Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

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.


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

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 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.”

Winston Churchill

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 –


Warm regards

Don Charisma

Resources & Sources

Grinding In Mill – MorgueFile

Notes for commenters:

Don Charisma Warning Improvised Writing

Comments are invited. BUT you are reminded that this is a public blog and you are also reminded to think before you press the “post comment” button. 

Good manners are a mark of a charismatic person – so please keep comments civil, non-argumentative, constructive and related, or they will be moderated. If you feel you can’t comply, press the “unfollow” button and/or refrain from commenting.

I read ALL comments but can’t always reply. I will comment if I think there’s something that I can add to what you’ve said. I do delete without notice comments that don’t follow rules above. For persistent offenders I will ignore you permanently and/or report you.

Most decent people already know how to behave respectfully. Thank you for your co-operation on the above.

Warm regards, Don Charisma

103 thoughts on “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind You Down

  1. I read once that young people have enthusiasm and energy, but no experience and by the time you get experience, you have no enthusiasm/energy left – –

    I started working at age 13 – for most of my career, I’ve been the youngest one in the office – – Though there were the cynics and those committed to spreading as much misery as they could, often, most of my unhappy co-workers were those who were born to a generation that said, “Work at one place for 50 years, get your gold watch” – – they no longer loved what they did, but didn’t feel confident in their skills/learning ability to jump ship and try something new OR they did the “I’m vested in my retirement” spiel – When I said “LIfe’s too short too spend this many hours a week at a place you hate” they just smiled and said I’d understand when I got older – –

    Well, I’m now older (40+) and I still refuse to stay at a place/position that no longer interests me – I’m no longer the youngest in the office – but I’m still the youngest at heart, because when the 20 and 30 somethings start growling and saying they can’t leave because they have student loans, I tell em:

    Life’s too short to spend this many hours at a place you hate….

    Wonderful article and hope this young man finds his way to navigate through the swampy side of humanity – –

  2. Good article. I’m going to post a condensed version of one of your lines on Facebook tomorrow: “The cynic 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.” Don Charisma

  3. Yes, this is the way I live. Sometimes I’ve been call Pollyanna, or even principal’s pet, but living a life of positives sure beats the heck out of killing myself with the cancer of negativity!! Thanks for sharing these words in the sea of yuck we all tread through daily!
    And I love your photos! Thanks for the eye candy.

  4. Oh, no! My comment got lost in hyperspace!
    Well, I’ll take that as an incentive to be concise this time;-) Just wanted to thank you for this very good advice and the effort you put into sharing it with the community.
    I hope to become that kind of example for other people, and more and more so as I get older and hold more responsibility.
    Kind regards,

  5. Hi,
    this “Don’t let the Bastards…” is the first post I read on your site. And I just wanted to say thank you for the message and for the effort you put into sharing it. I liked your balanced view on the world in particular, like admitting that there are cynics and even downright bad people out there – and that we should still seize the chance to be different in our lives, with the people around us.
    Not very long ago, I got into a cyber-discussion about cynicism, and I got nearly drowned by the bad temper of a majority who seemed to just find it all right and a very smart stand to take. Don’t know why I didn’t go with the crowd, but somehow I couldn’t.
    Hope to be the example everybody is looking to from time to time, and more often as I get older.
    Thanks again!

    1. Hey Christine, don’t worry, your comment didn’t get lost … be careful in these discussions, can be dangerous territory, but I suspect you’ve figured that out already … just do your best for loved ones and friends, and receptive acquaintances, doing a little bit if more than anyone could ask 😀

      Warm regards


  6. It’s a daily struggle that I many times have fought and lost specifically at work. Some people will deliberately go out of their way to make your life a living hell. Luckily I’ve surrounded myself with positive friends and family who always compliment me and wish me succeed. I steer away from the rest whether on Facebook, emails or in person. It has worked wonder for me but I still have that battle to win with my coworkers. They certainly don’t make it easy but I will get to a point where noone should bother me or affect the way I feel. Thanks for being so positive and spread in the wealth. Very much needed, Señor Carismático!

    1. Thanks for sharing, and also for being charismatic yourself … just keep at it the rewards as you know are there for the taking, happiness 😀

      Warm regards


  7. Thanks for the follow, Don. I really appreciate this blog. It is a tough thing “to navigate the sea of negativity, whilst maintaining happiness in yourself.” I had to learn it within the culture of police work, a very strong “negative attitude” culture. Police don (pun not intended) that attitude to “protect” themselves from the harshness they encounter every day, but doing so has a cost attached to it and many lose their way. Perhaps this can be said of others.

    1. You’re welcome, and thanks for sharing. Police do have a tough job. Cynics who continue to be positive and see good, well that’s OK. I have however experienced Police corruption first hand in multiple countries, which is taking cynicism a step too far. I know their are good Police, just wanted to illustrate that cynicism can just be a cover for bad-narcissism, which I don’t approve of.

  8. What does not kill you makes you stronger :D. It’s a large road you have to walk, but at the end you thanks for this kind of people who teach you to be better than them!

