I’ve been “reading” (actually, listening to the audiobook) Scott Adams’ book How to Fail at Almost Anything and Still Win Big. There are plenty of good reviews out there, so I’m not about to try that. I just wanted to write down one of my favorite parts for reference, since doing an internet search to get me the list wasn’t working. Of course, Adams doesn’t say “a-hole”, that’s my own attempt to keep this blog family-friendly.
Anyway, Adams has a list of behaviors that are obvious once you see them stated outright, but they not things people seem to keep front-of-mind. Here they are.
- Changing the subject to himself or herself
- Dominating the conversation
- Disagreeing with any suggestion no matter how trivial
- Using “honesty” as a justification for cruelty
- Withholding simple favors out of some warped sense of social justice
- Abandoning the rules of civil behavior, such as saying “hello” or making eye contact
Adams goes on to say he assumes being an a-hole exists because it must feel good, and in that sense would be like an addiction. This further explains why a-holes who get penalized for their behavior keep doing it. Addiction is a disease, after all, is it not?
I find it interesting he goes on to refer to what seems to be his idea of the opposite (my word, not his, taken from the context of the statement) of being an a-hole. I’d have guessed “being nice” is the opposite or counter-example, but no, he says “being a reasonable person”. Though perhaps technically inaccurate if we go strictly on semantics and concepts from an etymological point of view, I like his perspective better. The choice is: be an a-hole, or be reasonable. This is because, as he states, being an a-hole in the long term is counterproductive and self-destructive, so it’s not in your self-interest, and therefore, unreasonable.
If only more Twitter trolls would take heed.