In generational studies, Millennials are a Hero Generation.
A Hero gen comes along once every 80 years or so. Born at a time of crisis, they step up and do the hard work of setting things right. The last Hero generation in the US were the GIs who fought World War II.
Here's where it gets interesting. Hero generations have heroes of their own. Like Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen.
Consider Harry. He was born when the stakes were very high. So were Millennials. Harry faced He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Millennials faced terrorism, school shootings, climate change and economic bubbles.
Harry is special, and a lot is expected of him. (Yep, that’s you, Millennials.) But he’s not superhuman like Batman or a Superman. Basically Harry Potter is a regular guy (except for the wizard thing) who uses what power he has to make what difference he can.
And Millennials? They volunteer in large numbers and want to work for socially responsible companies. In one study 51% said they’d take a job that paid less if that job had more positive impact. Ms step up to fix what they can fix. Sure, they’re only Muggles, but Millennials seem downright Harry-ish.
Katniss Everdeen takes us one step closer to the here and now. Combine reality TV, income disparity, resource depletion and personal branding. Then push them to their extremes. You get The Hunger Games. In Katniss we find a heroine who faces Millennial-esque challenges, not as a superhero, but as a person who steps up during crisis to do what she can do.
The heroes of a generation show us that generation at its best. Sure, Harry and Katniss are metaphor and imaginary. And they’re something more. They are Millennial ideals writ large.
Generational expert and keynote speaker, Amy Lynch helps the generations understand each other. She has spoken to 100s of groups from MTV and Comcast to Boeing, J&J and the staff of the U.S. Senate. Contact Amy about your next event.