Communication, focus, and tone

One of my brother’s favorite movies is Peaceful Warrior. When it came out it didn’t score a big hit with critics, but he enjoyed it nonetheless and forced me to watch it as well. One of the lines that stuck with me is “there is never nothing going on.”

This is very true.

While my world is somewhat small and is focused on my family, friends, and work, I fully recognize it is not the entirety of the world around me. The things important to me might not even register with you. Likewise, things important to you might be nowhere near my radar.

That doesn’t mean these things aren’t important.

First-world problems

Some friends in college used to utter the phrase “first-world problems” under their breath whenever anyone else complained. About anything.

Lines were too long at the grocery store? First-world problem.

Tax bill was too high in April? First-world problem.

Internet went out in the middle of a stream, homework submission, phone call? First-world problem.

They were absolutely right. These are the kinds of problems we’d faced in our somewhat well-off college environment that did not apply to various communities around the world struggling to make end’s meet. It’s a perfectly valid critique. But is also incredibly judgemental and self-centered.

The friends who made the comments had no idea the circumstances of the folks they were critiquing. They used it as a preachy stance to look down on someone. It was as crappy a move then as it is now.

Read the room

I work with technology for a living. It’s how I pay the bills. It’s how I provide for my children. Technology – specifically cybersecurity – is how I make ends meet and what drives me to get out of bed in the morning.

Through my career I have amassed a lot of knowledge. I know more than the average engineer about my domain and, while I acknowledge I have even more yet to learn, I want to share that knowledge with others. Life is short, precious, and remarkably fragile.

Tomorrow is guaranteed to no one. So I will spend today making sure I did not squander that time.

I get it. I really do. There are major things happening in the world outside our protected little bubbles. These things are important. They will impact everyone and will fundamentally change the world for millions of people.

But they are not the only things going on. The rest of the world has not stopped. Businesses have not stopped. Families still need to eat. Mortgages and rents need to be paid. The activities in which we regularly engage must continue.

To publicly declare this is “tone deaf” is, ironically, just as tone deaf an accusation.

I will continue posting regularly. I will continue writing knowledge, tips, perspectives, and ideas. I will do all of this will also doing everything in my power to support our friends, colleagues, and partners in Ukraine. The world is bigger than just me. But I can only do so much in that world, and I’ll do all that I can.

Please remember that the world is also bigger than you and your petty judgement of the priorities and focus of those around you.