10 Difficult People You Should Never Tolerate (And 7 You Should) | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Focus, Create and Grow Your Way To Intelligent Achievement 10 Difficult People You Should Never Tolerate (And 7 You Should) | Dr. Isaiah Hankel | Focus, Create and Grow Your Way To Intelligent Achievement

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10 Difficult People You Should Never Tolerate (And 7 You Should)

Never Tolerate
“Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests.”

Derek Jeter (MLB Player and  5X Gold Glover Winner)

“Always think extra hard before crossing over to a bad side, if you were weak enough to cross over, you may not be strong enough to cross back.” 

Victoria Addino (Author; Facets and Sadie’s Wish)

“Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your mind, feelings and emotions.”

Will Smith (Actor; The Pursuit of Happyness)


Your life is an exclusive event. Choose who you invite into it very carefully.

“Don’t you remember what happened the last time that you tried to start a business?” my friend said. “You have a lot to lose now,” he continued. For another 10 minutes, he told me all the reasons I would probably fail.

I felt pretty crappy about myself after the conversation but was thankful he took the time to talk to me. I was thankful he cared enough to keep me from making the mistake of pursuing my dreams. I felt a sense of relief too. His advice gave me an excuse not to risk anything. I had worked myself up for weeks—hell, for years—to make a big change in my life. I was nervous though. I was nervous about failing. Which is why I (thankfully) talked to my friend. What would I do without friends like him?

Good People Are Frustrating Too

I opened my email, read the first few lines, and was furious. I had just spent the entire morning mapping out a project plan for my business partners and within 10 minutes of clicking the send button one of the partners had replied with a giant list of reservations. He questioned every single one of my points and brought up concerns that made absolutely no sense to me. Why was he so negative? Why was he such a baby?

I kicked myself for going into business with this guy. It was going to be impossible to get anything done with him questioning everything I wanted to do. I didn’t want to be held back by negativity. I didn’t want to be cautious. I wanted to be bold and I wanted to be supported by bold people, not weak people. After I calmed down, I read through the partner’s reservations again and realized that a couple of his points were pretty reasonable. Actually, they were very reasonable—even smart. In fact, they would save us thousands of dollars.

Your Life Is An Exclusive Event

The single most important decision you’ll make in life is who you’ll allow into your life. Good and bad behavior is contagious.  One study found that emotions circulate through social networks in patterns similar to what’s seen in epidemiological models of the flu virus. Numerically, each positive person you surround yourself with increases your chances of being positive by 11% and each negative person you surround yourself with doubles your chances of being negative.

If you don’t actively decide who to surround yourself with, other people will make the decision for you. You can either fight to be around positive, yet difficult people, who challenge you to be a better person, or you can sit back and be suffocated by negative people who will stop at nothing to suck you dry. This may sound harsh but it’s the truth. We’ve all been in deenergizing relationships that made us feel stuck, trapped, stupid, or guilty. Instead of sharpening us, these people infect us with things like impostor syndrome and learned helplessness.

The only way to reach your full potential is to start seeing your life as an exclusive event. Here’s the key—you’re the gatekeeper to this event. You’re the bouncer. It’s your responsibility to let some people in and to keep others out. It’s also your job to remove those who no longer belong at the party. This means you have to take stock of who is in your life right now. You have to realize that not everyone is right for you. Some people have your best interests at heart, other’s have a stake they want to put through your heart. How do you tell the difference?

Exclusive Event

10 People You Should Never Tolerate

The first step to living a more successful and fulfilling life is to recognize the negative people dragging you down and cut them out of your life permanently. Only then will you have room to breath, to think, and to act. The goal here is to create space in your life for new, positive people who will challenge you to find your purpose and fulfill it. Here are 10 people you should delete from your life immediately:

1. The Chicken Little 

Chicken Littles are those people who are always predicting all the bad things that will happen to you if you take on some new challenge. When you tell a Chicken Little about an experience you want to have, they’ll give you a list of reasons why the experience will suck. When you show them something you’ve created—like a business plan, a chapter of your new book, or the early stages of a new project—the first thing they’ll do is tell you everything they don’t like about it.

