How To Deal With Ignorance, Criticism And 'Jacka**-ery' While Pursuing Your Goals…
While launching this business, I’ve been lucky enough to have met some great, inspiring, intelligent and supportive people, but, unfortunately, what comes along with those people are some who provide nothing but criticism, ignorance and what I like to call ‘jacka**ery.’ As we go through the different phases of being an adult, most of us learn the basic tools of how to deal with ‘these people’… we develop a ‘thick skin’ and brush off their negative energy, invaluable opinions and ridiculous behaviour. But when we decide to take the challenging leap of making a major change in our life or pursing a significant goal, we can be at our most vulnerable as we are putting ourselves out of our comfort zone. We hope for and appreciate any support and encouragement we can get from friends, family and colleagues, but the fact remains… ignorant and critical Jacka**es will find a way to creep in and try to sabotage, even for a moment, your dreams, ideas, plans and goals... they try to disrupt any of the momentum and confidence you’ve built while pursuing these things. This blog addresses how to not only manage ‘these people’ but, if necessary, how to remove them from your life altogether.
Recently, someone I was open to being ‘cool with,’ or even become friends with, turned out to be one of ‘those people’… ignorant, critical and a jacka**. Without going into detail, this person is a great example of someone who exhibits both versions of ignorance. The first ‘version’ is when someone KNOWS they are being ignorant. They act this way on purpose, knowing they are being a ‘jacka**.' The other ‘version’ of ignorance is when someone has no clue, zero idea, that they are being ‘ignorant.’ The person I’ve been encountering over the past few months has ‘no filter,’ poor boundaries (E.g. Doesn’t know or doesn’t care if what he/she is saying is disrespectful, inappropriate, rude, etc.), says things that they know will ‘rattle’ most people, and they have no idea (or simply don’t care) that what they are saying to people could be making them feel uncomfortable and upset inside. These types of people, sadly, even get a feeling of satisfaction from the unease they create in others.
The person I’ve been referring to has done all of these things when speaking to me about almost any topic, but his/her most constant discussion is aimed at my work, the choices I’ve made in making my business a reality and how I operate it. If I were not the person I am today, the person who has worked very hard on improving his own life for years and overcoming obstacles, I’d currently be a hurting victim of a bully. But luckily, this isn’t the case. I’m lucky that I today have the tools to effectively deal with people like this… without their words having much effect on the momentum I’ve built, nor has it stalled my drive in achieving the goal(s) I want to achieve. Sure, it can get to me slightly in the moment, but when someone starts to behave this way, I refer to the ‘3 Simple Steps/Levels of Managing Ignorant, Critical Jacka**es’ (catchy title huh?). Not all people know of these steps and, understandably (for many, many different reasons and life factors) haven’t developed the confidence or ability to employ them. The good news is, by considering these ’3 Steps/Levels,’ anyone can effectively deal with jacka**-ery as we all hit a point where our ‘buttons have been pushed’ too many times. Whether it be a 'friend,' acquaintance, co-worker, or simply someone you encounter weekly that is this ‘jackass,’ they CAN be dealt with effectively and maturely. Depending on how much of a jackass the person is, is what determines how many of the ‘steps’ you will have to take. Here’s how:
1) Hopefully this is the only ‘Step’ you have to take in dealing with a jacka**. When someone’s ignorance, criticism and jacka**-ery begins to reveal itself, unfortunately, it’s often when we are already ‘too deep’ into the type of relationship we have with them. But this DOES NOT mean you have to tolerate or become a victim of their words, opinions and behaviours. And you sure as hell don’t need to allow those things to have any effect on the positive changes you are trying to make in your life or the goal(s) you are working towards achieving. If you only see this person ‘once in a while,’ fine, tolerate their ridiculous behaviour for a few moments and move on. Keep things short and sweet. Don’t acknowledge or agree with their opinions or views of you and your life choices. Smile and ‘mentally check out’… only be ‘half there’ consciously. Jacka**es don’t have the wherewithal to notice this anyways! You don’t see them often enough to have to take any ‘serious’ action. Use a lot of ‘mmmhmm’s,’ ‘yup’s” and ‘uh huh’s’ with these people as they spew their ignorant nonsense. That’s all they deserve :) .
