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A Lost Generation

A Message for Millennials by a Millennial

Life is quite paradoxical when you think about it; at each stage, humans begin to long for the next until they find themselves confined in a body of old age. In order to live happily, we are told that we must forget the past, prepare for the future, and live in the present. The question I often ponder, however, is how can one focus energy into “being” in the present while life’s momentum pushes our consciousness deeper into the abyss? All of life’s promises are safeguarded in the hopes of tomorrow. We try to be resourceful with what we have today to craft something more tangible that lies afar. It is similar to painting in that you start out with the tools necessary to complete the masterpiece and visualize beforehand what the image is going to look like (thinking in the future). This thought, although formulated ahead of its time relies on the experiences you’ve gathered and interpreted throughout your life (depending on the past). Finally, once you muster the courage to commence the drawing, it is not the past nor future that captivates your ability, but rather the emotional experience you feel at that specific moment. Life, similar to art, is a collection of experiences and emotions that manifest themselves in reality. 

It is apparent, however, that we Millennials have lost the sense of living. We are more concerned with capturing an experience from our phones, rather than our minds. We no longer eat food for nourishment, rather we chase the release of gratification artificial food possesses. We have embodied the herd mentality, obliviously following the dictatorship of societal stigma. Imprisoned by the fear of being witnessed as different, we are shackled by the chains of limitations levied by conformers. We feel solace living on the terms others place, rather than pursuing the dreams and aspirations we long for. We have lost the sense of true love, overwhelmed by the desire to succeed. Selfishness has overshadowed our true characters, values, and morals in hopes that by selling our souls we can achieve ultimate levels of wealth and power – which in the end provide us with nothing but emptiness. Spirituality has lost its value, meaning, and priority in our lives as we deem it to be a waste of time. Although we tell ourselves that it’s of no use, we wake up every morning feeling minuscule, vulnerable, insecure, and unsatisfied. Instead of living cohesively together, we have concentrated our efforts on continuously competing with our counterparts and one-upping each other in every avenue of life. We receive a sense of fulfillment in knowing that we, by any standard, are greater than those around us. Our methods of prioritization, which we use to become more structured and productive, has in fact negatively impacted our lives. Blinded by the obsession of succeeding solely in one aspect of life i.e. work, we underplay a multitude of other facets that are equally as important. Physical health (internally and externally) has been misunderstood, misused, and/or neglected. We constantly put it aside and embark on a cycle of overworking our minds and underutilizing our bodies. The supplement industry has convinced us, brilliantly, that without the use of pills and powders it is impossible to reach the physical stature of magazine-cover elites. Once our minds fall prey to the lies, we may end up reaching a desirable image from the external perspective, but internally causing unnecessary inflammation and damage.

All this to say that…

We are a lost generation, one that has been misguided by the influx of stigma, media, and ignorance. To combat this, we must learn the art of patience, by appreciating the beauty of life at each stage. Not indulging in the gratification of what those around us foolishly chase, but by constructing our characters and moulding ourselves to be the role models we hope to one day become. To do so, we cannot continue living life wearing a veil that conceals our true identity. Life was not meant to be lived hidden behind a mask, it was meant to be embraced by the identity we’ve been blessed to receive.

Courage means realizing who you are and what you stand for, living means having the impetus to act on this realization. 

My University Experience: 4 Years of Lessons Condensed

I was not born with extraordinary skills, talents, or abilities. Where I have excelled is sheer determination, passion, and drive. My name is Georges Khalife, and I am a recent graduate from the Telfer School of Management.

Year I: In May, after all exams are complete and pencils are banished from their planes of sight, many students will subject their immediate vicinity to a myriad of harangues concerning how their first year of university was tough and filled with arduous, torturous mysteries. Get over it and get to work. I used my first year to boost my CGPA as much as possible. This started with taking advantage of the simpler academic content general business courses offered. While my friends partied, I studied. I envisioned more for myself and understood that I must sacrifice who I am now for who I intended to become in the future. I had my share of fun, but university is not high school and I saw it as a phase in life where I must absorb as much knowledge and experience as possible before stepping foot in the real world.

