Chris Gardner (Will Smith; The Pursuit of Happyness)
“A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.”
“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
What makes a hater tick?
Life is a two-sided coin. Momentum, achievement and fulfillment are on one side of this coin. Inertia, failure, and emptiness are on the other. Self-awareness requires a deep understanding of both sides. This means, at times, you will have to take off your rose-colored glasses and stare into the abyss. Understand: there are forces working against you. On your way to achieving your goal, you will face opposition. This opposition, or inertia, will often come in the form of people trying to hold you back. Many of these people will try to keep you from fulfilling your purpose in life without rational cause. These people are haters.
This article is the first in a series of 4 satirical posts that will help you get inside the mind of a hater. In the spirit of other reverse intent works like The Screwtape Letters and How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, these posts will teach you how to deal with haters by giving you insight into how haters think. They will also teach you how to differentiate Haterade from oversensitivity on your part. The only thing worse than a hater is a crybaby who calls everyone a hater. Life is full of hard knocks and nobody owes you anything. Your dreams are in your hands. And learning to accept constructive criticism is crucial to your personal development. Improvement requires critique. Seeing the world from a hater’s point of view will sharpen your perspective, relax your ego, and prevent you from developing an entitlement mentality. Most importantly, it will keep you from becoming a hater yourself.
How To Be A Hater
Steal people’s attention. Picture yourself as a Hoover vacuum. Your goal in life is to suck as much attention away from other people as possible. The key is to keep this attention focused on your victories and other people’s failures. Occasionally in life, certain individuals will try to share their gifts and successes with the world. What’s really happening is this person is making an admission, or confession to the world. She is opening up, exposing herself, stepping away from the herd, and being vulnerable. It is your job to counteract this behavior by directing other people’s attention away from these admissions. Most often, the best way to do this is to say something mildly encouraging and then quickly change the subject to something more interesting, like one of your own past successes.
Suck attention quickly and carefully. Don’t give anyone else a chance to fully acknowledge vulnerable admissions. It’s best to jump in right away with a casual response that appears to be a compliment. Understand: you want to walk the line between apathetic recognition and ambiguous commendation. This air of tribute will make other people feel like they don’t need to further encourage the admitting individual. At the same time, the obscurity of your response will make the confessing person feel unsupported without engaging or challenging her directly. In this way, you can keep people unemotional and disinterested. Excitement is the enemy. You must diffuse any elevation in energy as quickly as possible. The best way to do this is to interrupt everyone’s awareness. Change the subject in any way that you can. Bring up something in the news, talk about the weather, tell a quick joke, ask an irrelevant question, or highlight something from your past that trumps her confession. Steal her thunder, but do it casually.
No one else exists. Other people’s goals, dreams, and deepest desires simply do not matter. In fact, they are a threat. And the best way to deal with any threat is to squash it. The problem is that dreams can be extremely powerful. One person’s vision can change the entire course of humanity. This is a bad thing. Change equals disaster. Change requires action, adaptation, vulnerability, and worst of all, hard work. You must do whatever you can to prevent change. Change prevention requires a complete understanding of what empowers other people’s deepest desires.
People identify with their dreams. They are connected to them through positive experiences and innate longings that can go all the way back to childhood. It is your job to break this connection. The more a person identifies with his dream, the stronger his dream becomes. You can keep him from identifying with his goal by subtly reinforcing the improbability of him achieving it. Play on people’s insecurities. Remind them of their past failures and all the pain they experienced from these failures. Keep uncertainty in the forefront by delicately highlighting all the risks and everything that could go wrong. Fear is your best friend. Use fear to transfer a person’s attention from his dreams to the things he could lose by trying to fulfill his purpose in life. Work to build a strong connection between his dream and his fear of loss. Eventually, this negative connection will replace the positive connection that used to exist.
Inspire feelings of hopelessness. Dreams are driven by optimism, vision, courage, and a sense of possibility. These internal influences have the power to make a person withstand, or even enjoy extreme hardship during the pursuit of her goals. You must stomp on these internal influences in their infancy. As soon as you sense a person shaking up her life, take it upon yourself to steady her hand and tighten the soda cap. When someone starts to rock the boat, drop an anchor and stabilize the bow. You can do this by raising objections and announcing obstacles. Develop a keen eye for enthusiasm and increasing confidence levels. This will allow you to dishearten and depress other people’s initiative, preventing them from gaining any momentum towards their goals. When someone seems too happy, too self-assured, or too hopeful, take it upon yourself to bring her down a notch. Show her the futility of her dreams. After all, no one can do anything new. It’s all been done before. And, even if she does achieve her goal, it probably won’t fulfill her.
There is no purpose of living. There’s no point in trying to increase happiness, generate influence, or improve self-confidence. Directionless recreation and temporary distraction are the only two things life has to offer. If all else fails, make other people feel guilty for being positive, confident, and productive. Why should they feel so happy? There are millions of unhappy people in the world. It’s not fair for anyone to be so happy. What gives someone the right to be confident? Arrogance is the downfall of humanity. Confidence is a sign of hypocrisy. No one is perfect so no one should act confident. The only time people should increase their confidence levels is when they are being totally abused by someone else, and even then there’s a limit. It’s your job to dial people down. What is the value of productivity? Hard work is unethical. It’s not fair for one person to get ahead of everyone else. They should be more considerate. After all, there are people who don’t have computers, cars, IKEA, or even running water.
Suppress your energy levels to bring down other people’s emotions. The only time you should get excited is when you are talking about your own desires and accomplishments. In all other matters, suffocate. Act like a giant pillow on the face of other people’s aspirations. The key is to choke their dreams without inspiring resentment. Resentment can quickly turn into competitive drive and the last thing you want to do is motivate them to take action. Never get emotional when discussing other people’s dreams. Both your positive and negative emotions will encourage them to take action. It is better to stay apathetic. Apathy is your best weapon against ambition. In my next post, I will show you how to hold people back by talking trash and isolating them.