  9. I work with someone who is so negative .. it gets to me.
    Your writing just reminded me of staying above the negative condition- thanks

  10. I read this at 2am, when I was high… And, again now with a slight hangover. I used to be cynical. Quite cynical. Nowadays, though I am searching for the path to my final destination, I have more “sunshine”. I think it is because I know my destination and the hoops I have to go through to get there. Odd, right?

    1. Nothing odd there Rajiv, having a purpose, being inspired about it, knowing how you’re going to get there and what the obstacles are, are freeing … you no longer are trying to figure out what you should do, you’re doing it … you’re a man with a plan 😀 … sounds entirely right, not odd, to me …

      1. Knowing the destination is more important than knowing the path. Set your compass, and keep moving towards where you’re going, you’ll get there 😀

  11. This was fantastic! Friend of mine once told me “Don’t let the Mrs. Wormwoods of the world get you down.” He was Referring to Calvin and Hobbes of course. If you can stay strong in the face of strong cynicism and negativity it becomes pure fodder for comedy.

    Keep it up! The Don has spoken! 🙂

  12. Such a lovely world you have created, here, Don. 🙂 It is a fine example of just the kind of light filled affirming space, I’ve been imagining and striving for in my own world. A beautiful feat of pure ‘Emagin-eering’. You must love Thailand. A friend’s family lives in Bangkok. I should check in to see how they are doing in all the excitement. Always wanted to go there. It is a gift to be exposed to one who so beautifully expands our understanding of the limits the possible, expanding our sensibilities, pushing us out of our comfort zone, especially at a moment we naively deigned to believe, that by being honest, realistic or cynical, where we had numbed, we were actually making progress on the rocky road of self-awareness and personal development. Never good to set up camp on deceptively solid ground of course. Sometimes, these unexpected encounters shock us numb, forcing us to frantically regroup and recover. The inertia of negativity, and cynicism, is very powerful, especially for very innately sensitive souls, steeped in brutal amounts of it in their formative and adult experiences. Despite such deeply ingrained tendencies, one may occasion to meet an individual, who also makes a constant practice, even at their worst, of reflecting, learning, thinking, with an open heart, despite their ridiculously constant falters and failures. This gifts them with an ability to openly face their inner lack, weaknesses, and mental blocks. Slower, and more painfully inept than some, they will nevertheless, figure out some way to lift the heavy trees out of the way, and continue on their way, Brutally hard work at times. Easy to get lost, or worse, stuck in deep mud and mire. It takes time. Sometimes insight is instantaneous, and sometimes it is a strange and jagged line. Sometimes it takes more time then those on dry ground; smarter, better equipped, and further along on their path to self-actualization, may have to give it. Nevertheless, there are those who are resilient, committed and enlightened enough, despite their cynicism and negativity, to continue the harsh trek through the a land of thorns and briars, to create a home in a more inspiring landscape.

  13. It’s funny…I totally agree with “Don’t let the bastards grind you down” but I have to ask…who are the bastards? Struggling with depression and other issues for much of my life, I took a tongue in cheek pride in “negativity” because in truth it was most often narcississtic or superficial type who’d spout the “think positive” type of stuff at me…but in their case it more meant “don’t rock the boat.” The truth is, I think all people are both positive and negative, and we need both. That’s why I got a yin and yang tattoo. No one is 100% happy or sad all the time, and no one completely likes everything or hates everything. The funny thing is, I began to be happy more often when I decided that was the case, that it was ok that I was depressed sometimes instead of expecting I have to be someone else’s idea of “positive” all the time. Weird, huh? 🙂

    1. You’re smart Jenny, and taken the time to read in detail, thanks 😀 You raise multiple points, so I’ll try and answer all from my perspective :

      1. Dynamic emotional range is a good thing (emotional intelligence 101). I often disqualify what I write with saying “sometimes I let out my inner cynic” (for instance), to indicate that it’s not just one or the other – life has paradox, you know this already. Sometimes (often) one has to take a stand on one side or the other.
      2. I commended a reader couple of months ago who said she allowed herself time to be depressed. Again a good thing, if you’ve figured that out, then you’re way ahead. Taking time for all emotions that come up is necessary and important, good and bad. I tried to indicate this also in my prompts.
      3. Who are the bastards ? Well, my understanding is that the saying “DLTBGYD” was originally from the military, it would have referred to “the enemy”. I don’t see it’s any different in civilian life, it’s the people that would mean to cause us, or our loved ones harm. Harm is very broad covers violence, abuse, cruelty, evil, bad-narcissism etc.
      4. I get the superficial types who use such sayings for control, manipulation etc. Not my intention, I personally believe in positivity as a way of life. If I say “think positive” then it’d mean “what are the positives here ?”, “how can we change our perception to see this in a more empowering and positive way ?” for instance … NOT “don’t rock the boat” or “do what you’re told”
      5. I always now put my disclaimer on my writing, so it’s just creative writing at the end of the day Jenny. I’m not “god”, I don’t know all the answers, I just try and share things that I feel would be useful and helpful to others. No one’s “perfect” 😀

      If anything was most important to me here in what I wanted to say – it’s that positivity and happiness aren’t just for you, they benefit everyone you come into contact with. So there’s a self part, one feels happy, and then there’s a selfless part, other may be empowered to feel happy too. For my friend that asked me the question, he needs to learn to maintain happiness in himself, in spite of what’s going on around him. He’s the only factor in the equation he has any real influence over.