Chicken Littles never offer solutions and they never ask productive questions. They just predict failure—doom and gloom. Stop listening to these people. Their predictions are based on nothing but fear.

2. The Heavy Hand

Heavy Hands are people who use force and intimidation to weigh you down and control your behavior. These people are not interested in you, they’re interested in what you can do for them.

Heavy Hands are usually people who you used to respect for either their authority or superior knowledge. They are old mentors, bosses, or crushes. Over time, however, you grew up and moved on. Yet, still, you feel somewhat beholden to them. You feel a sense of loyalty and they know it. So, they use your loyalty against you, through guilt or fear, to keep you in line. Realize what these people are doing to you. Take off the shackles and ignore them because they can’t hurt you anymore.

3. The High Horse

In graduate school. I wanted nothing more than the approval of my advisor. But he would never give it to me. No matter how many hours I worked or how hard I tried he just kept hanging out a theoretical “good job” in front of me like a carrot. Even when he wasn’t in the lab I could feel him sitting on his high horse and looking down on me in disapproval. Of course, it was my fault for feeling this way and for seeking approval in the first place.

Eventually I realized that trying to please a High Horse like my advisor is a complete waste of time. If someone doesn’t approve of you—who cares? Who are they? God? No, forget them. Anything they know you can learn from someone else. Anything they can do you can learn to do better. Use High Horses as motivation but don’t lose a minute of sleep trying to please them.

4. The Drama Queen

A few years ago I dated someone who would suck me into meaningless arguments over the smallest things just because she was bored. She’d make some small personal attack on me and I would ignore it. Then she’d say something else. And something else. And something else until, finally, I engaged. She was always unhappy about something. She’d whine about not having enough clothes to wear, or enough television stations to watch, or enough attention, on and on. I’d try to resist engaging in her drama but always gave in.

The truth is, in some sick way, I liked giving in. The drama added a little excitement to my life. It gave me something to fight about. It gave me a problem to solve. Of course, the problem was meaningless and the time I spent on it was wasted. It doesn’t matter if a Drama Queen is a guy or girl—you should never engage with them. Don’t play into their game. Instead, drop them from your life—secretly, in the middle of the night, forever—so they can’t create any more drama in your life. 

5. The Drain 

Drains are those people who make you feel like you just ran a marathon as soon as they open their mouths. Everything these people do—the sound of their voice, what they say, their body language—is deenergizing. You might be having the best day of your life but as soon as you come in contact with a Drain you’ll feel like you want to jump out of a window.

Most people keep Drains in their lives because they feel sorry for them. They feel like they can energize and help the Drain. But, the truth is, Drains don’t want to be energized. They don’t want your help. They like being Drains. They like the attention they get from it. Drains feel powerful when they take away your energy and motivation. You can’t save a Drain. The closer you get to them, the more you get sucked in. The only way to escape is to keep your distance in the first place. 

6. The Elmer 

Elmers are people who make you feel trapped. They make you feel suffocated. These people are like a thick, sticky glue you can’t escape from. They’re needy, relentless, and annoying. Picture the colleague at the office who corners you every Monday and makes you have a long, drawn-out conversation about nothing in particular. You try to excuse yourself but he makes you feel guilty. You want to tell him to get lost but you’re too polite.

Imagine the guy or girl who tells you they can’t live without you. They say they need you and would do anything for you. They appeal to history, to bloodlines, to morality, and to everything in between to keep you where you are. Elmers are martyrs and narcissists. They’ll tell you they want what’s best for you but really they just want to control you. Get away from these people as soon as possible. Leave everything behind if you have to. Fight and claw—like a fly who rips off his leg to escape from a strip of fly tape—to get free.

7. The Creep

In graduate school there was this one professor who was in his 50′s and would go out drinking with new graduate students and have parties at his house with undergrads. I’m not sure what else happened. He would encourage other professors to come to his parties too, telling them to loosen up and have fun. It was awkward and sad.

Creeps are people who have trouble moving on with their lives. They’re the cool kids from high school who never left their home town and now hang out at the local tavern every night wearing their letterman jackets. Don’t let these people confuse you. They’re not cool for staying in one place or moving backwards in their lives—they’re creepy. If you hang out with them, you’ll be creepy too.

