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About Everything Wiki » Life » Why is it sometimes useful to be an asshole

Why is it sometimes useful to be an asshole

29 May 2023, 13:55, parser
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Mark manson
Entrepreneur, blogger, bestselling author "The subtle art of indifference" and "Everything sucks. A book about hope".

How character traits determine life success

80 years ago, one of the longest studies in psychology began. Scientists decided to test the hypothesis that every person is endowed with basic character traits that are inherited and do not change during life. But people do a lot of things. How to understand what exactly is caused by each of them: character traits or what is happening around us?

To do this, psychologists Gordon Allport and Henry Odbert took an explanatory dictionary and began to write out every word related to human behavior. They started G. W. Allport, H. S. Odbert. Trait-names: A psycho-lexical study / Psychological Monographs in 1936 and eventually selected 4,500 words. It turned out to be an exhaustive list of all possible human qualities. Then they were grouped into categories. For example, "voluble", "talkative", "talkative" fell under the general definition of "talkative". And "moping", "whining", "self-pitying" were classified as "melancholic". The work took several years.

On the basis of these materials, psychologist Raymond Kettel identified H. E. P. Cattell, A. D. Mead. The Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire (16PF) / The SAGE Handbook of Personality Theory and Assessment: Volume 2 — Personality Measurement and Testing 16 basic character traits that influence human actions. During further research, it became clear that not all of them persist in humans throughout life.

By the 1960s, scientists had identified five stable character traits, which today are called the Big Five. These are extroversion, openness to new experiences, benevolence, consciousness and neuroticism.

These five characteristics do not change D. A. Cobb-Clark, S. Schurer. The Stability of Big-Five Personality Traits / Melbourne Institute Working Paper under the influence of circumstances. They partially determine what decisions a person makes and how much he will succeed in life.

For example, extroverts on average experience more positive emotions, have more social connections, and possibly earn more money as a result. Conscious people have better health, they live longer (probably wash their hands more often). People with a high level of neuroticism suffer from emotional problems and are more likely to lose their jobs, get divorced and get depressed. Open to new experiences are usually distinguished by creativity, risk-taking and liberal political views.

But professional success is most strongly influenced by the fifth trait — benevolence. More precisely, lack of goodwill. Simply put, assholes make more money. Sometimes much more.

How it looks in practice

It's very easy to call this another proof of the injustice of the world and complain that it is the cruel who always thrive. But, in my opinion, this is a completely immature view of things. Just because you're friendly doesn't mean you're nice. And someone unfriendly is not necessarily a bad person. In general, I think that a certain number of assholes in the world is simply necessary. And that being an asshole is a valuable life skill.

By the words "being an asshole" I mean the willingness to upset other people and cause their dislike.

Let's take this example: two parties need to conclude a deal that will give a big profit and will be useful for the whole world. Let's say one side has mastered a valuable skill of wisdom, and the other has not. That is, one is ready to cause dislike of the interlocutor , and the second is not ready. The development of events is quite obvious: the asshole will bend the interlocutor under himself and agree on the most favorable conditions for himself.

Now imagine that both sides do not want to hurt each other. Instead of defending their position, they agree with not the best conditions, just to avoid conflict. Such a deal would not be optimal for anyone. It may not take place at all if both offer unsuitable conditions to the other and at the same time are afraid to push. In this case, the parties will agree that the transaction is impossible, and they will go for a friendly drink (and they will not earn money).

There is also a third case when two assholes meet at the negotiating table. Both sides absolutely do not mind upsetting the interlocutor. They will not only try to make the conditions as favorable as possible for themselves, they will push even more.

They will annoy the opponent on purpose, because they know that it will tire him, which means he will give up faster. Oddly enough, it is this unpleasant situation that is most advantageous for everyone. Both sides may be unhappy with the result, but the final deal will be optimal for them. Because in the process of negotiations, they made every effort to achieve ideal conditions.

However, this approach is not respected. Society despises him because he causes discomfort. But assholes are a necessary part of life. If, of course, they adhere to moral principles.

How to become an Ethical asshole

When we use the word "asshole" we usually think of immoral people. About those who lie, steal and break the laws to get what they want. But besides them there is another type of assholes — ethical. And they are the only ones who can stand up to immoral assholes.

So if you adhere to moral principles, it will be useful for you to develop asshole skills. Some are born with them. They believe that people themselves are pretty lousy, so they are not afraid to spoil their opinion of themselves. But if you are benevolent by nature, you will have to train so that you do not wipe your feet.

1. Decide what is more important to you than someone's feelings

In order not to be afraid of upsetting others, you first need to understand what is more important to you than their mood. Many allow feelings (their own and others') to guide their entire lives. They don't even realize it because they've stopped thinking about it.

Would you agree to hurt someone's feelings to save a dying relative? Most likely, yes. And to save your career? Unfortunately, not everyone answers in the affirmative. Well, to help a good cause that you care about? Find something that outweighs the fear of arousing someone's dislike for you. This is the first step.

2. Get used to unpleasant sensations

Most nice friendly people think they are nice and friendly because they care about the feelings of others. They tell themselves: "I would never say that to her, because it would be unpleasant for her." But they lie to themselves. They try not to offend others, because in the process they themselves will become uncomfortable. And they can't stand that.

Only sometimes it is necessary. So learn to put up with your own unpleasant feelings, then it will not be so scary to cause them in others.

3. Be honest, even when it's hard

We have all been in a situation where you want to say something important, but these words can upset others. We start to get nervous, argue with ourselves: to say or not to say? Enter a new rule: say important things, even if they are unpleasant. Don't go deep into thinking. Believe me, most of the time you will be glad that you said it. Moreover, other people will also be happy, even if not immediately.

The first few times you will be very scared. But soon you will notice that people come up to you one by one and, looking around to see if anyone is eavesdropping, they say: "My God, it should have been said a long time ago. As soon as you begin to receive such a positive response, frankness will become easier for you. And this response will not take long, because friendly people, avoiding discomfort, in social situations completely rely on ethical assholes.

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