I have a dear old friend from back home in UK. He used to say this to me a lot – “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”. I don’t know how well this translates into American-English, but basically it means, stay positive and don’t let the negative and cynical people drag you down to their level. Or more simply might be – “rise above it”.
I write this as a young man has contacted me recently for some life/career advice. He has just finished learning his trade, he enjoys the job, but he says the people he works with are *ALL* miserable and depressed. He asks for my advice, as an elder more experienced man, a mentor.
A Very Interesting Question
It’s a very interesting question to me, because I see these negative people in circles everywhere. They’ll call themselves realists or they’ll wear their badge of cynic like it’s something to be proud of. Well it’s not really, it usually in my experience means that they are deeply unhappy in themselves. For “cynic”, read apathy at best … infighter, manipulator or bully at worst. Beyond that is moving into the realms of psychopathy or sociopathy, which is beyond the scope of this writing.
Genuine realists are charismatic, happy people, who’ve accepted that the world doesn’t think the sun shines out of their behinds, and it’s no big deal. I’ve met many such people, perhaps I’m one of them. We know cruelty, evil and pettiness exist in the world, and we try not to let it bother us too much. We do our best to remain charismatic in the face of negativity. Life is worth living and there are good people in it who aren’t only self-interested.
The cynic on the other hand, has let go of looking for positives, given up on caring if they exist or not, and pitched his or her tent in the dark side. Negativity and depression prevail. Hatred, manipulation and self-interest prevail towards others are the norms in my experience with people who label themselves cynics. I don’t really like the “N” word (Narcissism) that much, other than to say cynicism perhaps signals bad-narcissism to me. I might go even as far as – people who call themselves cynics do so in order to try to cover up their bad-narcissism, but I’m no expert in this field so I leave it to you to judge.
THESE ARE THE PEOPLE MY FRIEND THE YOUNG MAN HAS A REALLY HARD TIME WORKING WITH. THE “WALKING DEAD” WHO TRY TO DESTROY ANYTHING GOOD, SPREADING THEIR OWN MISERY EVERYWHERE THEY GO – LITTLE WONDER THEY ARE DEPRESSED AND MISERABLE !
My Advice To A Young Man
So my advice to the young man ? “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down”, essentially.
Within that you need as a young man to learn what the cynics are up to, how their minds work and fit in. You’ll need to do this because you need to earn money for yourself to live, to start with, and for your family later if you decide to have one. You may not get to choose who you work with, so learning to navigate the sea of negativity, whilst maintaining happiness in yourself, is something you’ll have to learn. Could be that you’re lucky enough to have some good mentors or role models around you. Otherwise you’ll need the strength and courage to learn for yourself how to be.
Perhaps you’re the only one in your circles. In which case you may be someone whom other’s look to to remind them of the happiness and joy they once experienced in their own lives.
Within that I’m not talking about the whole world holding hands or world peace tomorrow. A degree of negativity is necessary, well essential actually, even if it is only to screen out undesirables. There’s plenty of criticism in this writing, I know this already, but it’s for a constructive purpose, for positivity, not negativity.
Do I delude myself by wishing that everyone is good hearted ? No, I don’t, I’ve accepted there are many bad people in the world, and do my best to be happy as I can, even with the terrible cruelty and negativity that exists almost everywhere.
No is a very useful word to learn in any language. Here in Thailand it’s “mai au karb” (for a man speaking), which means as I understand “no thank you”. I say it firmly with a smile, most people stop trying to sell me whatever, or pester me about whatever and smile back. They often say “capom” which I think means similar to “ok” or “no problem” or “it’s ok”. Charismatically saying “no thanks, that’s not right for me” – firmly but considerately saying NO.
My message – it’s on the front page on my blog – “being strong, wise and happy”. It’s the message that’s behind the message I gave to the young man.
I realise no one’s perfect – I let my inner cynic out from time-to-time, gives me the opportunity to laugh at myself, and remind myself that having a good sense of humour is important. Readers of my blog know I moan and complain from time to time, that’s normal – often I’ve found that others experience the same bugbears. Usually I (and my readers) learn something from it about charisma or positivity. Somehow I always manage to steer myself back to positivity, or my friends do it for me. So I never end up getting lost in the woods on the dark side – The cynic’s, the troll’s, hideaway “under the bridge”, the dark place where no light of human good exists.
The quality of our lives could be measured in the quality of our friends. It’s one thing that makes me so delighted to be part of the WordPress.com community – The number of charismatic people I meet here daily astounds me and delights me. The cynics and trolls just pale into utter insignificance, relics of something unimportant and impotent, with so many positive people around.
Final words – I don’t think calling oneself a cynic is ever clever or says anything good about a person. More it signals that the person wants me to join them in their pity-party or negativity-party. I’ll play their game for a while, but my interest generally tails off quite quickly, I generally quietly disappear off into the sunset (no pun intended). Simply – you guys are boredom personified, living by cliché may be safe, but where’s the life in that ? You’re dead weight to any kind of positivity, innovation or happiness. You’ve sold your happiness for an illusion of safety and control.
“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”
It’s a favourite quote of mine – reminds me that there is community, friends, joy and happiness, not just the endless lonely grind of the self-interested cynics.
Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down.
I’ll say that again in case you missed it –
DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN.
Resources & Sources
Grinding In Mill – MorgueFile
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Warm regards, Don Charisma