A Response to Simon Sinek’s Rant about Millennials and the Answer for Generational Issues

September 12, 2017

Simon Sinek blew up the internet with his rant on Millennials.  I can’t tell you how much I disagree with much of what he said.  I’ll take his points one at a time and discuss them.

He said that everything that is wrong with Millennials can be summed up in four distinct areas:

  • AREA 1:  Poor Parenting:  Sinek claims that the parents ruined this generation through entitlement where everyone gets a trophy. I have questioned many Millennials about this and most seem confused.  Many of the ones I talked to did not receive the many trophies that are continually referenced by Baby Boomers.  Do you know any Generation X folks and Baby Boomers with poor parents? Why are we targeting Millennials?  Baby Boomers claim that Millennials are lazy, but many of the Millennials that I know work incredibly long hours, it’s just not during the traditional work hours.  They are constantly working! Some examples of “lazy” millennials from Inc. Magazine’s Top 20 Most Influential Millennials:

1. Mark Zuckerberg

Just about everybody has heard of Mark Zuckerberg by now. The famous millennial created Facebook, the most powerful social media platform ever – and raked in a few billion dollars along the way. Barely in his 30s he’s already spent considerable sums giving back to cure diseases and help civilizations make better decisions across health care and education.

3. David Karp

David Karp created Tumblr, a site famous among many millennials who use the blogging platform daily. The site is normally used for sharing art and images, but it also acts well for short form blogging and sharing ideas.

4. Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp

Continuing the theme of ultra-famous social media and content sharing sites, Ben Silbermann and Evan Sharp created Pinterest. Pinterest has grown into a massive business with these two guys at the helm.

5. Jessica Alba

Yes, that Jessica Alba. Actress turned entrepreneur, Alba created The Honest Company. A company that pushes ethical and non-toxic products, The Honest Company is valued at well over $1 billion.

9. Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom

Instagram, created by Mike Krieger and Kevin Systrom, is the immensely popular photo sharing social media app. The app has a particularly large audience with millennials and the upcoming Generation Z.

10. Brian Chesky

Founder of Airbnb, Brian Chesky has managed to disrupt and revolutionize the way we approach travel, room and board.

  • AREA 2:  Tech: Sinek says that Millennials are addicted to social media.  Do you know any Baby Boomers or Generation X folks who are addicted to social media?  How often do you check Facebook each day?  Why is this a Millennial issue? I agree that there should be periods where you remove devices from your world for periods throughout your day.  We recommend this to everyone, not just Millennials.
  • AREA 3:  Impatience:  Sinek claims that this instant gratification world translates into Millennials expecting instant career mobility and instant intimate relationships and joy in their life and work. Isn’t this true for our society and not just Millennials? This “chases shiny objects” emotional profile (high flexibility/low impulse control) shows up in some of our participants in our programs and it isn’t just Millennials.  There is an upside to this profile.  These folks are constantly looking for more possibilities and different ways to do things.  Why do we always focus on the negative?
  • AREA 4:  Environmental:  Sinek says that corporations don’t care about these young people and don’t give them the resources (training in social skills) to find joy and fulfillment in their work and their relationships. It’s the company’s responsibility.  That’s the only thing that Sinek said that I agree with. I do believe that most companies care about their people.  The key is to provide these resources and create organizations and projects that are relationship driven and collaborative.

Look at the following quote and try to guess who said it and when it was said:

“Our (sons’ time) was worse than our (grandsons’). We their sons are more worthless than they: so in our turn we shall give the world a progeny yet more corrupt.”

The answer?  Horace, Book III of Odes, circa 20 BC

This is nothing new.  This issue has been going on for millennia!  This is not a generational issue.  This is a communication/people issue.  We have to get to know our employees and co-workers regardless of their age, accentuate their strengths and help them with their development needs. Why don’t we talk about the positive stereotypes about Millennials?  They are incredibly smart, socially conscious, they get things very quickly, they can solve problems and figure out incredibly difficult issues in a short period of time.  They work smarter, not harder. They are great with technology.

Here’s a cool video with a response from Millennials:

My advice to Millennials?  Get off the phone, tablet, and computer every once in a while and seek out some human interaction and face to face discussion. This will help you in your life and career.  (By the way, this will help EVERYONE!)

My advice to the Baby Boomers?  Quit complaining about Millennials.  Get to know them and create a work environment that exploits their strengths. Don’t worry about their time on their phones or Facebook.  Be clear on what you want from them and give them autonomy and purpose.

Stay tuned for our next online course will be a guide on how to handle these generational issues.  Click here to check out our other online courses that will ensure more successful projects.  If you would like two free white papers and two of my bestselling books, go to brentdarnell.com/whitepaper and sign up!


