As usual this week’s newsletter from Kit Grant provoked some thought. His topic was about those people who seem to look for reasons to be offended. His thoughts are below in italics.
I think he actually hits on a few different points worth a mention:
1. Some of us can be very easily offended, and often it is a product of communication, sometimes it is because of our frame of mind at that time and of course there are people who seem to get offended “extra easily”!
I think that latter group of “extra easily offended” people are just not people I try to associate with. To be honest I can’t waste my positive energy in worrying about the fact that they get offended.
I think that sometimes people are in a vulnerable state and will get more easily offended. They may be tired, especially stressed, having a bad day or bad week … or any number of reasons. With these people I would hope that I would be sensitive enough to recognize their state … but sometimes not. If they are part of a crowd listening to a public speaker then that speaker has a choice to make … be controversial and accept the grief, or don’t be controversial. There are things you can change and things you can’t!
People’s communication styles can be a great way to offend … if someone is aggressive, then their message may be exactly right but the recipient’s impression of the message will be very different than if the message is delivered in a conciliatory manner. If I tell someone that their sales presentation stunk and then went on to explain why, I am likely to offend. I could however just offer constructive criticism and deliver the same message.
2. I think a part of Kit’s message was that sometimes it is OK to offend. Sometimes that is the only way to affect change! The shock factor may be exactly what is needed. If I go back to the sales presentation example … if the salesperson has had feedback and still is making the same mistakes perhaps a little bit of a “shake up” is what they need!
Overall the whole issue of being offended or not comes down to attitude. If you are a positive person then you are not going to offend easily, and if something does offend you then you will deal with it appropriately without making it a big deal. If a speaker offends me with their remarks then like Kit says, maybe they are just trying to make me think a little differently on a subject. Maybe they want to shake my status quo … that is how we learn and grow. That is how innovation happens!
If you go through life looking for problems, then you will find them! If you go through life seeking to learn, to grow and to get better then you will be a much happier person!
Are you easily offended? I read an interesting comment from the producer of the new Simpsons movie who said some people seem to intentionally look for something to be offended by until such time as something new comes along which they judge to be more offensive. Isn’t that the truth?
We are so busy looking outward we rarely take time to look inward and see ourselves as others may see us. Recently at a large conference a speaker (who incidentally makes his living making controversial comments (no — it wasn’t me!) said some things that apparently offended many in the audience even though they knew he was going to “push the limit”, so to say. That’s his job, to expand your horizons. The after-convention comments sounded like the whining of a group of 3 year olds who had just lost their favorite toy to the kid next door. It was amazing these so-called professionals could be so “high and mighty” in their analysis of this presenter whose business success dwarfs most of theirs. Maybe that’s it … just underlying jealousy or perhaps they had grown weary of complaining about what last offended them and were looking for something new — bet they’re happy to have found it. … An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain — I know some people like that.