New book discusses pressure of expectations facing young adults

Rainesfod Stauffer’s book, “An Ordinary Age,” explores how the pursuit of a “best life” has put pressure on young adults. Rachel Simmons shares advice for those getting their lives off the ground.
3:40 | 05/04/21

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Transcript for New book discusses pressure of expectations facing young adults
Now to the pressure of perfection for young adults. A new book, an ordinary age: Finding your way in a world that expects exceptional" explains how kids today are under extraordinary stress. Erielle reshef has the story. Reporter: Just like in "Emily in Paris" living your best life seems to be the new mantra for gen TREs wonderful. Reporter: The constant quest for the perfect job and social worthy acheechlts in your 20s. Making a certain amount of money to have security overlook how many powerfully extraordinary decisions young people make in a day. Reporter: In her new book "An ordinary age," rainesford Stauffer says the pressures of young adulthood are taking a toll. Why do you think there's such an emphasis on being extraordinary in your 20s? There's this idea the more we achieve or the more extraordinary experiences we have will reach this point of security where we can feel like we're enough and stop and exhale for awhile. Reporter: But Stauffer says there is a better path forward. I think when you can identify what's important to you, that's a profoundly formative moment in young adulthood and coming into the person you're going to be in the world. She says young people should think about what's right for them instead of what's society saying they're supposed to want. I think the takeaway that I would hope young people walk away with from this book is knowing they are truly enough as is. That right now, there is worth and meaning in what they do, what they value and how they spend their time. Reporter: For "Good morning America," erielle reshef, ABC news, New York. Want to welcome in parenting expert Rachel Simmons who will join us for a little discussion. Rachel, thank you so much for joining us. What is behind this pressure to be perfect? So, Michael, some of it has to do with college admissions pressure which is basically telling young dulls that if they don't cure a major disease in the middle school science project they will be mediocre. That's crushing and makes them feel like they're not enough. We have such an intense of social media. They're getting a 4-hour supreme of the best version of everyone else's life and what they end up doing comparing how they feel inside to somebody's projected perfect image of their lives and finally, look, to be a young adult in a pandemic during an economic crisis, there's so much fear and uncertainty about their financial future. It's all leaving young adults with a deep sense of stress. Yeah, but how can gen Z start to redesign what their best lives look like. So I think really focus on stuff that makes you feel good instead of how it looks to other people. Right now find something you can lose yourself in just for a little while and not talking about Netflix, something where you can just lose track of time and love doing it. We also know that from research being engaged in giving, get involved in something bigger than yourlf. Ironically when you do that yourself will be happier and stop look at your life as either I slayed and I succeeded or I failed. There's always going to be meaning in the mess but you have to stop looking at life as a black and white thing. Great advice right there. You're a young adult and just getting started then covid hits. What advice do you have. Truly as middle-aged folks like ourselves we have to remember it's different for them. We have to teach these young adults to talk to themselves the way they would talk to people they love because they can be so hard on themselves. There's so much stress right now, but we can help them by just being there. Rachel Simmons, thank you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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