I meet people all the time that are disappointed.
They’re disappointed when people aren’t honest, disappointed when people don’t keep their word, disappointed when people don’t respect each other, disappointed when it’s hard to find great romantic partners, disappointed when they receive bad customer service, blah blah blah…
And hey — if that’s you — maybe you’re just an asshole holding people to standards that you aren’t meeting yourself. But maybe it’s something else.
Maybe you have a case of H.O.P.E. or Horribly Overestimating People Everywhere.
People suffering from HOPE are prone to depression, irritability when in large groups, loneliness, and thoughts of going postal in their workspace.
If you’re one of these people, allow me speak directly to you.
To People Suffering from H.O.P.E.
I imagine you’re frustrated. I get it. I look around too and wonder things like “how is everyone so goddamn stupid”?
I see people pretend everything is perfect when their life is a train-wreck.
I see people throw temper tantrums in their car when someone cuts them off.
I see people invest their emotional well-being in social media and wonder why they can’t stop comparing themselves to others.
I see couples torture each other by staying together when they should have broken up years ago.
I see people buy whatever big companies say will make them happy.
I see all this (and more), and I’m guessing you do too — so I feel your pain. It’s hard to not think you’re totally insane, but as Krishnamurti said, “it’s no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society”.
Here’s what I suggest for your own sake.
Give up hope.
You are giving people way too much credit, and I recommend you stop. I totally agree that we’re fucked up, but unlike you — it doesn’t bother me. In fact, I’m mostly amused.
But Dave, doesn’t it make you angry when people don’t live up to your expectations?
It would, except my expectations are not like yours. They are lower — a lot lower. This is where George Carlin comes in. George is one of my favorite philosophers, and while I can’t speak for him, I can say that he taught me to see the world in a certain way that is very freeing.
I’ll sum it up in a simple mantra I repeat to myself every time I watch CNN or glance at Donald Trump’s twitter feed. Are you ready?
People are fucking stupid.
Say it again (with me).
People. Are. Fucking. Stupid.
They are. In fact, according to my rough estimation, 98% of the people you will meet are lemmings, blindly following the programming they’ve been given by a sick society, and if you expect them to measure up to your standards, you will drive yourself insane.
Am I putting myself above other people? Am I being too judgmental? Probably, but stay with me here — this has a happy ending.
Oh, and why are people so stupid? They’re afraid of not fitting in, so their actions reflect that of someone who is afraid they won’t survive, rather than someone who is afraid they won’t be happy. The problem is they don’t realize that they’re not actually in danger and they’re going to die anyway, so it doesn’t fucking matter.
Anyway, the point here is by acknowledging that the vast majority of people are stupid, you free yourself of the expectation that random people you meet will be anything but that.
Now instead of banging your head against the wall every time people do stupid shit — this is what life could look like instead.
You open up your phone and go on Facebook to see most people are posting meaningless bullshit just to get attention. Instead of criticizing them or comparing your life to their highlight reel, you just close the app and think, wow, people are fucking stupid.
You go on tinder to realize that 98 out of every 100 people are personality-less clones of each other and would add nothing to your life. Instead of getting down on yourself that you’ll never find a good partner, you remember that this makes sense, based on the fact that — people are fucking stupid.
You get in your car, and on your way to the supermarket you see a large pimped-out truck in your rear view mirror. As it cuts you off and speeds past, you see a rubber ball sack hanging from the tailgate connection. While you used to shake your fist and hurl insults at this blatant display of compensation, you now peacefully continue with your day, because you remember — people are fucking stupid.
You arrive at your favorite supermarket to find a woman visibly distraught because they don’t have the brand of kombucha she likes. She’s on her way to yoga class and has so much make-up on she could be ready for senior prom. You laugh to yourself as you realize — people are fucking stupid.
Later that night you’re at a family reunion and quickly the conversation turns to politics. You listen as everyone gets worked up trying to defend their view points, which they got directly from their news station of choice. You speak up and say “can’t we all see that this conversation isn’t going anywhere?” But no one listens. You return to your food and laugh to yourself as you remember — people are fucking stupid.
