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Gen Z Is Ready To Tell Us How To Live

Gen Z

Upon first hearing the results, it might make you want to roll your eyes: According to a survey conducted by the market research company OnePoll, 81% of Gen Z believe they can write self-help books.

It takes a certain audacity to feel you can write a self-help book. As Alfred Lubano, writing on the results in The Philadelphia Inquirer, put it, “What you’re proclaiming, page after page, is not only that you have a better take on what’s plaguing the human condition than everyone else, you’re also saying that you’re enlightened enough to fix it.” That, he adds, is “chutzpah.”

Let’s remind ourselves that most bracket off Generation Z to include those currently between the ages of 12 and 27.

When broadened out to all Americans, only 47% have that level of self-confidence and sense of having arrived in life. Only 48% of Millennials would dare to take on such a task (ages 28-43), and just 28% of Boomers (ages 60 to 78).

Let’s make the obvious observation: The longer you live, the less you think you know what nobody else seems to know. The less wisdom you feel you may have to impart on others. And even if you feel you have gained some traction in the wisdom category, the less likely you are to take it upon yourself to be its bearer. As one woman who wrote a book at the age of 82 on conquering an eating disorder offered, “I couldn’t write the book until I’d gotten into the topic sufficiently to convince myself it wasn’t just sheer ego powering me to write.”

May her tribe increase.

On the other hand, the younger you are, the more you feel you have much to say about how to live life, and therefore are the one to tell others.

This may be the result of being raised on social media, where “influencers” are the new rockstars, and offering up advice and opinion is central to the appeal. An example would be Texas writer Keila Shaheen who has published a best-selling mental health guide at the ripe old age of 24.

There is also the eternal hubris of youth, feeling like you are the first generation to understand anything about everything. It seems everywhere you turn on Instagram or TikTok, you find another post on what you should eat, how you should exercise, how to decorate, and almost always from someone who is on the younger side of things.

Yet it can be comical hearing 20-somethings opining on all things parenting, finance, health and, yes, spirituality, as if they were the first to ever experience or ponder such matters. At least to those who have lived long enough to know just how little you really understand about such things while in your twenties.