      I think that answered everything you asked 😀

      Do keep your feedback coming Jenny, it’s useful and constructive …



      1. Hi Don,
        Your approach towards positivity does seem to be a constructive and genuinely positive approach, compared to the dime-store psychology or even victim-blaming ways such jargon can be used in the U.S. For myself I’ve learned to think in terms of “is there a way to change or lessen a bad situation?” “Is there an alternative if this isn’t working?” or even “This situation is beyond my ability to fix. How can I best cope to get through it?” (Some people here view acknowledging this as “negative” or “self-doubting” though sometimes it’s just reality. Maybe someone needs to tell them THEY’RE not god either!! LOL)

        Realistically no one person has the ability to fix all the problems in the world, but I think we can all do something, no matter how small. To me it’s things like that that are taking positive action.

      2. Hey Jenny, those are very good questions, we’re on the same page with that. Looking for alternatives, and giving up on a bad lot, are practical and realistic sometimes. It’s all very well saying “persistence”, but it has to be tempered with intelligence to walk away or damage limitation when it doesn’t work. There is a place for negativity, including self-doubt. Self-doubt maybe entirely rational, things may have changed, one may have detected the change. However it’s not so great when someone doubts themselves all the time, or has 24/7 negative thoughts.

        I keep meaning to write the authenticity paradox, which is an obstacle in all of this. Within that I realise that no one can fix all the problems, and make it “perfect”. Just doing a little is something, and it’s better than nothing … also sometimes doing something small can be something very big to someone 😀

  14. I made a post a while back questioning whether or not there was such a thing as healthy cynicism. I think this answered that question for me. Great advice, Thank you.

    1. LOL, I think there is such a thing as healthy cynicism … it’s just that often people seem to be covering up something far worse when calling themselves cynics … I’ve accepted that mostly people are in it for themselves, which makes me a cynic. However I still look for the good, the positive and do what little I can to help others 😀

  15. Well said Don. It is a fact in the electronics world that the more people that tune into a radio station with a weak signal, the easier and clearer that that radio station and its broadcast becomes for everyone “tuned in” to hear. Likewise, the more of us that rise above the cynical ones amongst us, the easier it becomes for all of us to recognise that message and way of living and find that happiness in our own lives (this is sometimes called the hundredth monkey principle).

    1. Totally, I don’t reckon we were born to be unhappy, just some shit we learnt along the way which didn’t help us … being positive and staying positive, and fostering positive friends, are the only solutions I’ve found 😀

  16. Illegitimi non carborundum…Even the Romans knew this to be good advice. Nice article. I appreciate how you say that cynics wear their poor view of life proudly like a badge. Good stuff.

    1. Thanks hun, and yes it isn’t and shouldn’t be a badge of honour to be a negative person … still that’s life, I don’t worry about it too much, important thing is be positive for myself and my loved ones 😀

    1. Thanks Mark … if I was a tattoo’ee sort of guy then that’d be a tattoo, but I’m not, so it’ll have to be a bracelet or one of my graphic designs … hope all is well Mark 😀

  17. – no need to post this comment if you do not want to cos of the link thing ….but … LOOK what I wrote this morning. – funny things happen!!
    Managed to turn it around in the end though 😀 Just reading your post made me laugh – especially where you say about acknowledging your inner cynic and having a sense of humour about it. I find it the best way to deal with my negative self dear.

    1. LOL, share away Belinda, I like your post it’s honest 😀 … and seems you’ve written the post in the comments, kind of back-to-front blogging !

      1. Ok – I just said somewhere else that everything is now hilariously funny to me…
        Still spazzing suppressed laughter.
        Oh glorious waves 😀

      2. Indeed…. eyes getting droopy now. *.*
        One more wonder out the back door (rain stopped up a bit) then off to rest with the pressure cooker released a bit 😉
        Cheers mate.

      3. …now I AM hungry… lol!
        Enjoy Don – and yes – DO treat yourself. I am sure you darn well deserve too! (funny how the humble bean can be a treat…)
        Eat well – rest easy – keep …what? Charismatic 😀
        I AM OFF!

  18. You mean the sun doesn’t shine from there??? I’m so upset now. 😉
    Seriously, good post my friend. Just wanted to let you know that I put up a post this morning with one of my graphic creations using photos and textures made from photos. 🙂
    Hope you have a great day. I’m heading out the door in a few short minutes for a full on day. Camera primed and ready!! 🙂

    1. LOL, sadly no Suz, it doesn’t 😀

      And thanks … I’ll check out your graphics, appreciate the heads up 😀

      Have a great day lovely lady …



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