“Ambition inflation” is on the rise

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According to a recent study (and obvious observation of behavior), the self-infatuation of America’s youth is on the rise. And unfortunately, most have nothing to show for it.

Over the weekend, the Daily Mail reported:

“Young people’s unprecedented level of self-infatuation was revealed in a new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has been asking students to rate themselves compared to their peers since 1966.”

“Psychologist Jean Twenge and her colleagues compiled the data and found that over the last four decades there’s been a dramatic rise in the number of students who describe themselves as being ‘above average’ in the areas of academic ability, drive to achieve, mathematical ability, and self-confidence.

But in appraising the traits that are considered less individualistic – co-operativeness, understanding others, and spirituality – the numbers either stayed at slightly decreased over the same period.
Researchers also found a disconnect between the student’s opinions of themselves and actual ability.

While students are much more likely to call themselves gifted in writing abilities, objective test scores actually show that their writing abilities are far less than those of their 1960s counterparts.

Also on the decline is the amount of time spent studying, with little more than a third of students saying they study for six or more hours a week compared to almost half of all students claiming the same in the late 1980s.

Though they may work less, the number that said they had a drive to succeed rose sharply.
These young egotists can grow up to be depressed adults.

A 2006 study found that students suffer from ‘ambition inflation’ as their increased ambitions accompany increasingly unrealistic expectations.

‘Since the 1960s and 1970s, when those expectations started to grow, there’s been an increase in anxiety and depression,’ Twenge said. ‘There’s going to be a lot more people who don’t reach their goals.’

Twenge is the author of a separate study showing a 30 per cent increase towards narcissism in students since 1979.”

“They think that they’re special and they think that they deserve great things because they’re special, and they’re not.  That’s going to be a problem.  Who hasn’t seen ‑‑ who hasn’t seen this coming?” Glenn commented after reading the report.

And Glenn’s right, if you’ve ever watched one episode of American Idol, it’s crystal clear that something is wrong with the youth of America self-perception. Just look at the utter shock on the faces of these kids as they’re broken the news that ‘no, you’re not the next Kelly Clarkson':

In the words of Simon, “Dreadful. Absolutely dreadful.”

But, this is the “trophy generation”, where throughout childhood kids are given award simply for showing up, where ‘playing time’ is guaranteed with no correlation to athletic ability, and students are forced to move at the pace of their lowest performing classmate.

America’s youth are being set up for failure without ever being given the opportunity to actually experience it.

In a generation where practically every student goes to college, getting into college is hardly an achievement. Students enter with zero career goals, but believe they are entitled to a job upon completion. This didn’t used to be the case.

Glenn has been reading a lot of books about the 1800s and the great innovators in America and the electrical age. Glenn was surprised by the number of them who left college because they felt like they were put in a box.

‘I’m shocked by the number of people that went to college and, you know, Westinghouse was one of them, really smart guy, went to Yale, was I think a year into Yale and was like, “Okay, enough of that”,” Glenn explained.

But it’s not just great minds of the past who left college to innovate on their own. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Michael Dell all left to pursue their own education and innovation.

“I’m stunned by how many people are not playing the game, you know, where they just, they just got out and said, “I don’t want anything to do with this.”  And then how hard they all worked,” Glenn said.

Today’s youth don’t share this motivation. Pat noted that when you hear people say, “there are jobs that Americans just won’t do,” they’re right. How many 20-year-olds do you know that would work as a farmhand or in construction. There are some, but not many.

“They all believe they’re above that,” Pat quipped.

“It’s time that we changed that,” Glenn said. “And forget about ‑‑ you’re not going to be able to turn the tide of the whole of society.  It really is time to gather together with like‑minded people and change the world that you can change.  You can’t change the whole world.  We have to focus on ourselves and our families and our own community, and strengthen each other.  It’s later than you think it is.  And we can change the world. But not from Washington, and not through marches or anything else.  We have to be a community of like-minded people that stand together, that value merit and work and invention and entrepreneurship.”

Need more proof that America’s youth aren’t exactly in touch with reality? Watch this…

  • http://www.artinphoenix.com/gallery/grimm snowleopard (cat folk gallery)

    This is one more proof of the corruption-success of the Progressives in the last few generations, they have taken the youth and turned them, to various degrees into the “self-centered, spoiled brats.”

