Perspectives: Stoic or snowflake? The choice is ours

Macro snowflake and fallen defocused snowflakes on blue background. | Photo courtesy of phive2015 via iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

OPINION — As kids, we were taught that snowflakes are utterly unique and beautiful creations. Today, being labeled a “snowflake” is not even slightly complimentary.

It speaks to a mindset of victimhood that is so fragile that it cannot encounter the slightest difference of belief without feeling an existential threat. Contrary to popular belief, the domain of the modern snowflake isn’t just the safe-space crowd on college campuses.

It can also include those who cannot countenance others declining to participate in a patriotic ritual at some sporting event.

There must be some way to reclaim our sense of stoicism and personal responsibility. Of course, it will have to begin at the individual level.

A few years ago, while taking a defensive firearms course, I was introduced to the concept of stress inoculation. It’s best understood as incurring authentic stress during one’s training to better prepare for the intense anxiety of an actual life-threatening situation.

In our training scenario, we were required to make our way through a course of reactive targets that tested our marksmanship as well as our thinking skills under pressure. The stress portion started before we ever fired a shot.

Each shooter had to set down his loaded firearms, pick up a pillow and defend himself against four attackers armed with foam-covered bats for two minutes straight. That may not sound like a lot of time, but two minutes is an eternity when you’re being chased, shoved and hit by multiple assailants.

After that, the shooter had to do a wind sprint – 50 yards out and 50 yards back – before picking up his firearms and beginning the course. The resulting physical and mental exhaustion made a steady shot extremely difficult.

As we each made our way through the course, having to make our shots over, under and around obstacles, our instructor would step in and handicap us in some way. He’d put an oven mitt on the shooter’s primary hand, requiring them to use their support hand to fire the gun instead.

Sometimes a patch was placed over one eye to simulate a partial loss of vision. Or we might have our legs taped together or one arm taped to our side to simulate the loss of the use of that limb. The instructor might tell us that our primary weapon was inoperable, and we’d have to transition to a sidearm or pick up and use another weapon placed nearby.

Meanwhile, other participants were shouting at us to further distract us and add to our stress. Nevertheless, the already exhausted shooter was expected to adapt to each of these obstacles and to continue to think and fight to the best of his ability.

At no point did we have the luxury of casting ourselves as victims. The only way to solve the problem before us was to adapt to our misfortune and continue moving forward to the best of our ability.

It was some of the least fun, yet most impactful, training I’ve ever experienced.

The idea here was to acquaint the individual with real pressure in a controlled environment and to show them that they can still make their own choices to deal with it. With practice, a person can learn to manage the stress of their situation almost instinctively.

This is something first responders do on a regular basis so they won’t fall apart at the moment their help is most needed.

All of us came away with the understanding that, no matter what unexpected challenges are encountered, we each have the capacity to overcome them. Developing the necessary individual grit to do this becomes easier the more we practice it.

Perhaps there is some way that we could create a type of simulation where we could replicate the stress inoculation process to where we don’t fall apart upon encountering a differing viewpoint.

It needn’t be as complex as the life or death scenarios in the firearms course described above. All we’d really need are opportunities to be able to encounter viewpoints or ideas that are unlike our own while resisting the need to force the other person to recant.

It could start out as simple as reading something with which we disagree and choosing to move along without comment. We could work our way up from there. With practice, we may get to the point where we can openly converse with others whose worldview differs from our own without getting offended or feeling the need to shout them down.

Eventually, this could lead each of us to the point where others may be more certain of what we’re trying to build than simply what is causing us resentment, disappointment or anger.

This can only happen when our primary goal is to become the ruler of ourselves rather than trying to rule others.

Which would you rather be known for?

Bryan Hyde is an opinion columnist specializing in current events and liberty viewed through what he calls the lens of common sense. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.

Email: bryanh@stgnews.com

Twitter: @youcancallmebry

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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20 Comments

  • Real Life May 28, 2018 at 5:05 pm

    Good read. Crybaby snowflakes are the worst.

    • John May 28, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      They will all be chiming in tonight. hahahaha!

      • NotSoFast May 28, 2018 at 7:23 pm

        Let me be the first John.
        It all depends on the subject matter and of course the A hole who’s trying to convince you to yell louder or throw a certain size rock. Do you respond with a red face, load up your verbal logic magazine or just move your head from left to right to what you hear and walk away? Remember, walking thru todays life’s maze, there are many snowflakes at every corner or a kneeler at many NFL games. Don’t throw your beer can, just gather up your pop corn and leave.

