I just read an interesting article authored by Dr. Thomas Curran and Dr. Andrew P. Hill in the Harvard Business Review (HBR): Perfectionism Is Increasing, and That’s Not Good News.
I have a perspective on it that I would like to share*.
The authors rightfully dissed the notion of referring the young generation as a snowflake generation. Labeling a whole generation (or anyone) as “snowflake” is disrespectful. The traits like, passion and emotions are essential qualities that make us feel like humans. In a way, it is a good thing if the young generation is exhibiting these characteristics.
The authors attributed ‘the desire to achieve perfection’ as a cause for the growing emotional distress in the young generation. I would argue that the people of older generation face similar anxiety and emotional stress too. Some may call the behavior as a ‘mid-life crisis’ for the folks in their 40s and 50s.
Impact of Social Media – Cyberbullying?
In my view, one of the primary contributing factors is the social media. I wonder if we can call it a form of cyberbullying. After all, the social media involvement adds a lot of pressure on folks, irrespective of the generation.
Moreover, there is no shortage of research on this topic of how social media impacts the human behavior. And its pros and cons in every aspect of human life in the current age of the Internet.
At times, we do not realize that we scam ourselves by relying on the feedback of some anonymous users and their likes. I’d argue this phenomenon is not limited to the young generation; instead, it is universal social voodoo magic played on our minds, and we all are victims of it.
The folks who have more experience can make use of their experience filter versus taking everything from the social media as validation or evidence of truth.
For example, one can post something and may get an immediate response back from some known and some unknown folks online. If the reaction is positive, one can feel satisfied. Conversely, if the feedback received is not to one’s liking, then that may be one of the origins of depression/anxiety. However, no matter how smart or careful one is, it is hard to escape the virtual reality.
Hence, there is no better way than to learn by experience. If one can learn it through the wisdom and knowledge of others that would be icing on the cake! One may consider reading books by experienced professionals to learn and gain some perspective. The idea is that a mature subject would try to rationalize and parse the results through the filters of the context and the subjectivity of the situation. Eventually, the very things that bother will seem benign to make a material emotional and mental impact.
At times, I wonder what would happen to the humans when AI would turn into day-to-day reality.
*Disclaimer: I am no one to guide on the subject in front of the expert Ph.D. authors based on their broad experience and thorough research. My view is just an alternate perspective, take it with a grain of salt.