8. The Princess 

Princesses are those people who act offended at every little thing that happens to them. These people are both condescending and dramatic. If a High Horse and a Drama Queen had a baby—that baby would be a Princess. Princesses are skilled at acting like they’re better than everyone and, simultaneously, like everyone is out to get them. They’re perpetual victims of people who, in their heads, are far beneath them.

When someone accidentally bumps into a Princess in the street—he or she is appalled. When Princesses make mistakes, they rant and rave about how unfair the situation was and about how their mistakes were everyone else’s fault. They are constantly surprised, shocked, and ashamed at other people’s behavior. The truth is these people are just bored out of their minds. Their lives are boring, their thoughts are boring, and their existence is boring. Unless you want to live a boring and petty life, stay away from these people. 

9. The Swindler

Swindlers are people who want you to sacrifice what you have to the some imaginary and ill-defined greater good. These people are constantly reminding you to think of other people. They’ll come up with ideas and projects that they say will help humanity, or the world, or people in general—all you have to do is give them your time, money, or resources to make it happen. They don’t teach anything productive. They don’t trade anything of value. All you get in return is a pat on the head and reassurance that they’ll take care of everything.

When you ask questions, the Swindler smiles and tells you to have faith, trust the process, or believe in the Universe. These people use guilt and obligation to get what they want, and smoke and mirrors to hide what they’re getting from you. They’ll call you selfish and immoral for making yourself happy, and noble and enlightened for sacrificing your happiness to others. Swindlers are jokers. They’re snake oil salesmen. Open your eyes to the kickbacks they’re getting in the professional or personal lives and drop them from your network as soon as possible.

10. The Manipulator

I had a friend in college who could get me to do anything. He was fast-talking, full of ideas, and knew how to make me feel important. He held me back from making mistakes and pushed me forward to take calculated risks. Eventually I realized that he only made me feel important when he wanted something from me. Likewise, he only held me back from things that would improve my life and only pushed me to take risks that would ruin my life. It wasn’t until I got rid of this person and people like him that my life really started to open up.

Manipulators are more destructive than any other person on this list. They’ll keep you from reaching your full potential while leading you to believe that you’re doing everything right. Getting these people out of your life is not easy. This is because Manipulators have many positive characteristics. They’re charismatic, strategic, idea-driven, and have great communication skills. Do not let these qualities distract you from the fact that a Manipulator’s main goal is to hold you back. Focus on what Manipulators say, not what they do. Once you identify them, get rid of them. No explanation needed. Don’t give them a chance to twist your intentions and suck you back in.

7 People You Should Learn To Tolerate

The second step to living a more successful and fulfilling life is to identify positive people who will challenge you to live better and to invite them into your life openly. This is harder than it sounds. Very often, the best people for you are those who frustrate you the most. The only way to create productive relationships with these people is to change yourself—change the way you see these difficult people. Learn to enjoy the way they challenge you. Only then will you start to become the type of person you need to be in order to find and fulfill your purpose.

1. The Stoic

One of my wrestling friends in college was a real downer. He never seemed to be excited or happy about anything. He never seemed to show any enthusiasm whatsoever. But, he also never got worried or stressed out. I’d try to rile him up sometimes—to get him to express some emotion—but he was always cool, calm, and collected. I found this really annoying. Yet, to him, it was advantageous. When he wrestled, he won. No matter how tough his opponent was or how close the score of the match became, he was never rattled. My friend was a Stoic.

Stoics rule over their emotions flawlessly. These people are so in control of their emotions that they can come off as rude, robotic, and holier than thou. They might even come off as a High Horse. But, the truth is they’re just relaxed and focused. Stoics aren’t bothered by external events. They’re only focused on what they can control—their attention, attitude, and the next action they’re going to take. Don’t be put off by these people. Invite them into your life because they’ll teach you to be less reactive and more proactive.

2. The Mastermind

Masterminds are those people who seem to know everyone. They’re really good at bringing people together and directing their energy towards a common purpose. Masterminds are always in the middle of fulfilling a long-term vision and they usually want you to be a part of this vision.

