Don’t Let Them Intimidate You

“Shostakovich maintained his presence of mind in several ways. First, instead of letting Stalin intimidate him, he forced himself to see the man as he was: short, fat, ugly, and unimaginative.”

Robert Greene – “The 33 Strategies of War”

As you go through your day, you will inevitably encounter people who act in a way that makes you assume that they know more about the world than you do. And regarding certain domains, this may indeed turn out to be true.

The bus driver, for instance, likely knows far more than you do about driving buses. The office worker knows how to survive working in an office. And the professional footballer… when it comes to kicking a football around for 90 minutes a week and being a professional model the rest of the time, I’m afraid he’s got you beat.

But what does any of that have to do with you?

When it comes to you living your life, it is literally impossible for anyone to what is better for you than you yourself. Yes, they might on occasion be able to offer domain-specific advice, but other than that, take anything they say – their advice, their judgments, their criticisms – with an enormous pinch of salt.

And that, of course, includes everything I say.

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