A few years ago I went to Shangai. When I boarded the plane in Amsterdam, I met a first class idiot as soon as I stepped foot on the aircraft.
When I got to my seat, the overhead bin was already full, so I had to store my bag on the other side. But when I tried to do that, an idiot came from nowhere and started screaming at me. I didn’t understand him, but I got his message: “That’s my seat, and I want to store my bag there.”
I grabbed my bag, walked two rows down, asked the person who was sitting there if it was ok I placed my bag in his overhead bin; he said yes, I stored my bag, walked down to my seat, and sat down.
Was that difficult? No. Could the idiot have done that? Yes. He didn’t have to make a scene.
“People are surprised to find out that an awful lot of people think that they’re idiots.”
– Eric Schmidt
In my life, I’ve had many other encounters with people that had bad behavior — let’s call them idiots.
You know what I’m talking about, right? Idiot bosses, coworkers, strangers, friends. Idiots do things that are not cool. It’s not bad to be an idiot — I sometimes do idiotic things, everyone does.
Dealing With Idiots
Is it cool to call people idiots? Yes, I call myself an idiot sometimes. People think they should only learn from successful people — billionaires, entrepreneurs, athletes.
But that’s not the only way to learn. How many billionaires and athletes do you know? We all know idiots. From them, we can learn how we should not behave.
Maybe someone at work stabs you in the back. Maybe your girlfriend cheats on you with your best friend. Maybe someone wants to start a fight with you. Maybe someone bullies you.
Without a doubt, people in your life have, or will, let you down. There’s no escaping that. What’s more important is your response. Do you become bitter about people? Do you think that all people are bad?
If someone does something bad to you, don’t see it as a reason to justify that behavior. For example, when I first started working for a major corporation, I noticed quickly that people accept backstabbing. You screw someone over on one day, and get promoted the next day.
Is that good? Is that bad? It’s neither, as Shakespeare put it: “There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so.”
However, it’s also not a ‘get out of jail free card’. We have to watch ourselves that we do not become what we despise. No one on this planet is born an idiot — we become one. So choose not to.
When people behave like idiots, don’t be offended, don’t take it personally, study them instead.
“Life is tough, but it’s tougher when you’re stupid.”
– John Wayne
I observe idiots doing bad stuff like cheat, lie, be aggressive, rude or anything else that is not ok to me. Then, I consciously decide to not be like them.
By observing behavior that you don’t want to associate yourself with, you will become clear on the type of person you do want to be.
Just answer to yourself: What is ok, and what isn’t? For example, stabbing people in the back for a promotion — not ok.
In the end, do whatever you think is right. Always make sure you do the right thing — but please, don’t be an idiot.
Thanks For Reading
I write on Mondays and Thursdays at DariusForoux.com, where I use tested methods and frameworks to share ideas for overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more.