Most of you have heard people say; ‘I don’t suffer fools’. It’s another way of saying; ‘I don’t tolerate stupidity’ or people that are slow or don’t think the way you think they should.
I’ve been hearing it a lot lately and it made me think.
I get it. Working with, or hanging out with people that are ‘slow thinkers’ or make ridiculous comments or come to dumb conclusions can be super frustrating. I am the first to say how this can grate on you. Not denying this. But how I treat them is my responsibility.
You may be surprised to hear that the phrase to ‘suffer fools’ is very old. It was in fact first coined over 2000 years ago by St. Paul in a letter he wrote to a church in Corinth (yep the old Bible) but in a very different context. Paul said; “Suffer fools gladly”. He was using it in a very different context. He was saying to be open to people who were of a ‘lesser mind’ than yours. To treat them with respect and do the honourable thing.
Our modern version of this saying has turned it around and gives us permission to not put up with people who are not as smart or good as us. Some people wear it as a badge of honour. I don’t think there’s much honour it in at all.
Treating people poorly is not ok. To become frustrated or dismissive with people you believe to be stupid is unhelpful and unhealthy. I love and resonate with Simon Sinek’s perspective;
‘If you want to be a great leader, remember to treat all people with respect at all times. For one, because you never know when you’ll need their help. And two, because it’s a sign you respect people, which all great leaders do’.
There are some amazing people in this world that have influence in a healthy way by treating people with respect at all times. I love watching Obama in action, or his wife Michelle. You don’t hear Oprah pulling people down or even Richard Branson.
Yes people can slow success down, be frustrating to work with, and at worst… get their stupid on… but treating them with disrespect is not the solution. You are now the lesser version of yourself.
I believe that the way people treat you is a measure of their character. How you respond is a measure of yours.
If we always make the other person the problem then we never take responsibility for the role we play OR how we treat them. And that’s NOT ok. It’s blaming them for who they are and giving ourselves permission to get off scot free. “It’s not my fault they are so stupid”, is a cop out. You don’t need to own anything.
Compassion should win. Not your ego. And that’s how you become the person that people want to work with and be with.
If this resonates and you want to learn more about yourself and how to have the tough conversations come to my only public program this year in Melbourne on Thursday the 10th of May.
Click here for more information and to register. Limited places, book now!