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  • Lauren McCreery

3 Millennial Mantras that are More Harmful than Helpful

Are you a millennial or do you know a millennial that lives by YOLO? Can you relate to the FOMO? And when was the last time you slapped a #hustle on a social media post?

This creative, kind, collaborative and hard-working generation has lived by several mantras from 'Rose all day' to 'Adulting', but let’s be honest a lot of our mantras have been more harmful than helpful. Here are three millennial mantras that I think we should ditch in favour of some healthier reframes.


Yolo was allegedly popularized by Drake's song, "The Motto" in 2011. I remember when my friends and I picked up the term – it was a roll-off-your-tongue good time phrase that was often coupled with staying out for another round on a work night. YOLO may have led some millennials to greatness, but my personal experience with it has largely been coupled with questionable decision-making. You only live once – great idea, right?

Not so fast. YOLO may have propelled you to quit your unfulfilling job, go back to school, travel or ask someone out while standing in the check out line, but it's place in pop culture is more strongly linked to justifying bad behaviour.

Life is short indeed, but that doesn't mean that we should blindly subscribe to YOLO, which suggests we should just throw caution to the wind, and perhaps even put our lives in more danger than if we subscribed to a softer alternative like Carpe Diem (i.e. Seize the Day) or Pura Vida (i.e. Pure Life or Simple Life).

At their core, these alternatives to YOLO are about living more thoughtfully in the present moment while expressing gratitude. How might you live the Pura Vida or Carpe Diem life versus indulging in a YOLO attitude?

Consider the following questions:

  • What feeling am I longing for when I think, YOLO? Why?

  • What am I most grateful for in this moment?

  • How can I keep growing and pushing through my comfort zone?

The Reframe(s): Be mindful, grateful and present


The hustle, a.k.a. the grind or the work hard, play hard. The BURNOUT phrase. The hustle started as a motivating concept and it has quickly morphed into a you. cannot. rest. term meant to inspire you to get off your butt and keep pushing. I equate the hustle with toxic positivity – similar to the friend that always tells you to look at the bright side while simultaneously minimizing or invalidating your emotional experience, the hustle is seemingly harmless on the surface.

But in a time where we so frequently compare ourselves to others, the hustle acts as the carrot and stick that you’ll never be able to reach without some boundaries and healthy habits. You can be high achieving, successful, business savvy AND get adequate sleep, eat well, exercise, have healthy relationships and more. In fact, you’ll need to integrate some of the aforementioned healthy habits in order to reach your goals without burning out.

So, the second someone says “yaass, I love your hustle!” I’d suggest thanking them for admiring the hard work you’ve put into your business or work and acknowledging that you couldn’t have done it without support, many ups and downs, healthy lifestyle habits and saying no in order to build the life you want.

If you’re feeling pressured by hustle culture, it might be time to check in with yourself by asking...

  • How am I doing today, really?

  • What do I gain from the hustle? What do I lose?

  • What can I do to take care of myself today?

The Reframe(s): I am Tenacious, Gritty and Resilient


As early adopters of social media, FOMO or the “fear of missing out” has been deeply ingrained in our collective millennial psyche. Hop onto Instagram any day and you’ll find your friends, family, celebs and strangers posting about all of the ah-mazing places they’re exploring, delicious food they're eating and satisfying relationships they’re cultivating.

FOMO generates feelings of want, lack, and as the phrase says – fear! It is inherently wrapped up in our ego. We don't want to be left out. We want to feel included. So, we join in on every night out with our buds (or at least we used to pre-covid). We overindulge by putting that vacation on our line of credit. We wouldn’t want to be missing from the photos and certainly couldn’t bear missing out on the ‘likes.’ FOMO is an easy cover that enables us to justify making short-sighted decisions that take us further away from building the lives we want to live.

As Theodore Roosevelt once said, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Well, FOMO is a thief of joy. How about we start to embrace a growing trend that reframes FOMO from fear to Joy? It’s called the Joy of Missing Out or JOMO! Watch Svend Brinkmann, professor of psychology at Aalborg University in Denmark to learn more about how to embrace JOMO and ditch FOMO.

Are you a regular FOMO sufferer? Take a moment to reflect on these questions:

  • What is at the root of my FOMO?

  • How has FOMO negatively impacted my self-regard, wallet and relationships?

  • How might my life improve if I fully embrace JOMO?

The Reframe: Joy of Missing Out (JOMO)

In a future article I’ll cover some other millennial mantras that we might be better off without as well as a few that are helping us to make deeply meaningful change in the world.

So, what hashtags have you seen lately that you think we should ditch?

About Lauren McCreery

Lauren is a Certified Professional Coach based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. As the founder of Swerve Coaching & Consulting, she helps smart professional millennials facing burnout to Strategically Swerve towards a sustainable and fulfilling career and life of their choice. Feeling burnt out and want a career change? Book a discovery call today.

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