If You're Easy to Offend, You're Not Open to Learning

‍You'll never learn anything new from the inside an echo chamber. And both your growth and your company's growth will suffer for it.

The world has gotten really sensitive. I’m deeply concerned with the level of sensitivity amongst people in our society today. I’m a firm believer that if you’re easily offended, you’re not open to learning.

Allow me to explain.

You can’t learn from inside your comfort zone. That’s why it’s comfortable; you already know everything.

If you’re going to grow, you have to get outside your comfort zone, talk to people who think differently than you, talk differently, live differently, believe differently.

You have to go to places that are hard to get into and hard to get out of.

And you can’t do any of that if you’re easily offended.

If your first reaction to hearing something you don’t like/don’t agree with/don’t understand is to get offended, you’ll never learn anything new. You’ll never get closer to understanding the perspectives of others.

Your view of the world will stay narrow, safe, and stagnant.

Anything you want to accomplish in life requires a degree of skill and knowledge. There are times when you or your team may not possess the skill or knowledge needed to achieve a goal or take a next step in growing your business.

Without those skills and abilities, you might even be looking for solutions from a perspective that’s actually detrimental to the outcome you want to achieve.

In the last few years, it seems like the world’s sensitivity meters have been cranked up to 11. And not in productive ways.

It’s reached a point where people are so entrenched in their own echo chambers that they become completely resistant to seeing a different vantage point.

But closed minds can’t grow.

The more divided and polarized we are, the less able we are to progress as a society. The more we put each other in boxes; the more we stay in our own little boxes, the less we learn.

We have to be able to welcome myriad viewpoints.

If you're stuck at the extremes, on either side of the political spectrum, you lose the ability to learn anything about the other side or from the other person.

Real change can’t come from yelling at each other from two extreme points on opposite mountain tops. Real change happens in the trenches.

We have to lose the fear around taking a position because it upsets someone.

But that also means you have to be ready, willing, and able to listen to how your position affects others. Being open minded about different perspectives is the only way to move forward. And that means being open to real, honest, graceful feedback.

I want to build a team wherein when it goes really well, that’s awesome! But, if it doesn’t go well, and fails, we need to take ownership and more importantly, learn from the failure.

That can’t happen if you or your teams are ultra-sensitive; it can’t happen if you’re scared to take risks. If you’re scared to lose, you’ll never show up at the Super Bowl.

We have to be okay with differences and keeping our emotions in check when things don’t go our way.

And keep in mind, there’s a difference between being offended and disagreeing. Contrary to what all the talking heads on the new would have you think, disagreeing and being offended are not the same thing!

A variety of opinions and perspectives aren’t just good, they’re super critical!

Disagreement is the whetstone against which the best ideas are sharpened, but that requires conversation over knee-jerk reactions and tolerance over judgement.

In summary, if you find yourself easily offended and or ultra-sensitive, it’s a clear signal that your ability to grow is capped!

Tony Gareri

CEO & Culture Enthusiast

Drawing from firsthand experiences, Tony addresses how a culture evolution can lead to improved business results and happier work environments.

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