That’s the thing about remembering people are fucking stupid. It applies everywhere, including your family.
Your Parents Are Stupid
There’s a point in everyone’s formative years where they realize their parents aren’t model human beings and their relationship is not a gold standard. Is that true for every parent? No, but it’s true for 98% of them.
Chances are yours are in that category, so it’s time to stop expecting them to be angels. I promise, this is actually a great move for your mental health and theirs. They did their best with you and passed on a lot of great qualities but you need to also think for yourself, and sometimes that means rejecting them as role models.
Just remember — most people are stupid — so if you hold them to the same standards you hold yourself, don’t take it personally when your family doesn’t measure up.
It’s just math.
Weeding Out Idiots
Remember how I said there was a happy ending? Well here it is.
The happy ending is that when you realize most people are stupid you actually put in the effort needed to find the people who aren’t stupid.
For example, if you want to find a great romantic partner to spend the rest of your life with, you won’t use tinder, because while you may find someone on there, the amount of effort it will take to find that special 2% of people who aren’t morons is not worth it! Or if you do use tinder your profile will be extremely specific, because you’re trying to ensure that 98% of people want nothing to do with you.
That’s why apps like tinder and bumble are mostly used for hook-ups, because they aren’t actually a good way to find relationships.
A few months ago I went on Bumble as a social experiment to see what everyone was talking about and this is what my profile looked like.
Guess how many people matched with me and initiated conversation? Not a whole lot. Did a part of me feel bad? Does a part of me want to be liked and approved of by everyone? Of course, but I’m not an idiot, so I intentionally wrote things in my profile that would disqualify the wrong people.
Oh my gosh! I don’t give a fuck about sports or drinking?!?!? How am I going to possibly get along with 90% of the people on bumble who put that in their profile?
That’s exactly the point, because the people that actually messaged me had a way better chance of being a part of the tiny percentage of people who I would actually get along with. Imagine how many hours of my life I didn’t spend with people that aren’t my type.
Maybe We’re All Stupid
As I wrote this article, I couldn’t help but notice all the ways I was being judgmental and making myself seem better than everyone, and yet — that’s how I feel sometimes.
What’s also true is that while people are fucking stupid, sometimes that person is also me. I imagine some of you are even reading this article and thinking “wow, Dave is pretty fucking stupid” and I don’t blame you.
Maybe the whole point here is for us to all stop taking ourselves and each other so seriously. We’re all human, and let’s face it — we’re collectively fucked up. Hell, we elected Donald Fucking Trump to be our president, how much more evidence do you need that we really don’t know what the fuck we’re doing?
George Carlin had very little hope in the future of humanity, and I don’t think it was a coincidence that he was also a comedian. When we abandon hope, it opens up the space for joy and laughter, which is so much more liberating than berating your co-worker for hitting “reply all” after he promised everyone in the company he would stop.
I’ve got news for you, he’s not going to stop.
The irony is, once we stop getting so triggered every time people are dumb, we can actually come up with creative solutions to dealing with stupid people. When I was a Navy Officer, this “reply all” thing was actually quite rampant. Most people got upset, but I found it funny.
I found it so funny that I decided to make a cartoon about one of the guys on the ship that was doing it most often, and I sent it out to the other officers.
All of a sudden the amount of pointless “reply all” emails stopped. Here’s a copy of the cartoon I found in my old files.
What if this was how we dealt with disappointment and frustration?
How much faster would we solve problems if we didn’t have to work through all the bullshit about us expecting the world to be perfect? What if instead of getting upset we got creative? Or were able to make fun of the situation? Is it any surprise that most young people now get their news from comedians?
If we can’t laugh at ourselves than we’re missing the joke. A “sense of humor” isn’t just a nice trait to look for in romantic partners, it’s an essential ingredient to a happy life.
People are fucking stupid.
Get over it, and start laughing about it.
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