My guiding principle is that life is too short, and my time is too valuable, to deal with difficult people. I will only do so if there is no other way, only when I simply must deal with them. And if this person is a long-term problem instead of a short-term one (think a boss or manager versus a store clerk or passer-by), I will usually try and change how I interact with said ass-hat rather than deal with them directly.
My theory is that you’re the average of the 5 to 10 people you spend the most time with. Many people inherently believe this, as your parents didn’t want you hanging out with “bad apples” because they knew that the more time you spent with them, the more conscience and sub-consciences influence that they would have with you. Given this assumption, that your friends influence you, you’d like to bring in people to your life such that they are a positive influence and help you reach your goals. This is true for your personal life, your career, your earnings, and how you make decisions. Your friends and co-workers help open up career opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available. Your professional network is extended and influenced by those strong ties that you spend the most time around. If you are too close to someone who is a known problem, that will rub off on you too.
I would also extend this to the online world. The people you interact the most with online, you are likely the average of those people. If the internet allows this group to be slightly large, maybe as large as 15, doesn’t change much, just dilutes the effect slightly. Your interactions on blogs, the sites you visit, the gossip you share, and the games you play, are all aspects of your group. If you were to take the average of the 10 most visited websites, what would that say about you? What would that site look like? What about the 10 people you spend the most time interacting and communicating with. Would you be proud to share this combined website? Would you introduce this online conglomeration of personalities to your closest friends?
This is such an important point, that I’ve added it to the System of Ritual Practices for Money.
If you take this into the land of websites and blogs, what are the 5 to 10 highest referring websites? Does this give you a good picture about your readers? Are they a group that interacts with you and with each other, or do they visit, read a page, and leave. How do you go about changing things to attract a better class or readers?
Given all the important aspects of life and money, you can see why I have a zero-tolerance policy for jerks. They affect all aspects of your life. They are detrimental to your happiness. They make life difficult. All the effects that they produce in you are transferred on to others. They react to this. The best people leave, and the time is filled by less desirable people.
Join me in having a zero-tolerance rule. Do what you can to make the remainder of your 2012 ass-hat free, and your life will be better off because of it.
Readers, what are your thoughts on jerks and assholes? Are you one? Do you know someone who is but you can’t get away from them? How do you deal with these people if you do?
Karl Nygard is the original founder of Cult of Money and created the website to share his ideas on investing, personal finance, and more.