Yet, I certainly had my share of stresses. Two years prior, I lived in Bahrain (a remote island near Saudi Arabia) studying in a private school. We would write ten exams per week on a multiplicity of topics. Girls were not permitted to sit with boys and the environment was extremely competitive. It did, however, teach me to adopt strict focus and discipline. It was a very rigorous system that eventually set me up for success in university. In addition to this, my dad stayed in Bahrain working. This meant that mom would try to make frequent visits back and forth, but I would live alone most of the year. As you can imagine, having to adapt to the culture was difficult. Luckily, my extroverted personality enabled me to make new friends. I experienced the same worries and problems that you may face now. However, what kept me going through periods of acute frustration was reflecting on my grand purpose. I realized crying and complaining would not help me get closer to my dream. If I was to be an influential businessman I would need to be focused, motivated, and driven.

Attaching purpose to action will give you an edge over others. Every morning when I wake up I look into the man reflected through the mirror and say “if I want to be the best in what I do, I must do what others will not. In order to outwork my competition, I must stay focused. To focus, I must find a purpose. The purpose I believe in is to leave this earth unforgotten. I was not born to be average. I was destined to be GREAT.” I encourage you to reflect deeply on your greater purpose in life. Once you find that out, it will make waking up early an irresistible habit as it draws you towards the august allure of success. It will keep you on track during the toughest times and ignite a beacon of motivation when circumstances seem dire.

I made it a goal to intern in a different company or bank every summer. During the summer of my first year, I had returned to Lebanon, my home country, to see friends and family. I didn’t let that distract me. I used every network I could to leverage summer experience. It took two months to finally land a one-month internship at a retail bank shadowing employees. It wasn’t Goldman-Sachs, but it provided me with the operational foundations of the common bank. Be humble with every opportunity you’re given. Make the best of it. You have the opportunity to create whatever outcome you wish using the skills at your disposal. This comes down to your mindset and how you view your situation.

Year II: An important skill to obtain early on is self-reflection. After first-year, I surveilled what my professional portfolio was missing. Extra-curricular activities were the missing component. Simultaneously, I was looking to strengthen my relationship with the Lebanese community and provide value to my nation’s people. As such, I contacted the Lebanese Cultural Club to serve as their VP of Finance. I was humbled and grateful to take on this position. Through this club, I grew my network, established great friendships, gained much needed experience, and supplemented my acumen’s arsenal (in the form of an admittedly weak CV). After a second year of studiousness and discipline, another summer dawned and, with it, the renewed opportunity for an internship. This time, I desired a more challenging role. Again, I stuck to the fundamentals and used my network to leverage more experience. I contacted my father’s good friend for the opportunity to intern at the Arab Banking Corporation. For this internship, I rotated between various departments. One of which was the HR department. Many students in Finance would have shied away from a non-Finance department, however, the better-rounded you are as a person, the more resourceful you become when vulnerable situations arise. During the HR rotation, I went in with the mindset that I am now exposed to the recruiting arm of a large company. This implied that I could gain insight to improve my resumé, interview skills, and leadership capabilities.

In his book, ‘The Leader Who Had No Title’, Robin Sharma suggests that daily ripples of excellence eventually become a tsunami of success. Nobody sets out to build the greatest monument all at once; you should never start there because you’ll probably never succeed. Instead, you should focus on laying one brick at a time as precisely as you can. Focus your daily efforts on life-enhancing activities that will bring you closer to accomplishing your dreams. Keep in mind, all you have is 24 hours in a day and how you use your time is crucial to the likelihood of you succeeding.

