What To Do When You Meet A Jerk

Look, a lot of people just are the way they are. They’ve been stubborn or lazy or obnoxious for so long that they don’t even understand there is a different way to be. And what should you do when you bump up against these folks and their stubbornness or laziness or obnoxiousness?

Marcus Aurelius, a guy who met his share of assholes, had a great line. “When you run up against someone else’s shamelessness,” he said, “ask yourself: Is a world without shamelessness possible?”

The answer is, of course—or rather, unfortunately, NO. To think otherwise is to ask the impossible.

So when Marcus would get stuck dealing with an unpleasant person, he’d simply say to himself, “There has to be shameless people in the world. This is one of them.” Remembering that there was a whole class of these types allowed him to be less upset with the individual in front of him.

It’s good advice. There are a certain number of jerks and idiots out there, just as there are a certain amount of racoons and deer in your neighborhood. Eventually, you’re going to see one. They might even do something to bother you—or put your safety at risk. But those are just the odds. So be ready. Be careful. And don’t freak out.

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