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是什么让千禧一代变成了焦虑的完美主义者

Sy Mukherjee 2018年01月10日

过去30年间,社会正在越来越追求完美主义,其中最主要的推手就是千禧一代。

看看这些完美主义者。Eric Frazier Photography

从啤酒、量贩超市、假期到正儿八经的谈恋爱,千禧一代几乎“杀死”了一切。现在千禧一代又强迫症似地向另一桩事物开刀了,他们的目标是:杀死一切不完美。

美国心理学会的研究人员发表的一项最新研究显示,过去30年间,社会正在越来越追求完美主义,其中最主要的推手就是千禧一代(千禧一代也是占美国人口比重最大的人群,一般指85后到00初的一代人,不过至于具体从哪一年到哪一年出生的人才算“千禧一代”,即便在美国也是有争论的。)完美主义,是指人在内部和外部驱动下,努力满足某些社会标准的行为,一般表现为对自我施加过多压力和期望。

对于千禧一代来说,完美主义的盛行似乎是件好事,至少表明千禧一代并不像人们普遍认为的那样懒散堕落。不过在研究人员托马斯·库兰和安德鲁·希尔看来,完美主义在千禧一代中盛行的某些原因,对他们的心理健康和总体产出并非完全有益。比如近年来西方国家所谓“新自由主义精英教育”的兴起,以及社交媒体、经济衰退等带来的压力,再加上专制苛求的父母,这些催生完美主义的因素都让年轻一代焦虑不堪、疲惫不堪。

这份研究指出:“以新自由主义精英教育的视角看,那些考上顶级名校的人,或者在就业时找到了好工作的人,自然会得到财富和社会地位的回报。而对于没有接受过良好教育或是事业发展得不太好的人,他们理由享受不到幸福的生活,且说明了他们自身能力不足(比如技能、智力、努力等方面不如别人)。由于个人无法避免被学校和职场的筛选、淘汰、排名,因而新自由主义精英教育极为重视个人的努力、奋斗和成就,并把它看作现代生活的重心。”

《财富》500强的CEO们经常会说,除了钱以外,“千禧一代”想从工作中获得的东西还有很多,比如他们非常渴求成就感。但现代人对成功的衡量标准已经是多方面的,除了必须要过上富足的生活,社交媒体还给我们洗脑了很多所谓上层人的生活方式,在这种无孔不入的压力下,对完美的渴求,只会耗干不堪重负的千禧一代人最后一点精力。

该研究的评估结果也算不上积极。“这一时期,美国、加拿大、英国的文化已经变得更趋于利己、物质和逆反。与上一代人相比,当代年轻人面临的竞争压力更大,有着更加不切实际的预期,他们的父母也比上一代人的父母更焦虑、更有控制欲”。(财富中文网)

译者:朴成奎

Millennials have killed everything from beer to department stores to vacations to romantic relationships to, well, just about everything, according to one of the nation’s most ardent (and, among us millennials, widely mocked) memes. Add one more to the sprawling victim list: Imperfection.

That’s right—a new study by American Psychological Association (APA) researchers suggests that society has been increasingly pursuing perfectionism over the last three decades, driven by the millennial generation (the largest generation in the United States, generally thought of as people born between mid-1980s to the early 2000s, though there’s some debate on the exact start and end points). Perfectionism is defined as intense personal and external drives to thrive under certain societal metrics, potentially by placing far too much pressure and excessive expectations on one’s self.

The trend may sound positive and like a strong rebuttal to the perception of millennials as entitled, lazy youngsters who thrive on participation trophies. But some of the root causes for this change, researchers Thomas Curran and Andrew Hill note, may not be all that positive for mental health and overall productivity. They point the finger toward the rise of “neoliberal meritocracy” in Western nations, as well as pressures from social media, harsh economic conditions faced by millennials compared to previous generations, and overbearing, demanding parents which can all breed anxiety and burnout.

“According to neoliberal meritocracy, those who reach the top schools and colleges, or gain entry to occupations offering the most profitable employment, receive their due rewards of wealth and social status. For those who do not reach such educational and professional heights, the doctrine of meritocracy dictates they are less deserving and their poor achievement reflects their inadequate personal abilities (e.g., skills, intelligence, and efforts; Hayes, 2012),” write the study authors. “[B]ecause individuals cannot avoid being sorted, sifted, and ranked by schools, universities, and the workplace, neoliberal meritocracy places a strong need to strive, perform, and achieve at the center of modern life.”

Fortune 500 CEOs have regularly stated that millennials demand more out of their work than just money; they crave fulfillment. But the multi-faceted nature of modern day success, the necessities of earning a good living—and the constant social media publicizing thereof—may actually wind up having a draining effect on millennials.

The study’s overall assessment isn’t exactly a positive one. “American, Canadian, and British cultures have become more individualistic, materialistic, and socially antagonistic over this period, with young people now facing more competitive environments, more unrealistic expectations, and more anxious and controlling parents than generations before,” write Curran and Hill.

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