I was puzzled for many days due to irrational behavior of someone. I was reading a book by Robert Greene called Mastery and it had a section that helped me keep my sanity. This prompted me to share the one page of info from this book (mostly as it is) for anyone who is going through it. This book is very good – for career and personal life, recommend buying it.
Author writes, ” In the course of your life you will be continually encountering fools. There are simply too many to avoid. We can classify people as fools by the following rubric: when it comes to practical life, what should matter is getting long-term results, and getting the work done in as efficient and creative a manner as possible. But fools carry with them a different scale of values:
- They place more importance on short-term matters-grabbing immediate money, getting attention from the public or media, and looking good.
- They are ruled by their ego and insecurities.
- They tend to enjoy drama and political intrigue for their own sake.
- When they criticize, they always emphasize matters that are irrelevant to the overall picture or argument.
- They are more interested in their career and position than in the truth.
- You can distinguish them by how little they get done, or by how hard they make it for others to get results.
- They lack a certain common sense, getting worked up about things that are not really important while ignoring problems that will spell doom in the long-term.
The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy.
In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset about or lose sleep over.
This attitude – “Suffer Fools Gladly“- should be forged in your Apprenticeship Phase, during which you are almost certainly going to encounter this type. if the are causing you trouble, you must neutralize the harm they do by keeping a steady eye on your goals and what is important, and ignoring them if you can. The height of wisdom, however, is to take this even further and to actually exploit their foolishness – using them for material for your work, as examples of things to avoid, or by looking for ways to turn their actions to your advantage. In this way, their foolishness plays into your hands, helping you achieve the kind of practical results they seem to disdain.”
You can purchase this book at Amazon.Com
(Credit – Mastery, Author Robert Greene, Published by Penguin Group, New York 10014, 2012, page 163-164)