    American exceptionalism is one core aspect of America, in which all of us can excel to the best of our ambition, skills, inspiration, determination and drive along the course of our lives.

    Of course, to the Communists, Marxist and Leninist members of the Democrats and the Progressives, this is contrary to the ‘collective’ they demand all conform to save for themselves. That is UN-AMERICAN to the core!!!

  • Anonymous

    “But mark this;There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.” – II Timothy, 3:1-5

  • http://youtu.be/XEjnyMyJYTI Sam Fisher

    Not all of us I will do any job even if it is hard labor and have. I believe that pansyfacation in rampant in my generation but it can still turn around. I someday want to start my own business but I know it will be hard harder now that Obama screwed it up for the poor. Most don’t understand the reality of the real world around us they believe it is no different than high school but they are wrong. It is time to live in reality and be honest with yourself.

  • Draxx

    Confucious said, “A wise man only becomes a wise man, when he realizes how much he really doesn’t know…”

    And, obviously these people don’t know much about themselves to Explore and Develope Talents that they Actually Have!  They enter College/Universities with the same blindness.  I have asked friends and colleagues before what they went to college for, and I am usually astounding by their responses.  One lady was a secretary at a company I worked for, and I would constantly hear her boss put her down when she wasn’t around.  She can’t type, can’t file, can’t take minutes of a meeting properly, and so on.  So I asked her how she got the job when it required a four year degree, and she quickly responded, “But I do have a four year degree!”.  I then asked her what it was in and she said, “I had a Physical Fitness Major, and a Physical Therapy Minor… Why do are you asking me?”.  I told her out of curiousity, and because her boss said she was lacking required skills.  I then asked her why she isn’t doing what she went to College for and she replied, “Oh, I learned after college that I couldn’t stand the Smell of Sweaty, Stinky People! So I quit and came here even though I am not very good at it.”. As Politely as I could, I told her that she was the “Joke of the Company” and that maybe she should start in a Small Office to learn skills.  Or maybe she should cut her losses before her name is tainted in the industry and she won’t get a job anywhere doing that kind of work.  She looked at me with bewildered eyes and said, “Wow, am I really that bad?  I thought I was doing pretty good!”, after I reassured her that others did not feel the same about her skills.  She got up from the lunch table (with tears starting to well up in her eyes), as she was walking away she mumbled, “Thanks I guess, I’m not sure I like that much honesty, but at least I know now…”.  She left the company at the end of the week, and I didn’t see her again for about eight years.  The next time I saw her I was in the local shopping mall, and she was in an Art Gallery/Store for local artist.  I noticed she was staring at Watercolor Paintings that were very nicely done in a Japanese Style and Subject Matter, “How are you doing?” I asked.  She turned and smiled then noticed it was me, “I’m doing fine thanks.  What do you think of My Paintings?”.  I was honestly shocked when she said they were hers, and I honestly responded that I liked them very much (I am also a Graphic/illustrative Artist).  In our general chit-chat she Thanked Me for telling her the truth and said, “I have always like painting, but was never really any good at it… Until, I was lost, hurt, and had no direction to go.  Then I started to paint with watercolors and I put my Sorrow Into Them and Somehow they became pretty good (she was kinda drifting into her own thoughts while speaking out loud).  I was sure I had nothing to look forward to, and then I found this place about five years ago and have been here since.”.  I knew that all I did was tell the truth to her, but it changed her life for the better!  If someone had guided her better she probably would have gone to college in Art…

    Me, I am decent at a few things, but I still haven’t found my Watercolor Paintings (Hidden Talent)…  and I am forty-five now.

  • mudslide

    Nothing a good 4 years of military service can’t fix.

    I speak from experience……

    • Elena

      Pls don’t saddle our armed forces with a bunch of prideful malingerers!  It has enough trouble in the form of Washington DC. 

      • mudslide

         I was one of them once – the military was by far the best decision I’ve ever made.
        The ‘prideful malingerers’ you mention are exactly the ones that need a 4 year enlistment.

  • Anonymous

    Right on!

