According to Entrepreneur Magazine, Millennials are the “least entrepreneurial generation in 100 years” and higher education is largely to blame:
…millennials are facing more cultural pressure than any other generation to go to college and get a degree immediately after high school, no matter what. This combination has led to market saturation of college degree holders, as well as disproportionate millennial unemployment. Millennials tend to have more education than average, but are more likely to be jobless and managing an ever-increasing load of student debt.
Hence, as the magazine notes, Millennials tend to be risk-averse. Actively seeking to avoid risk contradicts the mentality it takes to start your own business or pursue your own creative idea to financial fruition. Limited cash and a desire to stay under the risk radar keeps Millennials away from a competitive economy that’s also being eaten up by oligopolies, “businesses that control a large share of the marketplace”.
One factor Entrepreneur didn’t take into account is the mentality learned in classrooms by these over-schooled Millennials: An emphasis on the liberal politics of social justice at the expense of learning essential skills for success.
Educators love to complain about Helicopter Parents. You know the type: over-protective, over-possessive supervisors of their children’s every move. The funny thing is, most educators are no different. Whether you’re talking public education, state universities, or private colleges, most teachers and professors are more focused on what your children learn to think, not how they learn to think. Whether it is the “right” way to view race, class, gender, or sexuality, or the idea that 2+2 can somehow equal 5, our kids are learning a worldview that negates critical thinking and analysis in favor of a politically correct point of view. Forget Helicopter Parents. It’s Helicopter Educators we have to worry about.
Critical thinking is a key building block to entrepreneurship. If your child’s “critical” viewpoints are being given to him on a bullet-pointed sheet copied out of a federally-approved curriculum, he isn’t learning how to think critically. As a result, he’s most likely not even learning how to think for himself let alone develop those basic critical skills into the higher levels of reasoning necessary to truly function independently, let alone become an entrepreneur. No wonder we already have an entire generation that wants to keep their heads down and do what they’re told.
The writer at Entrepreneur concludes that while we can’t address oligopolies at the grassroots level, we can still make an impact on the future of entrepreneurship in America: “The most controllable factor in millennials’ lack of entrepreneurship? Their aversion to risk,” he writes. “So, we owe it to this generation (and future generations) to address it. And, the sooner, the better.”
Good idea. Let’s start by fostering critical thinking skills at the preschool level at home. Better yet, we can begin by taking control of the helicopter and making sure we, the parents, are the ones in charge of preparing our children for the kind of future they deserve.