3 Reasons the New Generation is Smarter
March 17, 2021
1) They have learned from the previous generations
The Flynn Effect explains how with every generation, the average intelligence of children increases exponentially. Throughout history, the knowledge and experiences of the older generations are passed down. This naturally increases the awareness and the knowledge of the next generation. With every new generation, the Smithsonian has averaged that our IQ goes up 9 points!
For example, generations ago, certain plants were found to be poisonous. At the time, that knowledge did not yet exist. It wasn’t until people died from eating these plants that this information became common knowledge. This knowledge was then passed down to the next generation so they do not discover the same fate. Whether it’s time-saving or life-saving, every generation adds new information onto what they already know. This is how human knowledge evolves and continue to evolve.
Previous generations have similarly set the stage for the youth of today to be more entrepreneurial. They pass along their knowledge while also providing inspiring examples of startup success. The previous generation envisioned and developed prominent successful companies like Google and social media entities. These might be a huge adjustment for adults to transition into their personal and professional lives, but are easily integrated into this generation’s lives as tools to further not just their social networks but also their careers. It is practically second nature for this generation to use digital tools for analyses, when it was not long ago that people balanced their budgets in a checkbook.
It is no wonder that the entrepreneurial activity by youth has increased at the rate it has. In the past decade, the amount of teenagers creating businesses has increased eightfold. Driven by tech startups, the U.S. had around 500 teenagers creating businesses in 2009, while the numbers are now over 4,000. Stories of entrepreneurs such as Mark Zuckerberg who began with Facebook during Harvard continue to inspire young entrepreneurs today.
2) Today’s Youth are More Connected and Educated
With the invention of the internet, an extravagant amount of information and resources has become instantly available and today’s youth devour it whole. Per the section above, the youth of today have taken to the tools made available from technological advancements much more readily. They have been raised with many of these tools and leverage them to connect with people of similar interests or those with whom they seek guidance, plus finding the resources to learn about their interests.
Teens have taken to the opportunities available to create and leverage the multitude of ways to connect online. Previous opportunities to find like-minded peers were limited. People had to be in your geography, in a nearby club or program aligned with your interest, or you patiently awaited the day when you would go to college. Today, though, teens can both find people easily online. These can be people with similar interests or just learning about different cultures, lifestyles, and ways of life. This connectivity contributes to a more self-aware and understanding individual.
Next, the extent of content available online today can be overwhelming, but savvy youth have become adept at being able to comb through the available offerings to find educational opportunities to their liking, whether that be by the ratings, source, or referrals. Some may be seeking educational classes and turn to online learning to go more in-depth or find an offering not available at their high school, while others find topics specific to their unique interests that would not be available elsewhere. Virtual learning is becoming more advanced by adding interactive video tools and peer-reviewed lessons using recorded skill demonstrations. These lessons are becoming more personalized and lead to a more self-paced learning environment. A self-paced learning environment enables students to learn how they learn best which leads to better retention, efficiency, and leads to ownership over their work and schedule.
Students can now better create their schedule around things they want to do. Students today can take classes on coding or even take college classes while still in high school. Having a schedule that is more tailored to the student means that they can start their own business, especially e-commerce businesses, while still in school. There are endless possibilities for a teen today.
3) This Generation is More Open-minded and Tolerant
Often, several generations ago, people lived in the same area their whole lives, rarely being exposed to new perspectives or mindsets. There tended to be a self-selection of the people of that area, and a somewhat unspoken bond to not ‘rock the boat’ with anything that was outside the traditional way of life. Those who yearned to do something different were seen as taking a huge risk, and prior to there being so many examples of people taking those risks now, that was a scary thing to do.
Now, with the spread of information, that risk-taking can be seen as courageous. People who yearn for something different are able to see lots of examples of others like themselves easily online for inspiration. Diversity is shown to be celebrated.
So far, this is the most tolerant generation we have yet to see, and societal norms of the past are being challenged. Teens today are less likely to accept “because that’s the way it has always been” as an excuse for the things we do today. They are quicker to speak out and mobilize against injustice and in favor of inclusiveness than previous generations. Our environmental impact is a topic that has been fought long and hard by the up and coming generations. Today’s teens are not afraid to speak out and challenge things they believe in.
The youth of today is smarter and more knowledgeable than past generations. Knowledge is passed down and that, added to the expansive knowledge provided by technology, means this newest generation is more equipped for what lies ahead than any of us have ever been before. It’s up to this generation to harness everything that is available to them in tackling the challenges facing the world as our next generation of entrepreneurs.