In a world of instant gratification, never-ending notifications, and a seemingly prescribed life path, the millennial generation is constantly bombarded with societal scripts.
This is where MJ DeMarco's Unscripted comes in.
For millennials who feel trapped in a monotonous loop of expectations, this book acts as a wake-up call.
What is the Script?
DeMarco defines the "script" as a societal construct: go to school, get good grades, find a stable job, and then retire. While this might seem like a secure blueprint, it's not necessarily the route to fulfillment, happiness, or even financial stability. The script is a silent director, guiding our decisions based on collective norms and not on individual aspirations.
Millennials in the "Scripted" World
Millennials, born between 1981 and 1996, have been particularly afflicted by this script. They came of age during a digital revolution and an economic downturn. On one hand, they have limitless information at their fingertips.
On the other, they grapple with economic challenges their parents didn't face at the same age: student debt, housing affordability, and job insecurity. With these pressures, it's no wonder many millennials feel compelled to follow the script. It promises safety in a world of uncertainty.
However, DeMarco's Unscripted challenges this. He points out the cost of adhering blindly to this societal roadmap: the loss of freedom, creativity, and ultimately, the deferment of dreams.
Breaking Free from the Script
For DeMarco, the key to an "unscripted" life is entrepreneurship. While this doesn’t mean everyone should start a business, it emphasizes adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. It's about seeking opportunities, taking risks, and defying conventions.
- Value Time Over Money: Millennials are often termed the "experience generation," valuing experiences over material possessions. DeMarco pushes this further by emphasising the value of time. Instead of selling time for money, the focus should shift to building systems or assets that can generate income, giving you time and freedom in return.
- Embrace Failure: In the scripted world, failure is taboo. But for the unscripted, failure is a stepping stone. It’s through trial and error that one discovers opportunities and learns.
- Continuous Learning: In a rapidly changing world, the traditional education system can't keep up. Millennials must become self-learners, constantly updating their skills and knowledge.
- Seek Meaning: Instead of seeking jobs, seek purpose. Find what ignites passion within and then figure out a way to monetise it.
Conclusion: Crafting an Unscripted Life
DeMarco's Unscripted isn’t just a book; it's a philosophy. For millennials, it's a clarion call to break free from societal shackles and craft a life based on individual aspirations.
If there’s one takeaway from DeMarco’s book for millennials, it's this: You are the author of your life. Don't let society write your story.
Here are samples of the "scripted" path and how to "unscript" it.
1. Education: The Road Often Taken
- Graduate from high school.
- Enroll in a prestigious college, often accumulating significant student debt.
- Choose a 'practical' major based on earning potential rather than passion.
- Opt for vocational training, online courses, or self-taught paths that cater directly to an individual's interest.
- Pursue internships, apprenticeships, or mentorships in areas of genuine passion.
- Continuously upgrade skills and knowledge through lifelong learning, not just formal education.
2. Career: The Stable Yet Unfulfilling Job
- Secure a job in a 'stable' industry, even if it's misaligned with personal interests.
- Prioritise promotions and pay raise over job satisfaction.
- Stay with one company for security, often feeling stagnant or unchallenged.
- Consider freelancing, consulting, or starting a side hustle related to a personal passion or hobby.
- Change careers or industries based on personal growth and interests rather than societal expectations.
- Prioritise jobs or roles that offer flexibility, learning opportunities, and alignment with personal values.
3. Lifestyle: Living By The Book
- Buy a car and a house as soon as financially possible, often getting into long-term debt.
- Marry and have children because "it's time" or due to family or societal pressure.
- Stick to local holidays, rarely venturing out of one's comfort zone.
- Use public transportation or car-sharing services, and invest in experiences or assets that grow in value.
- Travel, live abroad, or embrace digital nomadism to experience different cultures and lifestyles.
- Make life choices (like marriage or children) based on personal readiness and desire, not external timelines or pressures.
4. Retirement: The Distant Dream
- Contribute to a retirement fund religiously.
- Dream of traveling or pursuing passions "when you retire."
- Retire at the conventional age and hope savings last.
- Build multiple income streams, including passive ones, to achieve financial independence earlier.
- Intermittently take "mini-retirements" throughout life to travel or pursue passions.
- Continuously reassess and redefine what "retirement" means, possibly blending work and leisure in later years.
5. Social Pressure: The Invisible Chains
- Follow trends, even if they're financially or personally taxing.
- Value societal acceptance and validation (likes on social media, for instance).
- Avoid confrontation and often agree with popular opinions to fit in.
- Cultivate and trust one's inner voice, even if it goes against the grain.
- Prioritise mental health, opting out of the relentless social media race if it's draining.
- Speak out, stand up for personal beliefs, and seek authentic connections over superficial ones.
Embracing the unscripted path is not about rejecting all traditional choices but about making conscious decisions that resonate with one's authentic self rather than blindly following societal norms.
It's about building a life by design, not by default.
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