I’ve been devouring Joe Rogan podcasts recently. I love his curiosity and willingness to have long, drawn-out conversations with people who think differently than he does. Joe brought up a great interaction he had with a fellow father while watching their children play.
“These kids are playing rough and he looked at me and goes ‘Whatever happened to getting hurt? Whatever happened to falling down and learning how…Oh he shouldn’t do that, that hurts?’ Well—no. Learn how to fall better. Now learn how to not do that anymore. Well this thing is gonna make you slip and scuff your knee. It’s okay, that’s part of learning. You can’t Nerf the world, you can’t Nerf the fucking world. When you Nerf the world and then you empower these people that have lived in a Nerfed environment, that’s the problem. They haven’t experienced real adversity and they’re mean. And one of the reasons they’re mean is because they’re scared. A lot of these people on social media that are really mean, they’re the ones who are the most scared and they’re the most weak for sure. The fact that they’re so vulnerable is what’s leading them to lash out and try to hurt other people because they’re so easy to hurt and they’re so damaged. That’s literally the results of living in a Nerfed world.” JR MMA Show #39 with Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone
This section of the podcast resonated with me because about a week ago I was at the airport and overheard two 50-something year old men discussing the state of “kids these days.” They concluded that “these kids have no respect for their elders.” I remembered thinking to myself, “who raised these children?” It was a very clear case of finger-pointing. Every time we point the finger we have three more pointing back at us. Even if this is somewhat true about us not having respect for our elders (and I think that it is), we must take collective responsibility. Placing blame doesn’t make sense because fault is past-tense. Responsibility is what we do from this moment on. “These kids” aren’t the way they are because they grew up in isolation tanks—in fact, they turned into entitled turd-muffins because they had help along the way. We’ve evolved the way we have due to influence from parents, friends, teachers, etc.
If we have a social environment and excess of young children who have been coddled their entire lives, have never faced adversity, been given everything they’ve ever dreamed of…are we setting them up for success? I’m not insinuating that we should deliberately put children in harm’s way but perhaps having them scrape their knees isn’t as detrimental as we think. One of my bosses said it best about my development and my career— “I want to see you make mistakes because I know you’ll learn from them but I never want to see you fail.”
So, if we don’t know struggle, we don’t know hustle. There’s a common theme amongst the greatest social influencers of all-time. No pressure, no diamonds. Life can be tough and there will always be relative adversity. The recognition that this hardship builds character will only enable us to accept it as a reality of life. A gentle reminder—struggle is binary; we’ll either get through it or we won’t. If we seek to eliminate struggle at every corner we’ll end up Nerfing the world. I’m afraid the outcome will only yield more entitled, disrespectful and mean people.
Mean people suck. Be nice, #nicewins.