2) If you find yourself encountering this jacka** more than once a week and you begin to find that their behaviour towards you has begun to make you feel doubtful, upset, or uneasy… or even begins to make you second-guess or doubt the changes or goals you’re trying to make and achieve, then it’s time for ‘Step 2.’ This is where you try to avoid this person all together. This often works because a ‘message’ is being sent that you don’t want to interact with them anymore, but sometimes the person is such a critical, ignorant jacka** that they just can’t help themselves and begin to seek you out… ensuring they can feed their Ego by tearing your down. This is where you begin to include verbal cues in your conversations with them, signalling that you don’t appreciate or agree with their words and actions. It's also where you express that you don’t intend on wavering from making the life changes you’re wanting to make or achieving the goals you’re striving for. Also change your body language while interacting with them. Don’t face them directly, but don’t slouch or cower either. Have ‘good’ posture, but turn your shoulders/body on enough of an angle (as if the conversation has already come to an end) that it looks like you're preparing to walk away. Do this while you alter the tone of your voice, making it sound ‘less interested’ and not ‘invested’ in the conversation. Most of the time, this knocks the jacka** ‘down a peg,’ signalling to them that their behaviour isn’t having an effect on you and your life and that you simply don’t care about their opinions. Just like a bully, these people won’t be getting the result or reaction in you that they’re craving and hoping will happen… thus leading them to ‘giving up’ on spending time tearing you down :) .
3) Unfortunately, ‘Step 3’ has to be employed when a jacka**’ ignorance is so high that Steps 1 & 2 have no bearing on them continuing their efforts to tear you, the changes you’re working towards making and the goal(s) you want to achieve, down. It won’t be the most ‘comfortable’ action you’ll ever take, but I promise you, it’s just like ‘ripping a band-aide off’…quick and painless! In going to ‘Step 3,’ you’ve had enough… you encounter this person way too often and they’ve taken way too much of your time and energy… all things they 100% do not deserve. Their actions have begun to make you feel hurt, sad and doubtful… 3 things that significantly affect us when we are trying to better and improve our lives. The next time you encounter this jacka**, it will be the last interaction they ever have with you… The last time they will ever cause you to feel doubt, shame, sadness, or like quitting on your life changes, goals and dreams… the last time they get what they want. Here’s what you say:
“ ( Name ) I feel like, when you come and talk to me, you are bringing nothing positive to my life. I’ve tried to express in many different ways that how you speak to me, your opinions and views on my life, my goals, and wants and dreams make me feel uncomfortable and disrespected. I’m a smart and capable person and I’m working very hard on achieving my goals and making the changes I want to make. You’re wrong and I don’t want to chat or hangout with you anymore. You add no value to my life and I choose to only give my time to people that build me up and not ‘knock me down.’ I feel sorry for you that you have to behave the way you do to feel good about yourself. Wish you the best. Bye.’
Jacka**es not only don’t expect this, but often times, this marks the beginning of their own self-realization that they have some significant work to do in their own life.
One last thing to remember before taking the actions above is to be conscious of the fact that many of these ignorant and critical jacka**es are some of the most insecure and jealous people on this earth. It’s an insecurity and jealously we often don’t visually see because it’s masked by their ignorant and critical behaviour. These are the people who are often the ones who need to make the most significant changes in their lives and are simply too insecure, scared and/or are too ignorant to do so. Remember, you’re not being rude to these people and you owe them nothing because they’ve added zero value to your life. Feel free to feel sorry for them, because they aren’t the ones making the sacrifices you’re making through the hard work, dedication and the ups and downs you’re overcoming in making your dreams a reality. As the saying goes – “Winners focus on winning. Losers focus on winners.” :)