethiopia’s challenges. Schools can reinforce what children are learning at home, from the society and their peers. Parents should be co-educators, particularly in those areas where children’s mind are flexible. These can help Millenials set the right and self-inspired life paths.


By Eden Sahle
Eden Sahle is founder and CEO of Yada Technology Plc. She has studied law and international economic law. She can be reached at

Published on Apr 01,2018 [ Vol 18 ,No 936]



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