Last week, Jeremy Haynes tweeted a quote intended to spark some motivation among the Twitter community. The tweet itself prompted everyone in self-quarantine to use the time wisely, with many suspecting a callous undertone. After going viral, it was clear that while it resonated with a lot of people, the vast majority of replies were ones of outrage.
Here’s the original tweet:
If you don’t come out of this quarantine with either:
1.) a new skill
2.) starting what you’ve been putting off like a new business
3.) more knowledge
You didn’t ever lack the time, you lacked the discipline
— Jeremy Haynes (@TheJeremyHaynes) April 2, 2020
Haynes, who is a digital marketing strategist and self-proclaimed entrepreneur coach (helping past clients such as Tai Lopez and Fred Lam), was subjected to criticism encompassing everyone from healthcare workers to self-employed parents. One woman responded, “The goal is to survive. Physically. Emotionally. And Mentally.”
Haynes then refuted these sentiments with this reply:
Merely “surviving” is the closest point to death and despair you can get
Expand beyond survival no matter the circumstances
— Jeremy Haynes (@TheJeremyHaynes) April 6, 2020
The problem with the original tweet
The quote was meant to inspire, but what it really does is put pressure on people to somehow make use of our grievous circumstances. As if to say, you’re somehow less of a person if you don’t come out of self-isolation with some achievement, skill, or new business.
What many people like Jeremy Haynes are forgetting is, for many of us, this is the worst time of our lives. And you know what? It’s perfectly fine to deal with things however we want (this excludes anyone not following the social-distancing guidelines). Now conversely, if devoting yourself to a new project or business helps you through this, go for it. Many of us are reading and doing more side projects than ever (that is, of course, those of us in good health and likely without a full house of kids to raise).
Firstly, Jeremy, for some, quarantine means less free time, not more. Secondly, the high stress many are experiencing is a barrier to achievement; nobody's writing a bestseller while they worry about the family they can't see or the growing rent arrears. Don't make it worse.
— Oonagh (@Okeating) April 3, 2020
The reality is…
Many of us are busier than ever before, even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. CEOs are desperately trying to keep their businesses alive. Healthcare workers (who are not receiving proper PPE) are inundated with mass quantities of sick patients. One could argue that even a deli worker is putting their life on the line every day just by continuing to show up at work.
The reality is, not everyone has time to learn a new skill. In fact, many parents, in particular, are not only balancing the loss of their job but also coping with the transition to homeschooling with their children (much less having to battle grocery stores reminiscent of an apocalypse). If we ever needed a moment to put our mental health first–it’s now.
Hi Jeremy what about the single, self employed, chronically ill parents desperately trying to continue making money, teach 3 kids, feed them, keep them safe and well. Do we get a pass on this? Because quite frankly I’ll be pleased if I come out of this without a nervous breakdown
— Lucy (@crapolatombola) April 3, 2020
Another Twitter user echoed a similar sentiment:
Sure Jeremy, come here and help with home schooling, cooking, washing , dog caring, raising a teenager and trying to balance your cash. All new skills for you to pick up.
— Ton Christiaanse (@Foodman62) April 3, 2020
However, there’s a flip side. For others, who have been fortunate enough to work from home and may not have any dependents, they may not have this amount of free time for as long as you live. And if you look at the message in a positive light, it’s simply one of “making lemonade out of lemons.” In that regard, it’s possible Haynes’ actually has a point. Others came to the entrepreneur’s defense:
I read the comments and see how negative people are. I have 2 kids and a wife all that count on me for food & money. I lost 80% of my clients, I have to help my kids with school work, I have rent, 2 car payment, blah blah.. I’m still focused on moving forward! Do the same! https://t.co/pogI7rGUN9
— Jose V. Castellanos | Marketing Strategist (@jvictorcast) April 5, 2020
Even still, it’s clear Jeremy Haynes is out of touch with the average, working-class American. The most important thing is to remember that not everyone faces the same circumstances. Haynes’ method of delivery often leaves something to be desired, so in the end, the quote is best taken with a grain of salt.
There’s no doubt that, as a species, we’re sailing through some dark waters. While it certainly behooves us to pick up a book, learn something new, or even take that leap of faith with a new business, we have to find the courage not to pass judgment on one another.