On Death and Dying Part 2: The Gift of My Own Death

August 10, 2015

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  ― Mark Twain

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” ― Mark Twain


When I was a 19 year old and a freshman at Georgia Tech, I had a near death experience.  The year was 1978.  I was at a fraternity party and walked through a very large plate-glass window (five feet by nine feet).  I was rushed to the hospital where the doctor told me that many people who do this recoil when they hit the glass and either cut off a limb or decapitate themselves.  I still had my head, but I was cut up pretty badly.  My face was deeply cut and you could see the ball and socket joint in my shoulder.  The doctors stitched me up and sent me home.  It made me rethink everything in my life.

Before that accident, I was extremely arrogant and condescending.  I made fun of others for their “shortcomings” even if it was something they had no control over such as their physical appearance or stutter or affectation.  After the accident, my empathy level went way up. I had much more compassion, probably because of a prominent scar on my face.  I was now the scar-faced guy.  The guy with the scar.  It made my hyper-aware of how people judge.  How I used to judge.  How I still judge if I don’t catch myself.  So, as a result of this experience, something changed dramatically within me.

Now for the second near death experience, which took place in February of 2015.  The day after a routine physical, I received a frantic call from my primary care physician.  He told me to go directly to the emergency room.  He said that all of my blood values were in the single digits.  I had very low red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.  My wife and I drove to the emergency room and checked in. They asked me if I had any headaches, nose bleeds, fatigue?  I told them I did not, but now that they mentioned it, I did feel a little tired.  They said that with these numbers, I should be experiencing a massive brain hemorrhage and be near death.  It didn’t make sense that I was still conscious.  So they drew more blood and ran some more tests.

My wife and I waited for four hours for the results.  Did I need to call anyone?  Were there any unresolved issues?  No.  Not really.  My mom, who had dementia, would not understand a call to her, but there were no unresolved issues with her that needed to be addressed.  I had good life insurance for my wife and we had nothing to resolve.  I was good to go.  I was ready to leave the earth if that was the plan.  I contacted my brothers and my close friends and told them via text.  They offered up prayers and support.  My wife and I and my entire support system prayed for a miracle.

At the end of the four hour wait, the doctor came in and told me that my blood test was textbook normal and that I could go home.  It made me think.  Did a miracle just take place?  Was I somehow healed of this horrible blood disorder?  I’m not sure.  They called it a lab error.  In any case, I was given a great gift.  I saw my own death without the consequence of my own death.  I was reassured and content with my life.  There were no major things to resolve and I have lived a good life.  It did make me think about trying to worry a little less and work a little less and enjoy life a little bit more. I don’t like to offer advice to anyone, but I hope you won’t wait for your near death experience to re-examine your life and see if you want to make any changes.


The Power of Passion!

June 11, 2015


“When you set yourself on fire, people love to come and see you burn.” — John Wesley

I recently saw the Rolling Stones in Atlanta.  Mick Jagger is 70 years old.  Lead guitarist Keith Richards is 70.  Drummer Charlie Watts is 72. Ronnie Wood is the youngster at only 66 years old.  And these guys did a two hour show that would have left folks half their age exhausted.  The jumped, they danced, they gyrated, they were all over a very large stage.  They really put it out there. It was a high energy rockfest, and the crowd went wild!

How in the world do they do this?  It is very clear to me that these guys have been at the top of their games for decades, making incredible music.  The other thing that struck me is that they absolutely LOVE what they do.  They are very passionate about their music and about performing.  They don’t “go through the motions”.  They don’t rest on their past success.  They love what they do so much they are constantly striving to take it to the next level, even with their advanced years.

I absolutely love what I do.  I can’t imagine doing anything else.  And I am constantly looking for ways to improve, to learn, to help the industries that I support transform themselves.  It is my mission in life and after this concert, I will rededicate myself to showing my passion even more.

What about you?  Do you have something that you are passionate about?  Do you love what you do?  Remember, my friend, that life is very short.  Either find something that your passionate about with your present circumstances or find something else!  Remember what brought you into what you are presently doing in the first place.  We lose passion in the day-to-day drudgery of work. But it is there, hidden underneath all of the crap.  Find it again and reconnect to it!

Let me know what you are passionate about and how you have reconnected with it.  I would love to hear from you.


What is your purpose?

February 5, 2015

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Everything and everyone has a purpose.  I recently saw the movie Hugo on Netflix and highly recommend it.  It is the story of a young orphan who takes care of and repairs machines.  He explains that his purpose is to fix machines.  Because when a machine is broken, and cannot do what it was made to do, it is a very sad situation because the machine no longer fulfills its purpose.  Do you know what your purpose is?  And are you living your purpose?  If not, you may be like those machines that are broken.  You are not fulfilling your purpose.  And that is a very sad thing.  If you don’t know what your purpose is, there are many resources that will help you find out.  One excellent book is The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.  Or you can take this time at the beginning of the year and start writing down a few ideas of what your purpose might be.  It’s worth the effort to explore this very profound question. Try writing down 10 things you want, 10 things you need, and 10 things you love.  What do those lists look like?  Does it give you any clarity of purpose?