Year III: Going into the third year, I had a couple of goals I wanted to accomplish: join a finance club, increase my network on LinkedIn, and be a part of a finance competition. As the year progressed, I heard about an investment club called T&V Capital Management. At the time, there was no other club that actually invested a pool of money in the stock market. This was formed by a group of ambitious and very intelligent second-year compeers with strong determination and passion. I embraced their culture and mindset, so I decided to interview and join. The club taught me lessons I will never forget. The work ethic that was required to be part of the crew was very intense. Each week, we had to present sector updates and each month resulted in a unique stock pitch. We would grill each other during Q&A’s and this forced us to stay competitive. With this mindset, I set myself at a higher standard and demanded more from myself. This was also the genesis for my passion and love for the stock market. I immediately began enhancing my knowledge by reading countless books, articles, and newspapers. Every day, I would wake up at five o’clock to update myself on the market and read geopolitical articles. I was immersed within the adrenaline that the market provided and the ability to generate constant streams of income. During this year, the financial research and learning lab opened up which provided students with Bloomberg terminals (software that offers the best financial data on public companies). Immediately, I was hooked. I spent the entire waking day, ten hours in total, finishing the Bloomberg courses to grow accustomed to how these terminals work. The lab manager was also looking for assistants to help run the facility.  Although it was unpaid, I used this to advance my understanding of these terminals and imbue finance-related experience on my resumé (as most institutions use these terminals nowadays). Many of the finance courses were integrating these terminals in assignments and projects, so it definitely gave me a competitive edge against others.

Amid third year, Telfer enrolled in the Rotman International Trading Competition. This was an international competition that hosted fifty universities. Each elected its six best finance and accounting students. I wasn’t the smartest in Telfer, but I definitely believed in myself and knew I was deserving of this opportunity if I worked hard enough. I was shortlisted as a candidate for an interview among ten other students. This interview was challenging, asking mathematical and analytical questions. Needless to say, I tried my best, but ended up at ninth-place in the rankings. I was a little disappointed, but knew that every setback is a setup for a comeback. We were scheduled to give a presentation after the Christmas break on one of the financial topics. As the break took its course, most of the applicants did what every average person would do; they took a “break”. I used every second of the holiday to study up on the material and prepare to kill that presentation. After delivering my presentation, we received an email with the official list of successful students. You guessed it: I jumped from ninth to fifth place and made the list! The competition was an amazing experience as I got to meet very intelligent students from all over the world. It was humbling and motivating in equal measure. After getting back, I had to repurpose my focus back on the books to keep my grades stable. For that summer, I actually did not plan on interning anywhere. I had thought of using the time it afforded me to complete courses and learn more about finance-related subjects. However, a random event caught me by surprise. I was sitting in the lab one evening when the lab manager forwarded a job application to General Electric’s (GE) Financial Management Program summer internship. I had nothing to lose, so I applied. Many times, when opportunities present themselves people shy away and never pursue them head on. I applied and eventually got an interview. Upon exhibiting my proficiency during the interviews, I landed the internship and was getting ready to work at GE! I would have never imagined myself working for one of the oldest and largest Fortune 500 companies. The program provided a great learning environment and gave interns the ability to tackle more complicated responsibilities and challenges. My manager was an amazing mentor who provided me with help and guidance throughout the summer. By the end of it, however, I realized that the job entailed more of an accounting background rather than a focus on investment finance. As such, it was mutually beneficial for me to pursue a career that encompassed the capital markets.

Year IV: This was my final year to prepare myself for the next chapter in life: my career. At this stage, my focus was on using the network that I had built over the past three years to – at the very least – secure an interview. Something to get my foot in the door. As the year progressed, I traveled to Dubai in December to visit my sister who is working there currently. Although a bit off topic, I encourage anyone who is able to travel, to do so. Travelling will give you insight on new cultures, languages, and people that will add strength to your arsenal in the business arena. I use the fact that I have traveled to more than twenty-five countries in interviews to highlight that I can speak three languages and am culturally intelligent (which can be seen as an asset in negotiations and business meetings). At this point, there was only one thing I really wanted to do before graduating and that was to conduct research for a white paper (another term for a short paper on a specialized topic). After staying in touch and e-mailing a contact who was the president of an investment management firm, I was fortunate enough to have been offered to help the firm conduct research for a paper they wanted to publish. What allowed me to get through the door and receive that opportunity was the tenacity and determination I exemplified.

