So everyone remembers “Good Will Hunting,” right? Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, forever-bros accepting Oscars together? Okay, good. Roll with me on this one.We’ve got the genius 20-something Bostonian named Will (Matt Damon), and then we’ve got his girlfriend Skylar (Minnie Driver), his best friend Chuckie (Ben Affleck), and his psychologist Sean (Robin Williams).
Everything’s finally going pretty well for Will — a new chapter of growth that includes professional interest in his mathematical talents and a meaningful relationship — until Skylar asks him to move to California with her.
This makes him question everything: What if he becomes stuck and unhappy? How does she know this is what she actually wants? Why does she want things to get so serious? What about all the frivolous excuses he presents, such as his dead end job and the fact that Boston is, just, where he lives?
Her response is, of course, to show him the light.
“You live in this safe little world where no one challenges you and you’re scared to do anything else but defend yourself because that would mean you’d have to change,” Skylar says.
His response? Blame her. Criticize her. Leave her.
And, of course, bring his questioning and excuses along with him into any and all other opportunities he’s offered.
See where I’m going with this?
Despite the fact that “Good Will Hunting” came out in 1997 — pre-Millennium, when us millennials were not even teenagers yet — it continues to accurately portray a serious blight upon our generation (and generations before us, though I do think millennials are taking the cake…):
Fear of change.
Yes, I’m calling the kettle black here — I am famously known for saying I’m going to do things like move across the country or finish my children’s book — and then say, as many other millennials do, “I will, and I want to, when the time is right.”
There are the millennials who do, and the millennials who don’t but —and here’s the scary part — I’m one of the ones who do.
I have experiences to weigh my decisions by. I’ve had successes and failures and epic disasters living in numerous locations around the United States. I’ve traveled alone, both domestically and internationally. I’ve held multiple jobs in multiple industries to try to decide what it is I really want to devote my time to.
I’m actively jumping off cliffs and I still fear change.
How about the millennials who don’t?
Take a look around your community. Do you have friends that have never lived anywhere else, say they want to travel somewhere but never do, surround themselves with complacency and seek out mediocre jobs and relationships for the enablers that they are?
Those are the people who don’t, even though they may want to.
And the fact that this demographic seems to only grow with each new generation isn’t going to be good for anyone.
Because when opportunities present themselves, younger folks are finding it easier to deny them and push them away rather than accept whatever challenges may come with.
Now, “Good Will Hunting” will have us believe that it’s possible to help someone like this by just leaving them be.
“You’ll never have that kind of a relationship in a world where you’re always afraid to take the first step because all you see is every negative thing ten miles down the road,” Sean tells Will, before telling him to get out of his office.
Now maybe that tactic works for some, but for others it may be just another excuse to withdraw.
And not everybody’s got a best friend named Chuckie demanding that they better themselves — much like that rare mentor in the workplace that wants to see their employee succeed not only in their professional life but in their personal life, as well.
So, where’s this all going to lead us when considering our future workforce?
Unmotivated employees who lead dissatisfactory personal and professional lives.
If you’re a millennial who does or a millennial who doesn’t, do yourself — and the future economy — a favor and read this Huffington Post article.
It suggests that instead of asking what one has to lose, ask instead what one has to gain.
Prevention-focused people, the article states, want to “stay safe, avoid mistakes, and fulfill responsibilities.” They want to “hang on to what (they’ve) already got and keep things running smoothly.”
Most importantly, they “aren’t open to taking chances, even when that chance is a chance for happiness.”
Is this you? It’s okay. You’re amongst many.
But try to refocus your thoughts to learning about what you might gain or promotion-focus, according to the same article.
“It’s about never missing an opportunity for a win, even when doing so means taking a leap of faith.”
Spoiler alert: Will makes a bold choice at the end of “Good Will Hunting.”
And while it’s a personal choice (to hold on to a healthy and happy relationship) and not a professional one, odds are is that his forward inertia will undoubtedly lead to better work opportunities in the future, too.
Basically? Jump — you really have nothing to lose.