The school of hard knocks

Off the back of last week’s post on resilience, I was given pause to thought.

I’m an advocate for whole person well-being. I include in that mental, physical and personal well-being. And because of my bent towards learning and development, I have a belief that in the workplace, we are all responsible to help support each other, and in particular managers helping their staff.

There are a few points to this.

How do we help manager’s recognise when our staff’s well-being is knocked?

I’m drawn to thinking about programmes of mentoring from senior managers for high potentials to support talent management and succession planning efforts. What is mentoring if not helping provide the right advice and guidance on how to make yourself more resilient to upcoming challenges so that you can move up the proverbial ladder?

The underlying assumption here (apart from some being more deserved of special treatment over others) is that we can’t all make it in life. It’s kind of the corporate version of ‘survival of the fittest’ but with a helping hand.

I’m also drawn to thinking about the school of hard knocks. Life is life. We can’t account for everything that may come our way. And we can’t prepare for everything we may face. There is an image I see making the rounds on the internets which is like this…

Be kind because

Well, ok, maybe not everyone. There are some who say life is great and they’re having the best time of their life. Which I don’t doubt, and it’s something I wish we could all find.

And finally I’m drawn to thinking about life today. Many older people will claim that kids of today have never had life so easy, and to an extent this is true. There’s no world war to be concerned with. We’re fortunate to live in a modern western country in the UK with modern facilities and all the promise of technology at our fingertips. We have a modern education system and advancements in workplace policies and procedures which mean fair working for everyone. And we have modern medicine which can fight most ailments in life and help us live fulfilled lives.

It’s all good, right?

And here are the common things said about the school of hard knocks…

“I never had anyone show me how to do it, I had to learn as I went along.”

“Not everything can be taught, some things have to be experienced.”

“If we teach everyone everything, what will they know about life?”

“Life is hard, we can’t make it easy.”

And you know what, I don’t disagree with all of that.

Except. If we have the capability to help and support our people at work in better ways, which give them the right thinking and mindset to manage in the future, why wouldn’t we do this?


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Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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