It was now March and as my last university year was ending, I knew I had to go all-in to find a job. One of T&V’s first sponsors was the President & CEO of the Canadian Depository for Securities Limited. He was an alumnus of the Telfer School of Management and a leader in the community. He was always committed to helping students achieve the aspirations they were determined to achieve. Remaining in close contact, I eventually applied online to a job posting for an Associate position at TMX/CDS. After two challenging interviews, I headed to Toronto for the final test. This phase consisted of two thirty-minute interviews with senior executives. They had all the candidates waiting in the board room for their turn. After meeting the candidates, I realized I was up against students from other top-tier universities (i.e. Western, Queens, UofT, etc.). To be honest, this motivated me more. I visualized every step of the interview in my head and leaving with a victory. In my mind, it was sort of a battle. I was going to war with myself and the only way to succeed was to unleash the self-confidence I had garnered through each trial and diminish any lingering modicum of self-doubt. The night before the interview, I stayed up preparing for every scenario, every question they could ask me. I didn’t want to come back empty-handed, regretting that I could have done more. When I found out that I got the job, it felt as if though my hand was raised in a boxing title fight. After four years of hard work, I finally became the man I wanted to be, to myself, my parents, and my friends. I don’t want you to think that I let work or school define the person I am. This was done to prove anything is possible if you really desire it and work hard for it. If I can do it, so can you.

Edited by: Conor O’Hara

Get It Done: The Blueprint to Setting and Accomplishing Goals

How many times have you promised more for yourself?  Every day millions of people wake up imprisoned in a bubble of complacency. As we navigate through our daily routines, we seldom forget that life has more to offer. As I delve into this article, remember that although everyone says they want to be successful, very few have the courage to execute on the plans they have set on paper. Luckily, you will now have the tools to enable you to reflect, plan, and act so that all your dreams will become a reality.

First, I need you to ask yourself what you want to be remembered for. Although death is thought of as a gloomy subject, you can use this fear as a motivator to spark a sense of urgency in the way you go about your day. Time is not infinite, and as life progresses on its natural course we must quickly find a way to fulfill all that we have envisioned. Les Brown (motivational speaker and author) said that the graveyard holds the world’s greatest ideas. Ideas that were not acted upon, but left idle by those who lived in silence. At the end of the day, we are all playing this game called life. So, rather than sitting on the sidelines and watching the players, get up and join the action.

STOP: write down exactly what it is you love doing, day in and day out. The best way to figure this out is by asking yourself, “If I had 6 months to live, would I want to wake up tomorrow morning and go to this job”? Ultimately, you will never be able to succeed if you go to work miserable. That is no way for anyone to live. You OWE YOURSELF the gratification of unleashing the capabilities that you were designed to orchestrate. By doing the thing you love most, your passion will drive your intellect to places never seen before. Then, will you be able to bring forth value to yourself and those around you.

Now that you know what you want to do in life, you must breakdown in detail all the tasks that will enable you to reach that level. Personally, my goal is to one day become a CEO of a leading institution. That may seem a little far-fetched for a kid who almost failed high school and was overweight half his life. But the one thing that helped me improve one step at a time is the fact that I never let other people’s opinion of me become my reality (Les Brown). Every morning I wake up, I envision myself as a leader. By doing so, I trigger associations in my brain that become a self-fulfilling prophecy. As a result, my behavior will mimic the people I hope to one day become.

I decided that if I was to be serious about my long term goal, I would have to sit down and reflect on how I was to get there. Mapping out my life plan was the single most important action I took in helping me succeed daily. I took out a pen and began writing in my journal.

