By: Connor Judson Garrett – June 7, 2016
Bill Gates has one of my favorite quotes –
“I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it.”
Older generations often view millennials as lazy. While I’m not ready to dismiss that notion entirely (I’ve seen it to and I’ve been it before), I’d argue that this quote is relevant to millennials and baby boomers trying to understand millennials because we are a generation obsessed with shortcuts. The result of this “laziness” is innovation. I’m not advocating or defending laziness in its true form, but my generation’s desire to find shortcuts will continue to lead to innovation in science, tech, and industry as we overtake the boomers as the generation who determines the next chapter of our history.
Much of this obsession with easier methods stems from growing up in the digital age. Machines are designed to make work more efficient; technology does the same for simplifying mental tasks. Millennials have grown up in a system of shortcuts enabled by and through technology, so that thinking is trained and reinforced by the age we live in.
Often, however, looking for shortcuts, which should be thought of as efficiency or divergent thinking, is instead mistaken for laziness. Sometimes laziness is laziness and it’s fair to call it what it is, but consider that shortcuts aren’t always such a bad thing. Catch yourself next time you scoff at the millennial idealism or the desire to “change the world” – don’t look at it as a reflection of narcissism, but as my generation feeling empowered by a system of increasing efficiency.
Our full on embrace of shortcuts can appear to be a show of disdain for tradition and rules. It’s not. We crave innovation. Millennials are multi-tasking (at times distracted), efficiency-driven, divergent.