We’re in an era of unprecedented aspiration inflation. High hopes and supersized ambitions — stoked by a culture that glorifies early achievement in every industry from tech to entertainment — are the norm. Most high school students aspire to a college education from a branded institution, even though a significant portion of them aren’t prepared to handle the rigors of education in a particular expertise. Millennials, surveys tell us, are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead – relocate, travel frequently, work long hours. They prize flexible work arrangements and see themselves as entrepreneurs. Over half of them want to be senior leaders within their organizations. Sixty-six percent of female Millennials and 59% of male Millennials cite a high-paying career as one of their top priorities. Sixty-two percent believe they can make a difference in their local community and 40% believe they can literally change the world.
And with social media embedded in our daily lives, the perceived need to perform these ambitions in a publicly documented format in order to keep pace with peers often becomes a soul-sucking trap. To decline to filter yourself and instead opt to discuss how your goals are out of sync with demographic norms represents a social and professional risk