Financial Tip of The Week #5 – How To Deal With Idiots
They’re scary, they’re dangerous, and they’re absolutely everywhere.
No, this isn’t taken from one of the pages of the Walking Dead comic, and I’m not talking about zombies. No, today’s topic is much scarier than a brain-devouring fiend. Today we’re talking about the idiots, the dum-dums, the dim’s, the dullest crayon in the box, the dimmest lightbulb on the Christmas Tree.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Man, this is one attractive blogger.” Just kidding, y’all. No, I know that this is not really a financial topic in the most literal sense, but I will tell you this: it’s a skill that you’re going to need throughout your life, and idiots abound in the financial world just as much as any other industry. So, here we go, my darlin’…
Dealing With Idiots
Again, they’re simply going to be everywhere. You can’t control that. They’re going to try to sell you cars, they’re going to tell you about how they made $4,287,239,202 in a 22 second trade. You’ll work with them, you’ll work for them, and sometimes, they’ll be directly responsible for making your life miserable.
You can’t control the number of idiots in the world. You CAN, however, determine how you’re going to interact with them.
And so dear reader, here is how I’ve learned to deal with the dullest of knives in the cutlery drawers of my life…
- Always assume best intent – This is HUGE with my kiddos, and works well on adults too. With my kids, I generally see them do something stupid almost on a daily basis. Throwing things, hitting each other, trying to jump over things and failing epically. If it’s stupid, I’ve seen a teenager do it. BUT it’s important not to criminalize the kids. For example, when I see a phone out, it’s not, “Give it to me I know you were cheating.” It’s more, “I SO appreciate that you were going to put your phone away. You’re such a great student that I KNOW you wouldn’t DREAM of having your phone out right now.” Same thing works with adults, just with less sarcasm. “I must have misread your email. You said the report was due on Friday, but you must have meant Tuesday because…” blah blah blah. Always assume best intent. The only thing worse than an idiot is an angry idiot.
- Pause and think – Is this what that person actually said? Did they mean something different? Are they just trying to be screw with me? Do they think I’m stupid? Making sure that you take the 3 second pause before just railing into a car salesman/stockbroker/DMV rep.
- Try to see from their perspective – This is a super good exercise, especially if you’re someone like me and think that you’re right literally 100% of the time. When you’re taking those 3 seconds to pause and think, make sure that you’ve considered everything from the idiot’s point of view. Could YOU have said something differently? Maybe you weren’t being clear enough. Maybe your suggestion was absolute garbage because you never took into account the budget that was necessary to do something like that.
- “I’m confused” – This is my go-to line. It let’s you assume the role of idiot for a second, and when you do that, you can say pretty much anything you want. “I’m confused; you think that rewarding students for bad behavior is going to decrease the instances of bad behavior?” “I’m confused: when you said you wanted this by Tuesday, did you misspeak and actually mean Monday.” “I’m confused; I’m expected to do the work of three people without being compensated for it appropriately?”
- If all else fails… Just hit them over the head with a big stick.
…THE LAST ONE WAS A JOKE DON’T ACTUALLY DO THAT!!!
So there you have it folks. My very tiny guide on how to deal with stupid people. Remember, we can’t change the number of stupid heads out there. Well you can: have babies and read to them every night. Your kids’ teachers will thank you. But we CAN react differently, and therein lies the power…
…as long as you don’t actually follow step #5.
Keep trying to crack the code,
Paul AndrewsFollow me on social media!