Welcome To The Thin-Skinned Generation, Where Everything is A Bloody Problem.
By Jasky Singh
Photography credit Gregory Colbert
As soon as I press send on this post, I will have already offended several people. Angry reply emails are likely to start filling my inbox.
And it doesn’t have anything to do with the theme of this post.
Or my last post.
Or the one before that where I received 50+ emails of charged up opinions, yet not a single one of those people left a comment publicly (the one below).
In fact, it doesn’t have anything to do with what anyone is saying most of the time.
This is my opinion, and 100% my opinion, but I am of the belief that…
People today have been trained to seek out a reason to be offended.
Because we, as parents, educators, friends, family members, and society in general, are formulating systems that promote sensitivity.
Instead of resilience.
And the problem is, we are doing this unknowingly.
Where the right thing is seemingly being done, the thickness of people’s skin continues to erode under our nose. Invisible to us.
There were many hardships faced by our forefathers which we can’t relate to, because we live in a society where as a baseline rule, people aren’t dying from:
- Simple infections, or,
- Working fourteen-hour days just to put food on the table.
Lifestyle-wise our species is much better off. Struggling to meet these essential needs does not take up a great deal of our mental processing.
It, however, leaves us with more time to dwell on our emotions and feelings. And on the respect and appreciation of others’ feelings.
And consequently, energy is exerted into developing laws, structures, policies, and systems, foreseeing situations where people’s feelings and well-being may be compromised. One building block onto the next, and here we are today wrapped in these tight bubbles that protect us.
The bubble known as “politically correct”.
Any step outside this space and the terrain is full of land mines. It’s hard not to have shit blow up.
A few weeks ago,
I was attending a meeting at a school and while waiting outside a classroom I saw a teacher start a song.
She joyously announced to the class that the one who would sing the best would receive an award (yayy, fun fun!)
When the song ended, the teacher decided that everyone was a winner, because everyone sang so beautifully!
Also not long ago,
It was announced that Australian schools are looking to ban students from raising their hands in class.
It is a method promoted by a British education expert who believes that banning the raising of hands in a classroom will increase engagement from students who don’t normally raise their hands.
And not long before that,
Speaking to a Principal at a school,
I was being told proudly that a student was kept back after school each day of the week as punishment for bringing a book on Satan to school and sharing it with his friends.
Subsequently being vilified by his peers for such thoughtless behaviour.
Why these examples?
You see, they typify positive intentions leading to not-so-positive outcomes.
These examples show why a path towards becoming hypersensitive is being laid out with clear signage and beautiful landscaping, whereas the one leading towards the essential trait of life success — “GRIT” is surrounded by shrubbery, mist, and is virtually indecipherable.
Everyone is not good at everything. Everyone is not built the same.
I absolutely suck at computer programming, I rather my teacher tell me up-front to save me the pain and time I invest in it. Instead I could spend my time doing something I enjoy and can actually be really good at. If that happens to be computer programming, then I’ve got work to do.
Telling every student they are great singers, and fearfully veering away from constructive criticism today is likely to lead to the harsh wake-up call tomorrow when that student enters a competitive workplace.
No one is going to bend the rules to make it easy for you, you’ll have to.
I would love if I was too scared to raise my hand to go speak to my boss to ask for a pay-rise or promotion, and he came up to me and offered it anyway.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
You won’t know the existence of light if you don’t have darkness to compare it to. If you don’t read about Satan, or Slavery, or Genocide how will you see and recognise the bright side?
Maybe I am too critical in my words. But I am saddened by the constant disempowerment that I see.
Thoughtful debate has become limited.
The overarching mothers are there to tell us what is right and what isn’t. We expect them to look after us, holding our hands wherever we go. We are drilled to stick to the line of political correctness and fearful to peer outside that bubble.
We’re teaching kids that even the slightest thing should be taken as inappropriate or offensive.
I am finding it harder and harder to spot people and policies that teach grit, resilience, determination, and strength. Developing tough, snake-like, impenetrable skin. Like ****** warriors.
So I’ve developed my own.
As I am a man of simplification. I have boiled it down to two rules. If your actions pass these filters then you are in the clear.
You have my green light to proceed without second-guessing.
In fact, you are likely to be much better off in the long-term if you proceed than if you don’t.
Is your intention to hurt someone? If yes, stop. If not, then do it, say it, express yourself.
Are you creating a system (or precedent) that will develop resilience and grit? Or are you creating one that will protect people from needing them. Remember, these traits are the building blocks of success.
“Grit is perseverance and persistence. It’s an unwillingness to wilt, complain, or cry about one’s current state. It’s the ability to accept your reality and make the best of it, never wishing you were somewhere else, or in someone else’s shoes. Life is as it is, all you can do is make the best of your situation.
Grit is toughness. It’s resilience. To be a man of true grit means you can’t be a quitter, you can’t be weak, and you can’t run from your fears.
If you’re going to accomplish anything of value in life, grit is a prerequisite. Without it, you surely won’t finish the long journey of greatness in any field.”
— Chad Howse
Now let me clarify, the aim isn’t to stop supporting people, or start to discriminate against them, or become insensitive human begins that inflict harm upon one another.
Of course not.
If someone is upset because you gave them constructive criticism, don’t take away the learning opportunity for them to figure out how to deal with it.
If someone is angry that you didn’t give them the easy way out, don’t take away the learning opportunity for them to figure out why that happened.
If someone has said something you don’t agree with, don’t take away the learning opportunity of understanding their viewpoint before lashing into a war of words.
If someone is afraid of facing their fear, don’t bend the rules so that they expect that to occur each time.
Don’t lead people towards mediocrity.
Don’t create insecurities.
Don’t crush their grit.
We already have enough people ready to lash into a keyboard war about racism, sexism, and other nonsense in the comment section of any YouTube video at the drop of a hat.
Everyone is creating a way to be offended.
Something fell outside their bubble that we created, and hit a land mine. And for that we are the ones to blame.
We can’t continue to promote a culture of second-guessing and thinner skins. If intelligence was a measure of subscribing to social ideas, instead of questioning and challenging competing ideas and principles, then the world wouldn’t flourish and grow.
And, hence, we need more intelligent people. Less robots.
A child won’t be hurt by the fact that he isn’t an artist, if he knows he can become one if he tried.
Or if he knows that he’s chosen to be a math whiz instead.
Let your hate emails roll in…
My story in 5 lines —
Studied to become an Engineer (did a 5.5 year double degree), but quit instead to start a record label, write a movie script, and tour the world as an MC and performer. With little savings left, co-founded now the largest AV provider to education in WA — growing it 100% year on year. Working on my next venture with aspirations to help people connect face to face in a way social media can’t.