#3 Having success.
Have you ever noticed that whenever one jerk leaves your life, another replaces him?
It’s like the whole universe is conspiring against you.
And it sucks.
It happens to me too. But as a bartender in a nightclub in the 2000s, I became a kind of zen anti-jerks master.
And I learned three valuable lessons for dealing with them that I want to share with you today.
Let’s dive in.
1. Be aware of it
Jerks are everywhere. We live in the age of cancellation. Twitter is full of people waiting for you to point fingers at you and fit into society by making fun of you. I know it’s sad but true.
We are chimps with enhanced brains, but not that enhanced. So we have to learn to deal with it.
I remind myself every day that the world is like a circus full of clowns who do NOT want to make me laugh.
I remind myself because sometimes I forget and have a hard time when that happens.
Someone once said, “if you don’t expect anything from anyone, you won’t be disappointed.” So I go further with this metaphor, “if you don’t forget that the sidewalk is full of dog poop, you probably won’t step in it.”
You have to understand that having a naive view of the world is like walking barefoot; you will end up cutting yourself.
Being aware that the world is full of jerks won’t save you from running into one, but it will prevent you from getting hurt more than necessary.
Going through life like a sugar cube with the phrase “be nice because everyone fights a tough battle” is fine. But being aware that those people WILL NOT be as lovely as you are will help you deal with disappointments.
There is one thing that years of bartending taught me that every bartender knows: every day, a jerk will walk in the door, and it will be your turn to wait on them. Knowing that prepares you not to be caught off guard, which makes things better in your favor.
2. Avoiding the epidemic of jerks
You may not be able to avoid having to deal with the occasional asshole, but what you can do is prevent someone you care about from becoming another jerk.
How? By not giving up.
Don’t give up if you don’t want your life to become a mix between Tetris and The Walking Dead, a macabre video game that piles jerks on you until it kills you.
Not giving up means not giving in. Your function as a human being is to dissipate entropy. We are the fingers with which the universe pinches its cheeks to know that it is not dreaming.
In other words, don’t neglect your relationships, or just as a house gets dusty, even if you don’t live in it, your life will get full of shit. That is entropy.
Entropy doesn’t tidy up, mess up, and does so when you give up.
That’s why you’ll regret it if you forget about that friend, your partner, a family member, or a co-worker.
The best thing to do when you have a problem with your love ones is 1) talk to them and, if necessary, sever the relationship and 2) make an effort to maintain contact so that, like the dusty house example, the relationship doesn’t get full of shit for lack of use.
As a bartender, I always had some jerk in the bar, but the trick to surviving nights of impertinent drunks was to treat the regulars well so they didn’t turn to the dark side of the asshole force.
Listlessness with your social relationships can turn your friends into jerks as they feel neglected, don’t forget that.
3 Having success
I will tell you something uncomfortable: when you are successful, others criticize you. But when you are not successful, you are the one who knocks the rest.
Understanding this changes everything.
While working as a waiter, I discovered that the way you feel is the way you behave; if I had a headache because of alcohol, I had less patience; if I had problems at home, I took my bad mood with me to work.
I found out because that’s what my clients were doing: paying for their problems with me.
And after having hundreds of customers mistreat you for the price of a glass of whiskey and think they are your boss, I learned my lesson.
Conclusion: if life is going well for you, you don’t have time to be a jerk, and more importantly: you don’t have time to be affected by anything jerks tell you; you are too much enjoying your life.
So be happy, and whatever jerks tell you will slide off like butter.
A virtual hug