Say Hello To Generation Z!

MissMalini , 04 Jun 2018

Some time ago, I went to Hubli to speak at the TiE Hubli Women’s Conclave. I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Hubli (the second largest city in Karnataka FYI) and didn’t really know what to expect. But I’m now apparently on the “literary circuit” and traipsing around the country talking about my book, #ToTheMoon – How I Blogged My Way To Bollywood (still a somewhat surreal thing to say, my book!) and I was invited to speak on a panel, so off I went… to meet Generation Z!

The event was sweet and sincere. With various speakers aimed at inspiring young entrepreneurs (some mom-trepreneurs) and many bright-eyed students to follow their dreams and shatter the “glass ceiling” (especially installed for women it seems) that we so often hear about. But the thing that struck and has stayed with me since my trip, was the girls from the International Institute of Fashion Design. It wasn’t so much about the fact that they were fashion students per-say. It was the utter exuberance with which Generation Z is ready to experience LIFE. Millennials are often accused of being lazy, ungrateful, unmotivated and uninterested. I explain this particular dilemma and that somewhat unfair assessment in my book at length (referring largely to Simon Senek‘s incredible talk on “Millennials in the Workplace”)

But there’s a new generation brewing while we’re busy adding GIFs to our Insta-Stories. Generation Z.

“According to Forbes (2015), the generation after Millennials, Generation Z, which they defined as people born from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s…”

(We can talk about how “Generation Z” is an utterly disappointing name after one called the “Millennials” another time btw)

A Girl Called Z

Now while I am 100% not dissing or forgetting my dearest Millennials, this is a blog about a girl called “Z”, that I met in Hubli (hey that rhymes!) and how she’s going to change the world.

This bright-eyed girl came bounding up to me after my panel and said, “I have a question. How do I follow my dream?” So I asked her what her dream was. She said, “I want to write, I want to BE somebody.” So I asked her what she’s studying now. To which she answered, “Engineering.” I was a little taken aback, to be honest. I asked her how come engineering if she wanted to write? And she said her parents had told her she could either be a doctor or an engineer and engineering demanded fewer years of education. So many things went through my mind you know. Why are parents still putting these shackles on their children? Is it ever going to change? Did I even realise how lucky I was that I always got to pursue whatever I wanted to because my mother is AWESOME? How do I get this kid out of Hubli?! Listen, while I understand her father’s concern and the fact that he probably just wants job security for his child, surely there are greater options than the doctor/lawyer/engineer buckets? Anyway, she asked me if I would read her blog and I said I would if she would me the link.

A few days went by after I got back to Bombay, but I could not get this girl out of my head. She had a certain sparkle to her and her electric optimism reminded me of well… I guess me! She wanted more but didn’t know how to get it. Growing up I always felt the same way, I wanted to make my life extraordinary, but how? Is there a formula? Do you need a VIP pass and “daddy’s connections”? Is it just a stroke of luck and the universe picking you out of 6 billion? It took me a decade to figure it out and then I read her blog and it blew my mind. Take a look for yourself. Generation Z you impress me.

“Where do ‘THE GREAT’ come from?”

By Shreya Shettar (
Instagram: @ShreyaShettar90

Tough question, huh?… Hang on right there and think about it for a sec. Sadly, there’s no specific answer to that question, because “No one is born great, they die great” Well, that sounds great… but when it comes to actually doing things, doesn’t it seem impossible?!

I mean it sucks when you tell your mom that one day you’re gonna become famous, and then she just sits there looking at you for a second and tells you to just go back to revising for the next test! She says, “People on TV are extraordinary, millionaires are blessed and famous successful people are great! Not like you!” So I asked her, “Where do these ‘extraordinary’, ‘blessed’, and ‘great’ people come from?!! The underworld?!!”…

You know there are three kinds of people on earth, The first kind is the ones who don’t even care about the question “why?!” They don’t care why they aren’t ‘great’? They don’t care why that aren’t billionaires. They don’t care why they can’t be successful. And the most important they fear risk! Compare their lives with a train, just goes in its own pace, no speed no adventure whatsoever, stops at times, but then gets back on track in the same old boring way… not much fear of an accident nor the fascination of flight!

Coming to the next set of people who are like newly built aeroplanes with a smudged front glass, they don’t actually know their destination but are pumped up to fly and crash down in the next airport due to lack of clear future vision… There exists the wish to compete, possess potential, but lack the initial push, guidance and belief. This happens to most teens who are pulled back by societal chains, unclear future plans and lack of the belief in the potential they possess.

The third type of people are like rockets, they think, speak, breathe, behave and believe in things boundless… “The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do..!!” They listen to nothing but their inner voice who tells them that “The two most important days in our life are the one when you were born on this earth and the second is when you realise ‘WHY?'”.  ‘The great’ never became ‘great’ until they emphasized on this “WHY?”….Let me make this simple, each one of us is born to fulfil a purpose in life and the ones who do, are successful and the ones who don’t, suck!!

I really wonder how people are supposed to know what they feel like doing next? My dad’s been drilling me about making a career plan… but I actually don’t know how people “feel” like becoming doctors, how people “feel” like becoming engineers and blah blah blah…Where does this “feel” come from?! Or are they just pretending to “feel” so?! Well, I often wonder that don’t you “feel” like doing things no one has ever done before? Don’t you feel like climbing mountains no one has even seen before? don’t you feel like becoming someone no one else has become before?!!

You have this sick feeling when you see hundreds of 16-year-olds turn into youth icons, best selling authors, young CEOs and what not.. and then you take a look at yourself in the mirror, and wonder what you’re doing learning the action of an enzyme of a bi-molecule on the outer epidermis layer of a cockroach?!! They say that you have to believe in yourself… Well, that’s pretty easy to say…but try actually putting that into practice… It’s almost impossible…What does it actually mean to ” believe in yourself”…”Belief in yourself” means knowing that you’re not meant to be average, it means not giving up the search for your inner potential, it means imagining the world being a better place because of you, it means taking more risks than others resulting to more rewards, it means being more desirous for success in life than stability in a job and definition is endless and depends on your “belief”….

Well, looks like tons of teens like need to figure out their real potential and purpose, and need to figure out the puzzle and fish for answers to unsolved questions… guess I’ll have to wrap it up right here, wait a second forgot one last thing… some of my favourite Robin Sharma lines… Here goes…

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart… Try to love the questions themselves,
Like locked rooms and books are written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot be given to you because you could not live with them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present, you need to live the question.
Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer…. some distant day.

Boom. Her name is Shreya Shettar and she is 18 years old. I’m GenX! I was born in 1977. I can’t even wrap my head around the fact that she was born in the year 2000. The same year I packed my bags and landed in Bombay with nothing but two suitcases, 40,000 rupees in the bank and a headful of dreams. She is wise beyond her years, with a deft grasp on her generation’s greatest dilemma. How to be somebody unforgettable! And to be able to articulate it so beautifully means writing is in her veins. I am now convinced that there is a generation of awesomeness out there waiting to explode into the universe, like a speeding supernova.

All I can say to you Shreya is that it is clear to me that you are destined for greatness. It is already pouring out of your soul onto the screen. I hope you learn to hop, skip, jump and fly and not be afraid of falling. I will be your mentor and your guide, if only you will let me. I often read out your blog at panels and talks I do in India and around the world. I even told your story at Babson University in Boston to a crowd of University students searching for their dream, just like you are! I would like nothing more than for you to come and work with me at Team MissMalini once you graduate and unpack your greatness. To steal a line from John Lennon‘s incredible tune Imagine,

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

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