Modern life wants to wrap us in a blanket and let us live in a room made of wall-to-wall pillows.
Even thinking is dangerous.
And if you dare publish those thoughts, they may be labeled by an AI slave nobody controls with the word “misinformation.” It’s wild.
These are the inconvenient truths I’ve learned about life in the last year. More and more, they’re going mainstream as people wake up.
Trigger warnings make no sense
As an avid reader I’ve noticed many websites use trigger warnings.
When I published a harmless article about my journey with mental illness, a few strange people left comments like “where’s the trigger warning?”
Here’s where I’m going to sound stupid: I had no idea what a trigger warning was.
I legit had to google it.
Writer Mark Manson shared his online writing journey. When he did, he said early in his career the fact he didn’t use trigger warnings saw him cop a lot of criticism. I love the example he gives. Picture this…
You lose your job out of nowhere. It’s absolutely brutal. You’re sad.
Then imagine the day before. A co-worker stops by your desk and says “Hey mate, just want to give you a trigger warning. Tomorrow there’s probably no point coming to work. Our boss is going to fire you then. Cool bananas?”
Mark challenges us to think, does the trigger warning make the firing easier? Does it heal your pain? Do you think, “ahhh sweet mate, I can not come to work tomorrow and watch Game of Thrones.”
The trigger warning does nothing. The pain still slaps you in the face. You’re an adult. You’ve got to deal with hard stuff like getting fired or waking up to a cheating partner.
If something triggers you it says a lot about you. Don’t require trigger warnings. Get help to find the cause and heal.
“Being above average is considered taboo in an average society”
When I tell people I eat a plant-based diet they think I’m weird. I like high energy levels and hate to see animals die for no reason so I can eat.
When people tell me to come out and celebrate by getting stone-cold drunk, I politely say no. I don’t think my unborn daughter would be proud. And I don’t want to spend the next few days with low energy, recovering from a hangover.
When I say I’m staying home to work on my writing or build my online business, some think it’s weird.
“You’ve changed. You’re boring.”
When I hit the gym a few times a week some family members say “ahhh stop fussing over your looks so much. You’ll be 40 before you know it. Let yourself go. Get a dad bod.”
I hate how having a few goals and doing basic self-care is seen as special. The truth is any level of above-average results gets looked down on when it should be accepted as normal.
The day we only worship mediocrity is the day we should fear.
“Thoughts and prayers” fake messages
I see this one on LinkedIn all the time.
A major event happens and a bunch of fake business leaders post a “thoughts and prayers” message that takes 30 seconds to write.
We’re all sick of it.
People care about what you do, not what you say. If you really care about a tragedy then do something about it. Create change. Introduce new policies. Or god forbid, donate to the cause you “say” is so important.
“Safety-ism” was a nasty period in human history
A famous book called “The Coddling of the American Mind” pointed out some brutal truths.
One of them is the culture of “safety-ism” that became popular in the 2010s. The foundation of this culture was a series of morals, virtues, and guidelines for youths to follow so they could feel safe and comfortable.
Virtue-signaling reached an all-time high, too. Platforms like LinkedIn became filled with cringeworthy messages about being safe.
“Take care out there” became the popular corporate goodbye kiss.
The best thing I ever did was watch Hannibal Lecter in the Silence of the Lambs. It taught me there are bad people out there and to lock the bathroom door if I need to do a poo in a public toilet.
We can’t be truly safe if we wear safety pants everywhere and need blindfolds every time we’re presented with a difficult situation.
Web3 is thankfully breaking down the ability to censor anything.
Frictionless living is making us weak as piss
My wife and I were at the store. Apple Pay wasn’t working.
Her face went red. She felt tears coming on. We had to go to the car and get her wallet. A real plastic debit card was needed to make payment. It hurt. The walk was tiresome. I shook my head in frustration.
Then I snapped out of it.
Are we so lazy that we can’t carry a 1.5 inch piece of plastic anymore?
Writer Sahil Bloom asked recently in his newsletter, “Are we losing our ability to deal with any level of friction in our lives?”
Sahil goes on a detailed exploration of how choosing hard over easy benefits us more in the long run.
Easy choices, hard life. Hard choices, easy life.
All this frictionless shopping, working from home via Zoom, and dating behind phone screens means we never have to experience much discomfort. But at what cost?
All the friction of human life is where the growth lies. And the friction of facing other humans without a screen in-between us is how we build important relationships that will shape the rest of our lives.
Life has got so easy we face what experts call a “comfort crisis.”
My worst nightmare is that we turn into the comfortable humans in the classic animated movie WALL-E.
Solution: seek out friction.
Bad childhoods give birth to adult babies
“This world is filled with adults who spend the rest of their lives trying to recover from a bad childhood” — Sean Kernan
When I got help for mental illness my therapist introduced me to “the inner child.” It’s the idea that even when we’re adults there’s a child still living inside of us that’s scared and perhaps broken from childhood trauma.
I learned the scared little boy who didn’t finish his breakfast each day and was always in a rush had become an anxious adult with an eating disorder. It wasn’t pretty but it made a lot of sense.
Most of the Karens we meet in real life torment everyone around them because they haven’t dealt with their childhood.
Bad things can happen to us as kids. But if we don’t heal from them they hurt us — and everyone else — for the rest of our lives.
All the labels do more damage than good
Labels sh*t me.
When it comes to politics, I’m not right or left wing. When it comes to work, I’m not an employee or an entrepreneur. When it comes to writing, I’m not a finance blogger or self-help content creator. Nope.
I’m nothing. I’m infinitely curious. I respect both sides of a debate. I seek to learn, not win an argument.
When we focus on labels it divides a society. It also lowers our level of empathy and limits free thinking.
Life’s better when you throw away black and white thinking.
Nothing is that stupidly simple.
“Genius is misunderstood, while idiocy is celebrated.”
The scariest trend right now is the end-of-America narrative being pushed by, frankly, complete idiots.
A few hard times, and they’re fooled into believing a whole nation will collapse. Luckily these crazies didn’t live during my 104-year-old grandmother’s era.
Grandma turned her wedding dress into baby clothes. She lived off rations. People around her died of starvation. And war was part of everyday life. Oh, and the Great Depression wiped out any wealth she knew.
Yet she still whistled while she walked and didn’t feel the urge to declare the end of civilization as we know it.
Somewhere between the Jackass tv show and a Donald Duck American president, we’ve accidentally celebrated idiocy.
Rationale thought is a scarce resource.
Whatever you do, switch off the end-of-America doomsdayers. Their dirty little secret is they have weaponized your attention to build their empires. They don’t really believe their message.
America’s going to be just fine.