With this year being a Presidential election year here in the United States, more and more people are following the issues and the political process, which I think is a good thing. But as a result of this, many people are sharing their thoughts and opinions on particular issues, which is within their rights. The big question is whether it’s the smart thing to do.
I once heard a story about a traveler harassing a ticket agent at the gate of an airport terminal. The traveler didn’t want to wait to get on the plane so he went into a tirade. “Do you know who I am!” he shouted repeatedly at the poor woman handling the tickets. But the ticket agent handled him beautifully – she simply picked up the intercom and announced over the loudspeaker that this man needed help because he didn’t know who he was. Everyone at the gate laughed – especially those who witnessed his bad behavior.
I was driving the other day and an experience with a rude driver got me thinking about how you not only can’t please everyone, but you shouldn’t want to please everyone or even try to get everyone to like you. The bottom line is that while there are a lot of great people out there, there are also a lot of not so great people out there. In fact, there are quite a few people out there who are, to be blunt, just plain jerks.
Have you ever been in a situation where someone is unexpectedly rude to you? Of course you have. And you know that rotten feeling that you get when it happens. You did nothing to provoke it, so why you? Should you be rude back? Is it worth a conflict? Sometimes it’s tempting to lash out in return, but that’s not always a good idea.
A wise older friend once shared with me after such an incident that most of the time when someone blows up at you for seemingly no reason, it’s almost always someone else (including themselves) that they’re mad at. We all handle stress differently. While I do my best to never take out my anger on someone who isn’t responsible, I’d be lying to you if I said I’ve never done that. We all try our best, but sometimes the moment gets the best of us.
I had my first experience in training in 1996 when I was an instructor at what’s now Bentley University while earning my Masters Degree. In the brief training I had before getting unleashed upon five groups of mostly first semester freshmen, something stuck out in my mind. The syllabus that I was to hand out to my students noted that the only dumb questions were the ones that were never asked. The point of it was that you shouldn’t be afraid to ask a question out of fear that you’ll look dumb. I get it — and even bought it, for a little bit. But then after fielding some of these questions, I realized that some questions were better off not being asked.
I was reminded of this recently when someone asked me the very question that is the title of this post. It was in response to my review of the book “How to Be a Gentleman.” At first, I thought it was a dumb question. Phrases like “being open minded” popped in my head and I decided to be open minded about the question and my answer. And guess what? It’s actually an interesting question that warrants a legitimate answer.
I recently took a step back from social media because I found things getting to be quite intense and wanted to reflect on the role it’s played in both my personal and professional life. No, there weren’t any heated arguments or steamy love affairs. Instead, I found myself falling into a trap that many people fall into when it comes to social media — getting too immersed.
You’ve probably heard the infamous phrase “it’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know” – the phrase is true to some extent. In the extreme case, you have the incompetent and under-qualified son or daughter that takes over the family business. More commonly, someone who is likable or able to communicate a connection between themselves and the decision maker is able to land jobs or clients despite competing with others who have stronger qualifications.
Finding a connection such as attending the same school, growing up in the same small town or having a similar hobby is an easy way to create instant rapport. Equally as helpful is having a personal connection such as a family relationship or mutual friend or associate. Sometimes, we don’t have these connections but there’s something else that can tip the odds in our favor: likability.