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A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes

Dealing with your peers

Your chances of getting rid of assholes that are colleagues or peers are higher. A simple strategy is to freeze them out. Don't invite them to events or gatherings. Shun them politely and smile if necessary, but otherwise, just ignore them.

Sometimes you have to speak to them in a language they understand.

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A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes

A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/9/26/16345476/stanford-psychologist-art-of-avoiding-assholes

vox.com

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Key Ideas

An asshole

An asshole is someone who consistently makes the people around feeling humiliated, de-energized, disrespected, or oppressed.

Take responsibility

Some people are so thin-skinned that they think everyone is offending them when it's nothing personal. Other people are objectively treated like dirt everywhere because they're doing something to prompt that punishment.

We've got to take responsibility.

Consequences

Mean-spirited people need someone in their life to tell them they're contemptible.

In the very short-term, it might seem to your advantage to let someone feel like dirt. However, in most situations, we actually need collaboration and should be givers rather than takers. By being an asshole, you might be destroying your organization by driving out the best people, undermining their productivity, creativity, and so on.

How to deal with assholes

  • If the person is unaware that they act like a jerk, have a backstage conversation and gently inform them that they've crossed a line.
  • If someone is treating you like dirt because they believe that's how to get ahead, get out of there.
  • If you are stuck in your situation, build your case. Collect the evidence and then take your chances.
  • Otherwise, ignore them. Don't care about it. It will take the wind out of their sails. In time, they will burn their own bridges and won't be there to demean you.

Dealing with your peers

Your chances of getting rid of assholes that are colleagues or peers are higher. A simple strategy is to freeze them out. Don't invite them to events or gatherings. Shun them politely and smile if necessary, but otherwise, just ignore them.

Sometimes you have to speak to them in a language they understand.

Check your own tendencies

  • Sleep deprivation can turn you into your worst version.
  • If you're tired and in a hurry, you are more likely to misbehave.
  • If you have an excess of power in a situation, you're at risk.

Be self-aware and honest about yourself. Rely on people around you to tell you when you're out of line. Listen to them.

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The Way We See The World

Each of us looks at things differently, and it's largely based on our thinking patterns, education levels, inherent bias, self-identity, and real, first-hand experiences.

Higher Mind Vs Primitive Mind

Human beings tend to have two kinds of conflicting mindsets:

  • The Higher Mind, the conscious truth-seeking mind, has made human beings an advanced civilization.
  • The Primitive Mind is our hardwired, thousands-of-years-old survivalist part, the one that's still stuck in the dark ages.
The Psych Spectrum

Our Higher Mind and the Primitive Mind always have a tug-of-war like conflict. The degree of the conflict can be placed in a spectrum, which is called a Psych Spectrum.

If the Higher mind is in control, we are placed higher in the Psych Spectrum and have the Primitive Mind under check. If we are placed at a lower degree in the Psych Spectrum, then the Primitive Mind is under control.

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What Vulnerability Really Is

Vulnerability is consciously choosing to freely express your thoughts, feelings, desires, and opinions regardless of what others might think of you.

Vulnerability is showing your rough edges ...

Accept who you are

When someone admits they are bad at something, they will probably be more respected.

Accept who you are, faults and all.

Taking responsibility

When you take responsibility for your problems, you're in control of the solution. When you blame others, you’re handing over control to someone else. And you cannot control them.

Taking up responsibility shows that you accept reality for what it is and set out to work with what you have. 

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Principles of persuasion
  1. Reciprocation: People will be nice if you are.
  2. Consistency: It’s easier to get people to comply with requests they see as consistent with what they’ve already said.