  • Soulphoenix

    After seeing the American Idol clip, I’m ready to sign up for AI right now! Except that Nikki Minaj is one of the judges, and I’d probably puke before I could get the first note out …

  • greywolfrs

    When I was in school, we knew that we may be good at some things and not so good at others, as are all people. Some people are naturally better at some things and not so good at others. For these kids to think they are better than any other person or generation is preposterous. This is the mentality of people who truly know nothing at all. These kids have not lived enough of life to know. They have been told that they are smarter than their parents and every generation before them. They have been indoctrinated into believing they are superior. They actually believe that the government (and probably themselves) can spend their way out of debt. They actually believe that someone OWES them something. They actually believe that the coountry’s debt and deficit problems can be solved by taxing alone. What a bunch of useful idiots.

    • Anonymous

      great article about this exact problem, really cuts to the chase

  • Elena

    Yes, I have seen many a 20 yr old who is quite sure he is wise.  Wise in his own eyes alone; but when you are all that exists, what’s the difference?

  • Anonymous

    its not just that students feel entitled to a job its that they are promsed one.
    great article on this very thing

  • http://suzeraining.wordpress.com/ suz

    by definition teens through mid-twenties are self-involved know-it-alls (which works out because they’re gonna live forever) and they know the whole world points to them for “they are the future” (insert sarcasm).  oh, and another thing, they’re horny all the time so they already do not think clearly.  however, i don’t think the slackers are actually ambitious–a sense of entitlement, yes.

    they literally twiddle their thumbs all day.

    pass the purple marker.

  • Mark Cline

    Besides the people themselves, there’s something about our society that is vastly different than it has been in the past.  American exceptionalism has been bound up by itself.  There are companies that have done research for the sake of filing patents on things just so that no one in the future can do that inless they pay out the nose for the right to do so.  While those resarchers are to be commended, they basically slam the door of success in the faces of every one who might follow them.  And the government poses a further curtailment to anyone who might want to “build the better mousetrap.”  America isn’t even close to being as free to be inovative as it once was.   And that’s really sad, because in every generation there are people who would contribute greatly to th common good if they weren’t being limited by the status quo.  Gas mileage for our automobiles is solidly in the hands of the automobile manufacurers bcause they’ve patented for themelves every inovation that’s come along over the years and sat on them.  Many of those inovations would be wonderful if implimented, but the ownes of those patents have decided not to use them.  And that’s really sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.allen.585 Dan Allen

      I agree with communities standing together and giving respect based upon merit, but I see some flaws in this way of life. You see merit used to be given based upon ones ability to accomplish something, such as growing a fruitful garden or canning foods for winter. Now the kind of people that are accomplishing things are not common since type people, but rather technical type people. I think we have completely changed the power structure of the world, and through modern invention, given the power of control to the weak. What happened to the times when strong unwavering soldier stood up and lead communities. Now we have men standing up for only equality for all, and mandating social policies.

  • Anonymous

    Very simple folk’s you have been told that 2 income’s are better than one, At the price of your families dignities, equal right’s for our women in the 70’s I am women here me roar see my kid’s now there your’s!
    Ladies please don’t get me wrong you should have every right that I do but only you can be mommies,It seem’s to me that the only one that made out on this is the government they make a whole lot more money when we are both working are thing’s really better,look what we are talking about here.
    More money in the home and more taxes for our friend’s in D.C. to F’ off all in the name of progress which really comes down to GUILT for the lack of parenting , the only thing is that the kid’s get only what we have created,
                                                IT’S ME AND ME AND IT’S THE ONLY WAY !!
    And there are NO trophies for that.

  • Anonymous

    We are responsible. You reap what you sow. We have allowed this to happen for more than 60 years.Call it apathy, ignorance,whatever, but we looked the other way when all this started. Like the frog in the warm pot of water, we just put up with it. Now that the pot is boiling and the water is hot–we notice there is a problem. We have no one to blame but ourselves for raising generation after generation of selfish,self centered, me only,me first adolescents, juvenilles, teenagers and youth. Park the kid in front of the TV, let the day care raise them and let the liberal teachers educate them. What do you expect when parents don’t parent?  Of course there is no God, no respect for authority, no morales, no helping your fellow man, etc,etc.  How did we get here–go back and look at the past–it didn’t happen overnight!  Whycan’t liitle Jonny think for himself,solve problems, read and  write teh English language,balance a check book add and subtract,etc because they were being taught social justice,  green peace,being political correct, a world view as seen by socialist,communists and dicators and on and on. Television progams that denigrate, parents, police, religion, morality, rising above the crowd,etc. We have the “Children of The Corn” because we created them. 

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