1st: If I was going to be productive every single day and operate at a 100% efficiency, I would need more energy. This meant that I had to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Saying to yourself that I want to lose 10 pounds to fit in certain clothing is not a productive goal to set. You need to attach purpose to action for it to be meaningful and beneficial to your life. I deeply believed that I needed positive energy to help me push through tough times in both my personal and professional life. So I committed to waking up at 5 am every morning and hitting the gym. Why so early George? Because successful people realize that every second of every day is CRUCIAL. Without time, progression cannot persist. I use the action of waking up early to improve other facets of my life. The ability to commit to a goal provides me with confidence and reassurance that no Goliath is too big for any David. Also, exercising in the morning will give you the necessary vitality for the remainder of the day and enable you to execute daily tasks more efficiently. Not to mention the fact that when you look good, you feel good and if your attitude changes, so does your altitude.

2nd: Information is important, but useless if not disseminated into knowledge that is acted upon. I realized that most CEO’s read a lot. Reading the right books can have a profound impact on your life. For instance, your vocabulary range expands which improves your communication skills. You also become better versed in different topics and are better apt to hold conversations with executives. This also makes for a great question to ask a professional in a networking situation such as “what book changed your life?” Thus, be open to learning different ideas, opinions, and topics because you will have a greater ability to connect with others on a personal level and not one that is merely superficial for the purpose of gaining something in return.

3rd: Reflect on your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. The Great Wall wasn’t built in a day. But the stones that make up this extravagant structure were placed carefully every single day until they eventually resulted in a wall. Ask yourself, “What do I have to do today that creates a better tomorrow?” Figure out what you need to do that is specific to your aspirations. If you want better grades in school/university then you must outline every action that you must take to help boost your grades. I would, for instance, wake up early to read chapters in advance, meet with my professors after class to go over questions, create study groups to enhance the learning process, join clubs to keep things fun and interesting, etc. When you decide where you are heading, you will need to draw the path to get you there.

4th: The last thing you need to do is to write down your why. The WHY part is probably the most important of all. Eric Thomas (motivational speaker and author) said that in times of tribulation and turbulence, your why will keep you going when your mind and body give up. You need to find a reason why you’re doing what you’re doing. The best way to stay motivated in following your plans is to do these things for someone other than yourself. The single most gratifying feeling is being able to give back. I personally work hard for my family. I saw with my own eyes the struggle that my father had to go through when we immigrated to Canada. He was unemployed for a year. Even when he found a job he would work 100 hours a week for 6 straight years (between his day job and studying for certifications at night). Seeing his dedication ignited a fire in my mind that made it necessary for me to one day become successful and give back to my parents more than they ever gave to me. In addition to my family, I wanted to provide people with the idea that if an ordinary person works hard and sticks to the game plan, in small steps big outcomes will occur.

Plans don’t always pan out the way you have written down. Things will occur along the way that will push you off course. The main takeaway from planning is that your mind will be activated and aware of what you want it to do. It will find a way, using references from your map, to help you get there.

Have the confidence in yourself and believe that you can accomplish anything. After all, Edison created the light bulb, Jobs created the iPhone, Page created the search engine Google, and you can now create whatever you set your mind to.

Emotional Intelligence: Perceiving Situations Positively

How many of you reading this article have experienced pain, sadness, and/or hurt? I know I have. Life will not always be filled with happiness, but in the midst of this eerie state, how many of us rise above the pain and see things in a different light? Every situation you encounter can be viewed negatively or positively. It can be used to your advantage or disadvantage. More importantly, it can make or break you.

Below are three examples of how people used negative situations to succeed in life:

