soft heart

Thick Skin, Soft Heart (EP. 76)

In Divided Nation, Healing, Personal Responsibillity, Podcast by Will Luden1 Comment

Summary

Isn’t having a thick skin and soft heart the best combination? Sadly, that’s the opposite of what we see developing around us today. The push for safe spaces, 25% of the student population at a university claiming PTSD because of the 2016 elections, urging the use of a growing number of pronouns and the general slide in the direction of any taken offense is the fault of the of the other person–not the responsibility of the person claiming to be offended–all speak to a society of folks who have thin skins, and believe that being thin-skinned is somehow virtuous. And the thinner the skin, the harder the heart. The easily offended are among the first to stage an illegal protest, urge confrontation, hound people near their homes or in restaurants, and claiming that others’ actions will “kill millions” or would create “Armageddon.” Yes, those are actual quotes. All the while laying blame for their hard-hearted thoughts and actions on the “other side.”

Transcript

Isn’t having a thick skin and soft heart the best combination? Sadly, that’s the opposite of what we see developing around us today. The push for safe spaces, 25% of the student population at a university claiming PTSD because of the 2016 elections, urging the use of a growing number of pronouns and the general slide in the direction that any taken offense is the fault of the of the other person–not the responsibility of the person claiming to be offended–all speak to a society of folks who have thin skins, and believe that being thin-skinned is somehow virtuous. And the thinner the skin, the harder the heart. The easily offended are among the first to stage an illegal protest, urge confrontation, hound people near their homes or in restaurants, accuse others of being despicable humans, e.g., racists or Nazis, and claiming that others’ actions will “kill millions” or would create “Armageddon.” Yes, those are actual quotes. All the while laying blame for their thin skins and hard-hearted thoughts and actions on the “other side.”

The thick skin, soft heart maxim, recommendation, really, is similar to the twin Results With Reason tenets; the two main tenets that we believe in at Results With Reason are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper.

The similarity, and the power of both sets of principles, lies in the equal pairing of what are commonly seen as opposites. Thick and thin are clearly opposites; few people pair the two concepts at all, much less pair them correctly. Taking personal responsibility and being equally responsible for others are, sadly, seen as opposites by too many people. In Chinese philosophy, Yin and Yang describes how seemingly opposite forces can be highly complementary, each reinforcing the other in a way that not only adds the power of one to the other, but more than multiplies the power of the two together, creating a powerful and productive force.

Let’s take a look at how today’s pairing, Thick Skin and a Soft Heart, complement each other, and also tie with the two Results With Reason main tenets. In today’s highly divided nation, a thick skin is required for many types of exchanges, in person or online. Whether navigating family conversations, comments and political stances taken at work, or dealing with ridiculous posts on social media, that tough outer layer, designed to shed ignorance and vitriol the way a rain slicker is designed to shed water, is vital. The first thing that a thick skin accomplishes is allowing us to listen calmly to others before we respond. And after we listen and absorb, we can then respond with love and logic to even the most outrageous comments and attitudes. And that’s the second thing that a thick skin allows; it protects our hearts, allowing them to remain soft–no matter the provocation. Soft hearts can be very persuasive; they allow us to think clearly, and give the others permission to more easily accept our points of view. In a very similar way, taking personal responsibility in our lives builds the skills and other personal strengths that allow us to be our Brother’s Keepers. And being our Brother’s Keepers reinforces and broadens our ability to take responsibility by taking us out of ourselves, seeing our communities and the world as far more than a collection of individuals.   

Today’s key point: The seemingly opposite forces, the opposite virtues, of thick skin “vs” soft hearts, and personal responsibility “vs” responsibility for others are, in fact, mutually complementary, each strengthening the other. Focusing on the latter pairing, the Results with Reason main tenets of Personal Responsibility and being our Brother’s Keepers, we can see this point so very clearly. Taking personal responsibility is the key to everything in life. Everything. Being our Brother’s Keepers is the key to everything in life. Both “everything” statements are true. Both show us that we must be 100% focused on personal responsibility. Both statements show us that we must be 100% focused on being our Brother’s Keepers. And, no, every equation does not have to add up to 100%. Life is not Zero Sum game.

Links and References

Yin and Yang

We Must All Hang Together

Zero Sum

Contact

As we get ready to wrap up, please do reach out with comments or questions about this podcast or anything that comes to mind.  You can email me at will@resultswithreason.com, or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. And you can subscribe to the podcast on your favorite device through Apple Podcasts, Google, or Stitcher.

Frequency

I publish two podcasts each week; mid-day on Tuesday and Friday. Every week. I am also considering doing these as videos on YouTube, and would love to get your thoughts.

Let’s apply the two Results With Reason main tenets to today’s issues. The two main tenets that we believe in at Results With Reason are:

  1. Personal Responsibility; practice it, teach it and
  2. Be Your Brother’s Keeper.

Today’s application is again straightforward:

  1. Personal Responsibility. Engage with others in the political issues you find on these podcasts. Whether or not you agree with everything your hear or read at here Results With Reason, don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe, for what you know to be true.
  2. Be your Brother’s Keeper. Be patient with each other; some will understand what you saying immediately, others will not. Teach and encourage; don’t criticize and reject. Love and lead. Remember, we are all in this together.

Now it is time for our usual parting thought. It is not enough to be informed. It is not enough to be a well informed voter. We need to act.  And if we, you and I, don’t do something, then the others who are doing something, will continue to run the show.

Remember: Knowledge by itself is the booby prize.

Will Luden, writing to you from my home office at 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.

Will Luden
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Will Luden

As an author, speaker, public company board chair, family man, a man with many friends (and friends-to-be), citizen and a child of God, I am driven to contribute. One way to for me to contribute is to start thought-provoking discussions.My overall objective is to stimulate “Passionate, Relentless, Reasoning.” My specific goals include getting people to act (only) after Reasoning.
Will Luden
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