At first glance, it might seem like a Mastermind is trying to use you. It might seem like a Mastermind is in fact a Manipulator. The way to tell the difference is to look at what the Mastermind or Manipulator is trying to accomplish. If it’s entirely self-serving, they’re a Manipulator. If it’s self-serving but also serves others, they’re a Mastermind. Also, pay attention to the actions this person is taking (or not taking). Manipulators rarely take productive action—they’re not workers, they’re talkers. Masterminds work—they build, create, rally, and bring together.

3. The Inquisitor

Inquisitors are people who question everything. You’ll have a great idea, make plans, gear up to take a big risk and they’ll have concerns, make reservations, and raise objections. It’s easy to hate these people. Inquisitors can be insanely frustrating. But, they’re entirely necessary.  No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll need trustworthy Inquisitors in your life if you want to get anywhere.

Too many people get a great idea and immediately close themselves off to any constructive criticism. If someone has advice that might help them—they don’t want to hear it. They’d rather bury their head in the sand and hope for the best. Don’t be one of these people. Instead, see the value of the Inquisitors in your life. Unlike Chicken Littles, these people aren’t irrationally afraid of everything that could happen to you, they’re rationally aware of everything that you could do to be even more successful.

4. The Class Act 

It’s easy to confuse a Class Act for a Princess. Both carry themselves well and have very high standards. The difference is the Princess acts better than everyone. The Class Act, on the other hand, treats everyone equally. Princesses inflate their self-esteem by pushing other people down. Class Acts use their high self-esteem to raise other people up.

Don’t resent someone just because they’re classy, proper, or polite. If you feel sloppy when you’re around them—it’s your fault, not theirs. Instead of making excuses, get your act together. Take a lesson from Class Acts and learn how to present yourself and your ideas respectfully.

5. The Misfit

There was a kid in my physics class in college who was a total tool. At least that’s what I thought at the time. He kept to himself, was quiet, and always seemed to do and say the wrong thing at the wrong time. But, he got really good grades and was always coming up with new ideas in class—ideas that our physics professor loved. I found out later this kid got into designing software programs, started his own business, and is now living the dream making about a million a year and traveling the world. Oops. I guess I should have made friends with him.

Misfits are people who don’t fit in. They’re awkward and annoying and often make other people uncomfortable. Yet, these are the same people who often go on to do incredible things with their lives. Unlike the average person, the misfit doesn’t waste his or her time trying to fit in. Instead, they do what they love and eventually stand out for it.

6. The Gladiator 

Gladiators are loud and competitive people who love challenges and who have a really hard time toning themselves down. As a result, most people tend to avoid Gladiators. This is because most people are afraid of conflict—they don’t like the tension. Instead, they like to keep things the way they are. Gladiators, on the other hand, like to break old things apart and create new things. They also like to compete with other people because they know that competition brings out the best in everyone.

Don’t confuse Gladiators with Heavy Hands. Heavy Hands are oppressive and like to control people. Gladiators are expressive and like to drive people forward. Instead of shying away from Gladiators, invite them into your life. They’ll keep you on your toes, push you forward, and help you reach your full potential.

7. The Golden Child

There’s always that one person in your life who seems to have it made. Maybe it’s the guy or girl at work who the boss loves and who all of your colleagues flock to for advice. Meanwhile, your boss doesn’t even know your name and no matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to get your colleagues to like you. Or maybe its the friend (or friend of a friend) who skates through life and lights up the room. People like this seem to attract people from all sides and fall backwards into money over and over again. This is what the life of a Golden Child looks like. But, looks can be deceiving.

The truth is the Golden Child in your life probably worked really hard behind the scenes to get where they are today. The likely took strategic action over the course of many years to cut negative people out of their lives. At some point in their lives, they made a decision to stop focusing on what they don’t have and started using what they do have to become more successful.

Don’t make the mistake of looking at a Golden Child in contempt. Instead, learn from them. Become them. Turn yourself into a Golden Child by deleting the wrong people from your life, surrounding yourself with the right people, and taking action to create a secure future. Remember, you life is an exclusive event. Start actively deciding who is on your invite list. Take action today to cross the wrong people off and add the right ones into it.

Which of the above points do you agree with the most? Which do you agree with the least? 

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