Friday, May 20, 2011


I don't know what's going on, but lately it seems like all I am doing is dealing with assholes. And its really pissing me off. Maybe I am to blame, maybe I am putting out the wrong kind of vibes or energy into the Universe. Maybe I am getting what I am giving. I have been doing some soul searching on that and wondering if deep down I really am a good person or not. But really, WTF is going on?

There is a baseline of assholes that I deal with on a regular basis, but when others start making their way into my life, I have to draw the line. Going along, to get along, can only work for so long. Eventually you have to put your foot down and say "enough is enough". I am at the point and honestly, it feel good to be there. It feels good to say to an asshole - "enough is enough". Trevor is at the same point to - we've hit our limit.

We are involved in way more things that ever before. Trevor commented that we need to back off from some things because when we get involved we care. And we care about things that really don't make any difference, things that wouldn't matter if we weren't involved. We find ourselves being in groups, on committees and boards with people who have no integrity and THAT is probably what we care about most. An issue that doesn't matter, all of a sudden starts to matter when decisions are being made without integrity. I am shocked at the things people will do and say behind closed doors. I am even more shocked that others will sit around in quiet agreement. All it takes is one person to speak up and say "that's not right", next thing you know, the rest of the group speaks up too and integrity wins after all. Lately, I have found myself being the person who speaks up first.

I saw a blog post about a book called: The No Asshole Rule.

Here's dirty-dozen list of everyday asshole actions:
Personal insults
Invading one’s personal territory
Uninvited personal contact
Threats and intimidation, both verbal and non-verbal
Sarcastic jokes and teasing used as insult delivery systems
Withering email flames
Status slaps intended to humiliate their victims
Public shaming or status degradation rituals
Rude interruptions
Two-faced attacks
Dirty looks
Treating people as if they are invisible

And here are some other good tips:
How to avoid being an asshole:

Face your past. The past is a very good predictor of future behavior. For example, were you a bully in school? If your parents and siblings were assholes, you may have caught the disease. Knowing that you’re an asshole is first step towards change.

Do not make people feel oppressed, humiliated, de-energized, or belittled. If you find yourself having these effects, it’s time to change your behavior no matter what you think of yourself.

Do not mistreat people who are less powerful than you. One of the sure signs of an asshole is treating people like clerks, flight attendants, and waiters in a degrading manner.

Resist assholeholics from the start. The easiest time to avoid becoming an asshole is at the very beginning. Don’t think that you can do “what you have to” to fit in and can change later. It won’t happen.

Walk away and stay away. Don’t be afraid to leave a bad situation. It’s unlikely you’ll change the assholes into good people; it’s much more likely that you’ll descend to their level.

View acting like an asshole as a communicable disease. If you have any sense of decency, when you’re sick, you avoid contact to prevent spreading the disease. So if you act like an asshole, you’re not just impacting yourself; you’re also teaching other people that it’s okay to be an asshole.

Focus on win-win. Children (young and old) think that the world is a zero-sum game. If another kid is playing with the fire truck, you can’t. As people get older they should realize that life doesn’t have to be a win-lose proposition--unless, that is, you’re an asshole.

Focus on ways you are no better or even worse than others. Thinking that you’re smarter, faster, better looking, funnier, whatever than others turns people into assholes. Thinking that you’re no better or even worse keeps you humble.

Focus on ways you are similar to people, not different. If you concentrate on how you and others have similar goals, desires, and passions, you’re bound to be less of an asshole. How can you treat people that are similar to you with disdain?

Tell yourself, “I have enough stuff (money, toys, friends, cars, whatever).” Discontentment and envy is a major factor in becoming an asshole. If you’re happy, there’s no reason to stomp on others.

How to Deal With Assholes:

Hope for the best, but expect the worst. One of the most frustrating aspects of dealing with assholes is that they disappoint you--making you wonder the very value of humans. Lowering your expectations can help reduce disappointment. Don’t solely lower your expectations, though, or you will slip into cynicism (and possibly turn into an asshole too.) Continue to hope for the best.

Develop indifference and emotional detachment. Sutton may be the only author who has the insight and courage to recommend that being indifferent and detached may be a good thing in work environments. If it permits you to survive, then it is. In other words, don’t let the jerks get to you.

Look for small wins. Small victories can keep you going. Most assholes pride themselves in total control and absolute domination. Any victory, no matter how small, can keep you going. Rest assured that small victories can lead to winning the war.

Limit your exposure. You can do what you can to avoid meetings and interactions with assholes. This involves finding or building pockets of “safety, support, and sanity,” to use Sutton’s words. He cites an example of a nurse’s lounge as a refuge from an asshole doctor.

Expose them. If you are safe in your position, then calling assholes out is a good way to deal with them.

De-escalate and re-educate. This strategy requires that the asshole you’re dealing with isn’t a “chronic,” “certified,” and “flagrant” asshole. It means meeting asshole behavior with calmness (instead of either similar behavior or fear) and trying to re-educate the person about how he’s behaving.

Stand up to them. Funny thing about assholes: Standing up to them shouldn’t necessarily scare you. While I was an Apple employee, I was in a meeting with a highly placed Apple exec and Apple’s ad agency. The ad agency person showed the new television spots and said he’d give a copy to the Apple exec and me. The Apple exec told the agency person not to give one to me. I spoke up: “Are you saying you don’t trust me?” The Apple exec answered: “Yes.” To which I replied, “That’s okay because I don’t trust you either.” You know what? The sun rose the next day, and my family still loved me.

I hate assholes. I need to print this out and carry it with me as a reference. Or maybe I need to read the book. Imagine a world without assholes.....its easy if you try. But just like Imaging all the people living life in peace, this too is unlikely. Until then, good luck. We are outnumbered.

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