  1. James “Buster” Douglas: Briefly speaking, this became one of the biggest upsets in boxing and sports history. Douglas, who at the time was a 29 year old decent boxer with a record of 29-4-1 was set to take on the monster which was Mike Tyson who held a 42-1 record (practically undefeated). As any mother would, Douglas’s mom who worked in a beauty shop would tell all the customers that her son was going to defeat Mike Tyson and become the heavyweight champion of the world. Sadly, less than a month from the fight, Douglas’s mother passed away. On top of this terrible occurrence, Douglas was in the process of separating from his wife. Imagine the stress, pain, and hurt Douglas was feeling at that point in his life. Having to also fight the best heavyweight boxer in the world appeared to be an unsurmountable task. At that exact moment, Douglas had two choices: 1) let his pain overtake his desire to become the best or 2) use his pain to ignite a fire of motivation that would help him win. In the 10th round of the fight, history was made. Buster Douglas knocked out Goliath (Mike Tyson). When his hand was raised and the realization of victory had settled, Douglas broke out in tears and thought “this was for you mom, you believed in me and I made it happen”.
  2. Jim Carrey: Jim was homeless in 1987 and had nothing in a material sense. What he did possess is one of the world’s most powerful intangible tools that is visualization. As he would sit there feeling hopeless, he would extract a rush of energy from simply seeing how his life would be like if he was to act in a big movie. Knowing firmly that he had the necessary capabilities to be successful, he focused his energy on remaining optimistic in hopes that an opportunity will one day come knocking. On Thanksgiving Day 1995, he wrote a check to himself for $10 million and gave himself a 5 year deadline to reach his goal. Year after year, the check laid in its place deteriorating in condition when finally 3 years later exactly on Thanksgiving Day, he found out that he was going to make $10 million on the movie Dumb and Dumber.
  3. Nick Vujicic: Nick was born with a very rare disorder characterized by the absence of all four limbs (having no arms and legs). As you can imagine, life was very difficult for him growing up as he did not understand why he was born so different. Every morning he would wake up wishing he was able to do the things everyone else could easily do. After several attempts to take his own life, he realized that life has more to offer and he can be grateful for what he does have (a loving family, supportive friends, and the power to motivate others) . He took advantage of his disadvantage and showed the world that everything is possible if you change the way you look at your situation. At the age of 17, he started his own non-profit organization called Life Without Limbs. Also, he graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce, with a double major in accounting and finance. Today, he is a motivational speaker who has addressed over 3 million people in almost 60 countries. He is married and has two healthy children. Oh and before I forget, on his spare time, he enjoys playing soccer and swimming!

Whenever you find yourself in a hopeless state, ask yourself what opportunity does this challenge provide?  By doing so, these negative situations will make you a better, stronger, and more knowledgeable person in life. Instead of casting more darkness on this world, strive to become a beacon of light for those whose lives seem dire and hopeless.

” Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.” – Marianne Williamson

Video links to each person described above:

Buster Douglas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rt8LZ8FjGN8

Jim Carrey: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEOW_uhF8bk

Nick Vujicic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6P2nPI6CTlc

Infusing the Generation Gap

By: A Millennial

In the classroom, we are taught that a company’s most important goal is to maximize shareholder wealth. As we enter the real-world and commence our careers, we then understand that a company is driven by people (or human capital). A significant challenge that companies are now facing is adapting to the change in generations. With older generations assuming senior positions or exiting the workforce, there is now an influx of younger entrants. In addition to the many day-day issues a company faces, it must now find solutions to two enduring problems:

  1. How to attract and retain Millennials (people with birth years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s).
  2. How to infuse different generations and ignite cohesiveness.

In my opinion, attracting and retaining Millennials can be achieved by the company itself. However, infusing generational gaps within a company can only be done by the employees themselves. Only by having employees discover the benefits of generational differences can a company fully utilize the diversity that a workplace offers.

Here are two broad solutions for each of the two problems outlined above:

1. How to attract and retain Millennials:

  • Use Social Media: companies can use a plethora of platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Facebook etc. to advertise (for free) what it would be like to work for them. The more interactive, personal, and informal companies become in communicating with Millennials the easier it will be to attract them. Use YouTube to upload “Day in the Life” videos of a company’s CEO or fresh graduate who just joined. Use LinkedIn to write articles that describe, in a simplified manner, what the company does and is planning to do. Use Facebook to interact with people and show them the company cares about its stakeholders. Use Snapchat to allow employees to show friends/family what their typical day looks like. Use Instagram to share pictures of what the company is doing outside of work i.e. charities, TED talks, youth programs etc. The more a company distances itself from the bland and formal style of hiring, the more likely it will attract and retain exceptional talent.
  • Encourage Creativity: Millennials, we dream big. With high aspirations and goals, a company should foster, encourage, and unleash the innovative/entrepreneurial capabilities of younger generations. Instead of shutting the door on what someone can do, leave the door open and see how far one can go. Most Millennials have side projects, businesses, and ideas outside of work they are truly passionate about. Companies should take the time and show interest in learning what these things are. By doing so, companies can then find ways to bridge greats insights into the company to challenge status-quo. Often times, challenging the status-quo can be very intimidating, especially for a new entrant. Senior executives, managers, and supervisors should reward employees for taking the time and energy to think of ways to change the company for the better i.e. adding value. In the words of Henry Ford, “if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”.