Never Underestimate the Impact That You Have on Others

August 21, 2014


Recently I received the following in a Linked In message:  “Just wondering what you are up to these days. It’s over 11 years since our session in Callaway Gardens, which I still remember as fundamentally life-changing. Since then, I have faced many challenges, and I fall back on those lessons-learned fairly often (perhaps too often!)  Regards,  John”  The name has been changed to protect the person’s identity.

Wow!  That was 11 years ago and this person is still deriving value from our few days together in a program.  Those small life lessons, those kind words, those insights have stuck with him, and changed his outlook and responses to life’s ever-changing landscape.

The opposite is also true.  My wife, Andrea, was told by one of her teachers that she “wasn’t a science person”.  That stuck with her.  She never thought she was good at science and became a counselor.  Years later, she went to Life Chiropractic and became a chiropractor, and has been practicing for over 30 years. She is an amazing chiropractor and heads up the part of our leadership programs that focus on physical well-being and performance.  Chiropractic is highly technical and you have to remember minute details of human anatomy and physiology.  And she did it despite her teacher’s ludicrous proclamation.  Imagine if he had told her that with some hard work and effort, she could be amazing at science and that she could be anything that she desired to be?  What would the outcome have been?  Andrea overcame that assessment of her and has done very well.  But what about all of those people out there that have been beaten down by authority figures, parents, and teachers?  What untapped potential are we destroying with our words?

Words are very powerful.  Choose them carefully.  You can either build people up and set the foundation for a future that is full of possibilities or you can tear people down and set the tone for their life that diminishes their potential and who they are as human beings.  So, make up your mind today to take every opportunity to build people up and increase their potential.  Together, we can create a world where everyone is valued for their unique talents.  Together, we can help to unlock the limitless potential that is in every human being.

How to Create Sustainable Change: Have a Plan A, B and C

July 10, 2014

changeAt the beginning of our programs, all participants create development plans.  Many times these plans are grand in nature.  I’ve seen things like “I’m going to run a marathon.”  or “I’m going to do an Iron Man Triathlon.”  or “I’m going to work out EVERY DAY!”  These are amazing goals to have.  And I applaud these participants for allowing themselves to dream big.  At the same time, some of these folks are starting from nothing.  They are doing no exercise at all and yet their goal is to do an Iron Man.  For those folks, we tell them to start small and always have a plan A, B, and C.

Plan A may be to train for the Iron Man.  Plan B may be to run three times a week.  Plan C may be to walk every day for 10 minutes at lunch.  Another example is:  Plan A is to work out every day.  Plan B is to work out three times per week.  Plan C is to do 25 push ups in the morning.  While these lofty goals are admirable, sometimes they can be discouraging.  When the participants don’t accomplish these goals, they feel like failures.  And they are not failures.

Real, lasting, sustainable change comes from tiny things done consistently.  If you can choose to eat right most days, if you can commit to walk for 10 to 20 minutes most days, if you can commit to meditate or manage your stress well most days, you are going to create some amazing, lasting changes in your life.

So have those lofty goals, and always have a plan B and C to fall back on and do those consistently.

Things My Dog Taught Me: Rely on Your Inner Strength

May 15, 2014

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My life feels like the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities:  “It was the best of times.  It was the worst of times.”  In many ways my life and work are the best it’s ever been.  I have plenty of work and more work coming.  I don’t work too much.  I have moved my home office and now have a real office to go to each day.  I feel good physically.

But in some ways, my life is not so good.  My mom is in decline and I will likely lose her sooner rather than later.  And with any adversity like that, there are two emotional competencies that usually decline rapidly:  emotional self-awareness and impulse control.  The emotional self-awareness declines and I “check out” emotionally.  This is not good for my wife, my family, and sometimes my clients.  And the worst part is that I tend to use most of my energy to make sure clients are happy, which leaves little energy for family, especially my wife.  It’s not fair for her, and she and I are struggling with it.

The second area is impulse control, specifically with eating.  When I am stressed, I tend to eat a lot.  And I eat a lot of carbs and sugar.  This is not good for me or those around me.  I tend to zone out even more and have these highs and lows.  It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions and energy.

So how am I coping with all of this?  I’m doing the things I need to do to be fully present and aware of what’s going on around me.  I try to stay in the moment.  Sometimes I’m successful.  Sometimes I’m not.  I try to take care of myself and meditate daily, get an occasional massage, go to some movies, turn off work and focus on my wife and all of the things at home.

But the one thing that gives me the most hope, that helps me the most is something I learned from my dog, Ginger.  When she was in decline, she stayed strong.  She had such a vibrant soul and an inner strength, it was inspiring.  It still is.  I know I am strong.  I have that inner strength.  I know that I can deal with anything that life throws at me with courage and hope.  I feel like Ginger is watching over me somehow, encouraging me and letting me know that this too shall pass.

There will always be good times and bad times.  It’s understanding the transient nature of life and relying on that inner strength that keeps me going.  If you have a story of courage and inner strength, I would like to hear about it.