Vulnerability. It helps in both life and business. And if you’re doing it well, your life can become your business and vice versa. But why do we feel, as a society, the pressure to hide the bad and only showcase the good?
A lot of the negativity we’re seeing in the media lately can be traced back to the mentality of our society. In fact, as a young male, I think it’s time I write something about it.
In the US, statistically speaking, middle-aged white males have the highest rate of suicide amongst their peers. What’s interesting though, is that middle-aged white males also make the most money (second to only Asian men). If one were to think logically about this, what we’d find is a seemingly inverse correlation between having a lot of money and feeling fulfilled and happy in life. This is not what we’re teaching our youth. In the current education system, we emphasize achieving good grades, acceptance into well-known colleges, locking down a good first job, and then bing-bang-boom life is set, happiness is achieved. Right? If this was the sure way to happiness, then why are our highest percentage earners, with the greatest chance to THRIVE and make a positive impact on this world, killing themselves at higher rates than their peers?!
My belief is that the lack of acceptance from society around being vulnerable and self-aware is the problem. Let’s put this in into an easy to understand scenario.
Phones, we all have one right?, I’m actually typing this on one right now. If my phone were to break, I would call Apple and get it fixed. However, what if I called Apple and they’re like “oh yeah that’s just a malfunction due to the way we built it. We are not planning on fixing it so you’ll just have to deal with it.” I would be a really pissed off customer right?
Well that’s exactly what’s happening in our education system! We are building up the majority of our youth with malfunctions, then we wonder why things break later on down the line. Why hasn’t the “iOS” been upgraded for our schools? Why do most schools look, act, and educate the same way for generation after generation?! This is another topic of discussion, but I wanted to raise awareness to where this teaching of vulnerability should start. Our youth.
What do I mean by vulnerability?
The acceptance of the fact that we are not perfect -- we are human. We make mistakes, DAILY. Miscommunicate and hurt others DAILY. We all know this, but behind closed doors we weep and put even more pressure on ourselves to be better in all facets. While out in public if we are criticized we immediately defend ourselves. What are we defending exactly? Why can’t we just accept we are not perfect, nor are we trying to be. We were never taught that. If we are more understanding of ourselves, we will be more understanding of others.
Let’s fix this system and teach the youth that it’ really okay to get a few B’s in life because that A doesn’t get you happiness in the end. That good first job might look great on paper, but is it tearing you up inside? Or worse, causing you to tear down others on the outside? Let’s instill a culture in the younger generations where they think first about happiness and personal fulfillment, and less about what SOCIETY thinks looks good.
So to THRIVE this week I ask you to look in the mirror and ask yourself to be a bit more vulnerable, a bit more open, and maybe ask/help someone around you to do the same. Because you never know what they are going through.