2. How to infuse different generations and ignite cohesiveness:

  • Accept Change: change is occurring whether you like it or not. The only way to survive is to tackle it head on. As the wave grows in size and begins approaching, a surfer does not swim in the opposite direction. A surfer swims towards the wave, finds the perfect entry point, and rides the wave in a smooth fashion. Similarly, a company ancient in its thinking will never see a smooth future. Change is difficult for anyone, but a company must understand that just as older generations have to adapt to younger generations, younger generations have to adapt to older generations. Instead of accepting one side and neglecting the other, I believe the best approach is to infuse both in a concoction of diverse experiences, ideas, and skill sets. For instance, knowing that Millennials have greater experience with technology, older generations can leverage their capabilities to automate inefficient and manual processes. On the flip side, Millennials can leverage the experience and knowledge that their older counterparts can offer and expand their thinking into realms that would otherwise be left unopened.
  • Respect Differences: the issue I see is that both the older and younger generations fear one another. Younger generations fear they will not be taken seriously. Older generations fear they will be replaced. The solution is to realize that a puzzle cannot be completed with pieces of the same structure.Differences in age, knowledge, experience, and skill set is required by any company looking to reap the benefits of a complete human capital puzzle. Millennials provide a company with current, fresh, and new insights. They bring to the table fluency with technology that can revolutionize the future of the company. Older generations are blessed to have encountered historic economic events i.e. the tech bubble in the 1990’s and geopolitical events i.e. World War II that lasted from 1939 to 1945. Knowledge of the outcomes of  such events can provide companies with the ability to mitigate the risks that could arise if history repeats itself. Finally, each generation can help the other remedy a weakness. Knowing that Millennials are very ambitious, positive, and optimistic, older generations can keep Millennials grounded, realistic, and rational. This can prevent Millennials from pursuing ideas that involve huge risks and potential losses i.e. entering a business venture without doing research or having financial backing. Conversely, Millennials can provide useful insider information for older generations on how to understand younger people. Older generations can then translate this information to better their relationships with their children.

Embracing generational changes and taking advantage of what they offer will dictate the success and viability of a company’s future. Change can be your friend or enemy. Whether it will benefit you or lead to your demise depends on the side you choose to play on; the side that accepts change or neglects it. So, which side are you on?

The Voyage: A Short Story on Overcoming Obstacles and Succeeding in Life

It was a misty morning when a young man arose startled from what seemed to be a comforting sleep. Dazed, confused, and barely conscious his body lifted him upwards as his eyes began scanning the surroundings. Stepping foot on the cold wooden floor, he made his way to the boats main deck. As he opened the door, a subtle breeze glazed through his light dark hair. Shutting his eyes while inhaling a deep breath, he savored the relaxing sensations that altered his entire being. Feeling refreshed and more coherent, he sensed an object in his pocket. He unfolded the paper and starred at the map before him. The map showed two points; a point of origination and destination. Trying to decipher its meaning, he also observed a red dot which was placed halfway between those two points. Seeing this linear path provided him with some comfort: the comfort of knowing where he came from, where he was heading to, and where he was currently at. What he did not know, was that his voyage was about to experience some major turbulence.

