Born in the mid-90s to early '00s, Generation Z finally has an identity. Say hello to the generation that may be the first in human history to be free to fully express themselves thanks to a lot of help from their predecessors: the Millennials (Generation Y), Gen Xers, and vanguard Baby Boomers.
Occasionally labeled the iGen, Y2Kers or Generation 9/11, Generation Z's identity encompasses more than technological or historical date stamps. Physical and sociological qualities beg us to remove the hyphen for a groundbreaking new way of thinking. Who are the TransGeneration?
They are the quiet noisemakers with unlimited potential self-apprenticing their way toward new frontiers. TransGens don't subscribe to tradition, and they are far more than independent. They are the first generation to embrace Einstein's definition of insanity. But, you won't find TransGens reinventing the wheel either.
Gen Z's "why wait for things to change, when I can be the change" common sense approach to life is giving them, and us, wings to finally begin to fly--without waiting around for flying lessons. As adaptive to perpetual change as they are to conquering the latest high tech gadgets, TransGens don't stop to read the instruction manual, they work their way right out of the box.
Every generation has distinct ideals, characteristics, values, and attitudes that define them. As the oldest TransGens contemplate advanced education, suppleness and the ability to learn at much faster rates are leading today's teenagers to question if the exorbitant cost to learn already-dated models is the most efficient use of their time.
Because TransGens are globally connected and engaged and technology is perpetually evolving, their expectation is that personal growth should correspond. Fearlessness is the byproduct and the means by which inventive TransGens are independently making use of the plethora of information at their fingertips to generate their own opportunities and create social change.
Exploring the TransGeneration can leave you wondering how in the world, or other-world, they came to be. If this can be said about them in their formative years, what will be the final analysis?
Only the tip of the iceberg, what we do know is that TransGens didn't arrive on scene as an anomaly. Pan-generational traits have been recorded throughout history going back hundreds of years. First wave TransGens were the curious, the misfits, the experimental who weren't treated as well as modern day TransGens for questioning the status quo and being ahead of their time.
Curiously enough, we can thank the Millennials for being the bridge between two very different ways of thinking. Once typecast as lazy, they were called the generation that didn't want to grow up by parents who enabled the extended childhood.
Beginning in the '80's, on into the '90's, a new level of materialism was in high gear. The original Me Generation, Mom and dad were home less than ever, or living separately more than ever in pursuit of the "good life." Parental guilt played its own part in creating the entitlement generation.
Survivalism quotients satisfied, Millennials came to expect the good life to be the new normal. A few burst economic bubbles later and jobs harder to find, Millennials delayed traditional rites of passage, opting to live at home.
With Millennial material needs met, they weren't buying into what motivated their parents. They needed a new why. It took a while, but thanks to social media, they finally did -- each other. After the initial narcissism, social media allowed them, and us, to expand our point of view beyond just ourselves as we began to embrace social causes.
In the end we needn't have worried. The Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan fact think tank, reported that as of the first quarter of 2015, Millennials have surpassed Gen Xers as the largest generation in the U.S. workforce.
However, according to recent findings, what must be acknowledged is the greater Millennial generational impact: the desire to do good. This quantifiable evolution in human consciousness found critical mass via an Internet that gave us a large enough window into the world to see life's expanded reality--our interconnectivity.
With very little TransGen data, let's take a look at what's trending for Millennials for a little pan-generational insight into what possibly lies ahead:
• Wealth and equality continues to trend higher as important.
• Interest in political affairs continues to decline.
• Decreased involvement in institutional affiliation.
• Increased networking on a peer-to-peer level.
• Optimism about the future continues despite social distrust.
For the TransGeneration, their why is clear: saving the world from the chaos and uncertainty created by previous generations.
If we are interconnected, it means we're interdependent. If humanity hopes to end chronic poverty for half the world's population, we will be required to dramatically change the way we live on this planet. Indeed, the continuation of the species as a whole depends upon it.
TransGens already get this. Embodying far greater emotional intelligence than their predecessors, these children aren't wasting any time by waiting to grow up. They are busily building homes for the homeless, inventing cancer detection tests, and engineering machinery to clean up our oceans.
Why do we care? Economy. There are two billion TransGens worldwide, one-quarter of the U.S. population. How do we market to a generation that morphs as quickly as a chameleon adapting to its shifting environment? How do employers recruit and hold onto talent in the workplace?
TransGens won't care. Horizontal collectivism seated on a substratum of unabashed individualism, Gen Z will walk around outdated social constructs to create their own new and improved version of the world. What else might we expect from the TransGeneration?
Activism: In a synergetic world, personal fulfillment and social responsibility will be intimately inseparable.
Child: The inner child will be recognized and nurtured well into adulthood as a source of inspiration and creativity.
Collaboration: Competition will be supplanted by crowd funding, open sourcing, and social sharing for greater social impact.
Dream: Freedom from rampant materialism that's harming the planet through stewardship, rather than ownership, will become the New American Dream.
Education: Self-education through formal and informal open-platform learning and hands-on mentorship opportunities will create the most educated generation in history.
Entrepreneurs: More the independent contractor than employee, pursuit of individual passion will surpass profit as motivation for fulfilling one's life purpose.
Family: Marriage and children will be considered optional and carefully before making such commitments.
Global: Lives no longer mortgaged by heavy debt, global collaboration will allow the freedom to move about at will.
Leaders: Decentralized leadership will collectively transform the world as individuals pool resources and talent on a local level.
Relationship: Unsubscribing from traditional gender roles will allow for greater flexibility in the workplace and at home.
Sustainability: The Rule of Law and morality will be replaced by the single all-inclusive compass of sustainability.
Unity Consciousness: The illusion of security shattered, it will be realized that "united we stand" extends beyond nationalism as the very fabric of all life.
The definition of the prefix trans- is across, beyond, and through. Data tells us that TransGens are less religious and less patriotic than previous generations. What may ultimately define the TransGeneration more than any other quality is their ever decreasing tolerance for exclusivity. Is this a bad thing?
The TransGeneration may very well be the antidote to human created suffering rooted entirely in outdated belief systems steeped in separation in favor of leaving no one behind.
What comes after Z?