        • John May 28, 2018 at 8:28 pm

          Poor little snowflake offended by words again! waaaah waaah waaaah! I got a heater for ya! Come a little closer ! Take your PC and rub it in your puddle..Sensible people are really tired of you sensitive little crybabies..

          • No Filter May 29, 2018 at 8:08 am

            Yes we are tired of little cry babies, so shut up John. You cry more than anyone on this page and when you get called out for your false statements you either stop posting or shout some stupid snowflake melting comment, a waaaah waaaah waaaaah, or your all clueless comment. No substance in any of your “facts”. You are the definition of a cry baby through and through. Ever person on this website conservative or liberal uses big boy words except you. You have become the clown of STGnews.com and sadly after you read this, you somehow be proud of it with your reply. To close, ask yourself one question, why does no one ever support my comments, only attack them? Food for thought!

          • John May 29, 2018 at 9:23 am

            hey cloggy ! drip drip drip!! splash!

          • John May 29, 2018 at 9:39 am

            One of the facts I present is that you are a crybaby clueless liberal snowflake and you continually prove my point! waaaah waaah drip drip !

        • John May 28, 2018 at 8:40 pm

          FYI, I laugh at all liberal snowflakes, they’re entertaining and mostly clueless. I don’t yell at them..I merely point out their cluelessness!

        • Utahguns May 29, 2018 at 11:38 am

          This article also means, put your wallet in your front pocket, clutch your purse tighter, have your CCW at the ready and watch your back as your walk into a Starbucks today.
          With SB’s new “inclusion policies” allowing the homeless to use their store facilities without purchasing products, your Venti Mocha could be hazardous to your health and safety.

          Dad always said, “pick your battles…”

      • Joe May 28, 2018 at 10:51 pm

        You do realize he is talking about people like you, right?
        His quote “It could start out as simple as reading something with which we disagree and choosing to move along without comment. We could work our way up from there. With practice, we may get to the point where we can openly converse with others whose worldview differs from our own without getting offended or feeling the need to shout them down.”
        For some time the recurring people who post on sthnewa.com have been at each other’s throats due to our beliefs. I don’t agree with lumpy on pretty much every aspect of life, but is our fighting with words solving anything? The answer is no. I for one plan on reducing my attacking comments that tend to steer rather far from the original article. I hope many will join me.

        • John May 28, 2018 at 11:56 pm

          Drip Drip Drip, hahahahahaha! better get a mop!

          • No Filter May 29, 2018 at 5:31 am

            Point proven.

          • John May 29, 2018 at 9:59 am

            I know, you came out crying, just like i predicted..hahahahahahahahahahaha!

          • John May 29, 2018 at 11:06 am

            no filter = Snowflake
            A very sensitive person. Someone who is easily hurt or offended by the statements or actions of others.
            You are such a perfect example…hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Snowflakes don’t last very long in Southern Utah !

        • Lee Saunders May 29, 2018 at 12:47 pm

          It probably won’t work, but if we all ignored him, maybe he’d go away. What a blessing that would be.

          • John May 29, 2018 at 5:51 pm

            Are those tables clean yet busboy? You came out right on time, just like a trained snowflake monkey! Hahahahahahahaha!

  • Rafiki May 28, 2018 at 9:44 pm

    I think it’s ironic that all above are ‘offended’ by the very people you call snowflakes. Wouldn’t that by the definition of the article’s ‘snowflake’ make you all snowflakes! e.g. “those silly liberals….wining all the time….I don’t like them….they attack what I believe….they’re snowflakes”.

    Tomi Lauren quote – who happens to love calling people snowflakes… “ya, i’m a millennial so I don’t believe in labels”

    Ya, chew on the irony of that one!

  • SSTEED May 28, 2018 at 10:07 pm

    I had a teacher who taught me to write essays from a perspective contrary to my own. It helped me to see the other point of view and was a good exercise in being open minded. It was also a fun challenge.

  • ladybugavenger May 29, 2018 at 10:21 am

    So pretty much everyone just needs to shut up? Lol…not happening. It’s ok to not agree and have different views. It’s ok to agree to disagree. It’s not ok to invoke violence. That being said, with all the military being forced to fight with violence and kill the enemy it’s quite confusing and hypocritical. I kinda went off the path there lol.

    Have a blessed day!

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