Suddenly, the refreshing breeze was gone. The suns gaze had dimmed. Darkness crept up and encapsulated the crystal blue waters. In a matter of seconds, adrenaline rushed through the young man’s body. His limbs tightened and eyes widened. In front of him was a beast given birth by natural occurrence. In front of him, was a wave as tall as the mind can fathom. Panicking in silence and fixated in form, his mind began calculating multiple options of evacuation. Should he jump ship? Should he call for help? Should he take control and steer out of danger? As minutes turned into seconds and the wave quickly approached, a spark of intelligence stimulated his brain and gave light to an outstanding plan. First, he needed to convince himself that he was going to get through this. He reached into his pocket and reopened the map. He knew he was half way on his voyage and his options were to either turn back or keep going. Regardless of the option he chose, he still had to sail the same distance i.e. another half back or another half front. So, why not sail towards the destination? Despite the rationale behind the thought, this option was not an easy one. He could easily give up and let his environment take control of the situation. However, remaining strong in belief, the young man made the decision to ride the wave of difficulty and overcome the challenge that waits ahead. The young man decided to take matters into his own hands.

First, he needed to get rid of useless objects that slowed down the boat and made it increasingly difficult to maneuver. Dead weight that lay idle and does not contribute to the overall success of the voyage must be completely removed. Second, he needed rigid faith that his decision to persist will lead to a positive outcome. Unknown to the consequences that could arise and the risks that may take place, he relied fully on the decision he had made in hopes that it was the right one. Third, he visualized how amazing of an experience it would be if he overcame this situation. He knew that if he came out of it alive, he would in turn become a stronger, knowledgeable, experienced, and well-rounded individual. Finally, he had to harness the power gathered from his self-motivation and maneuver the ship into what will become the hardest obstacle this young man will ever have to face.

The door to the control room opened abruptly. The young man, standing at the entrance of the door, tightly gripped his fists and made his way to the boat’s wheel. Sitting on the stool and making sense of navigational instruments, he began to panic. The ground beneath him shook aggressively sending the young man flying across the room. The time has come, and the young man knew it. Lying on the floor severely bruised, he questioned whether to continue with his foolish plan. Interjecting his self-doubt, he swayed his mind to remember his promise to persist regardless of how hard things might get. Using whatever bit of energy he had left, he stood back up and took control of the boat. This time, with a more concrete look of determination, focus, and drive, he sailed the boat past the most brutal waves. The harder they hit, the harder he sailed. An hour had gone by and his hands began to loosen. Palms dampened with sweat and lower back aching from constant tension, his focus began to fade. The only variable keeping him alert was the bullet-like sound the waves would make as they blasted the wooden surface of the boats body. Unable to hold on much longer, he closed his eyes and began praying that the waves would suddenly come to a halt. He was praying this madness would all be over.

The young man woke and stood straight up in his bed. He looked around his room sifting his head from one end to the other. Confused, he ran to his grandmother to tell her about his dream. Explaining the vivid and daunting experience, his grandmother responded with a warm smile. She looked at him and explained the following:

Life is just like the voyage you had experienced. Life will never be a smooth road, it will be accompanied by multiple uphill battles. You must have the faith that one day things will get better and even though challenging situations arise, you must fight to keep going. One day, you will look back at these situations and thank them for crafting you into the man you have become. It is important, however, that you realize at what point you start from to find out what point you are heading to. After planning the path you choose to take, make sure you create a contingency plan that will save you if things go wrong. Have faith in yourself and keep yourself reminded that the work you are doing today will reap benefits tomorrow. Understand that sometimes you must cut out the negative aspects of your life, whether they are bad friendships or bad habits. You cannot allow dead weight to drag you down when you are trying to climb the ladder of success. You must visualize every step of the process. See it constantly in your mind and play it over and over again. If you see where you want to end up and who you want to become, your mind will find a way to make your vision become a reality. Do not forget that along the way, not everyone will wish you well. Not everyone will want you to succeed. Some might not understand what you are trying to accomplish or the benefits of what you are doing. Despite their lack of belief in you, all that matters is for you to believe in yourself. You can do anything you set your mind to, because nothing is impossible.