Is Today’s Young Workforce Overconfident?

By Noah Graff

The Atlantic Monthly recently posted a vlog by San Diego State University professor Jean Twenge in which she discusses her theories about the inflated self-esteem of today’s young people in America.

According to Twenge, young people today have had it reinforced to them, that they’re “special” and they have higher expectations than previous generations. In the last 10 years, an average of 50 percent of high school students said they expect to get a graduate degree. That is twice the percentage of students with that expectation in the 70s. While in reality only around 10 percent actually achieve them.

Twenge recognizes that having high expectations can be good because it inspires ambition, but she says that having unrealistic goals can be detrimental to success, especially in today’s brutal economy, and research actually shows that confidence does not necessarily translate to success. One reason people associate success with confidence is that successful people often become confident because of their success.

She also says that young children today often get too much structure in their educational upbringing. She believes that unstructured activities like leaving kids alone in the kitchen to play with pots and pans are important to develop creativity. She says that by having to play without structure, kids learn to come up with ideas on their own.

Question: Do you believe that confidence is essential to achieve success? Do you think that there is a dearth of talented young people entering the workforce?

The Trouble With Being Special

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One thought on “Is Today’s Young Workforce Overconfident?

  1. Ken

    Yes I agree. This is a product of the ” no child left behind ” mentality. We are all equal, there are no loser’s just last place winner’s! Do you remember a certain First Lady polluting our schools [ and obviously the children in them ] with this unrealistic non-sense. Everyone is not equal or capable of achieving the same things in life. Variety is the spice of life was coined for a reason. Th gazelle on the Seringettie does not want to be diner tonight, but the lion must eat ! Ain’t fair but it is the natural order of things ! The thrill of victory and the angony of defeat needs to be re-introduced to Americans!


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