After asking young people across Europe about their living situation, we then explored what dreams they had about what they wanted to achieve in the future. But, we also wanted to understand why those dreams were important for them to achieve.
Almost a third want stability. This motivates them to get a better job because it will enable them “to afford all the needs I have such as my own flat or house and will give me the feeling of security and stabilization”. Stability is important to have a feeling to build something – their network or projects they want to develop, or giving their children “the chances I feel I didn’t have”. The need for stability grows over time.
One in six want to be more self-sustaining and autonomous, so they that they don’t depend on others controlling them, like their employer on how to work or their spouse on when to have children. They also don’t want to rely on others providing for them, like money or a spare room from their parents.
It explains why many would prefer to have a place they can call their own. They want this as it “will grant me the right to speak my mind more often and act as such” and “because I have to know, show and prove what I have worked for”. It’s also so they can make a living in a way that helps them “feel free to do other things” and not “be left behind in a globalised world”.
One in five young people want to make their dreams happen and achieve their goals. They want to develop different objectives than those set by society because they don’t want to give up on their dreams. These are “the things that I have wanted from a child and have been working towards…I want to make the most of my time on earth”. To do so, they “want to be able to afford it and to have enough time to do it even while working”, whether it’s to get an attorney certificate, have kids or travel around the world. Only 2% want to achieve higher status.
Just under one in six had particular expectations because they wanted to gain a sense of fulfilment and progression, mainly to build on the time and effort they’ve invested in developing their skills and career.
They want to see “fairly visible landmarks of your own productivity and development” to get a “feeling I have developed all of my talents”. They know it’s important to have their own job and house, but “it’s also important to achieve the next steps of self-realisation and professional development”. They want to push themselves to keep growing to “meet a lot of challenges before the age of 40”.
One in five want to make a purposeful and meaningful life. This is motivated by wanting to “stay fit and beautiful…in mind, body and soul” and “to be able to die happily leaving a positive legacy”. Beyond their career, what motivated them to make a purposeful and meaningful life is to “love…because it is a verb and not just a feeling”and to seek sense. Indeed, for them family and friends are “sense-making institutions”.
“Happiness is the basis of everything. Staying happy is my main goal in life and work. Money can’t buy happiness. I can’t say it doesn’t matter at all, because money makes things that make me happy possible, like travelling.”
About one in 20 want to be constantly challenged to use their skills to improve and develop. They would “rather have a satisfying and challenging job than a boring job with a large paycheck”. That might be even more important “in case I do not manage to find a job which fulfils and enriches me”. Which is why many people we’ve interviewed had switched careers in some cases, moving from very different fields, i.e. from medicine to journalism, but also because “it is important to be readier for the unexpected and keep curious about what surrounds us”.
Just over one in five want to open their mind and better understand others. This is often triggered by people they meet and their desire to discover other cultures, “because it is fun and enriches your life in many ways (more than money), but also because the ability to understand other humans increases”.
In many cases, this is why people felt travelling and living abroad was important to“discover new people, new countries, live new experiences and learn new languages & skills.” They think that “life should, ultimately, be about new experiences and expanding your mind and worldviews – rather than reproduction (social or biological)”, in particular when they’re young as they don’t imagine themselves “travelling with a group of other retired people when I’m old. I’d rather stay at home growing my garden and helping”.
Around one in six are motivated because they want to make social change or help others. They want this because they feel a sense of mission to change the world“otherwise we’ll face more and more troubles – poverty, sickness, nuclear catastrophe, end of cheap oil, sterile soils, dying in oceans, more slavery, civil war and pollution”.
In some cases, these problems are much closer to home like helping their “family because they are in a difficult situation” or even their own projects where they “want the values of the organisation to grow even beyond my own involvement” or “want to provoke social change by making documentary films” or because they want to share their passion with their child or shape the future of their city.
We’ll be showcasing Making a Living across different cities in our festival, including in London (12-13 & 19-20 October) & Amsterdam (19-20 October). Click on one of the tabs to get involved!