Dealing with Negative People: Advice from a Roman Emperor

, , 100 Comments


At some point in your
life, you’ve probably heard about the concept of Occam’s Razor, which states that when you have multiple competing hypotheses, you should take the one that
makes the fewest assumptions because generally speaking,
the simplest answer is the one that’s most
likely to be correct. But Occam’s Razor isn’t
the only mental razor you should keep up in your brain toolbox. There’s another one called Hanlon’s Razor. This one deals with the
intentions of other people. Hanlon’s Razor states
that you should never attribute to malice that which can be adequately
explained by stupidity. And while this is kind of
a tongue in cheek concept, I also think there is
a lot of truth to it, and I’ve tried really hard to integrate it into my own mindset on a day to day basis. And I think doing so makes
me an overall happier person by making sure my
attitude is set correctly. A few months ago I read a book called The Happiness Equation by
a guy named Neil Pasricha, and in this book, Neil argues
that happiness is 90% attitude and only 10% circumstance. And when I look back at my
own life, I agree with this. When I look back six or seven years, I was definitely less successful
as a freshman in college. I had less money, I had
a lot more uncertainty, but I wasn’t unhappy. And I don’t think I’m a whole lot happier on a day to day basis
now than I was back then because my attitude was
similar both now and then. And when I’m thinking about these concepts of happiness and attitude
and looking at them through the lens of dealing with other people, as Hanlon’s Razor leads me to do, I’m reminded of a quote
by the Roman emperor, Marcus Aurelius, which
I really wanna share with you guys today. Now in Roman history,
Aurelius is known as the last of the five good emperors,
and while he was definitely a great ruler, he was
also a great philosopher in the philosophy of Stoicism. In his writings, which have been collected in the book Meditations, are
where this quote comes from. So in Book Two of
Meditations, Aurelius writes: “When you wake up in the
morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today
will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because
they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized the
wrongdoer has a nature related to my own, not out
of the same blood or birth, but of the same mind, possessing
a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at
my relative or hate him. We were born to work together
like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of
teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone,
to turn your back on him, these are obstructions.” I think this is a really powerful quote, and I wanted to give you my little interpretation of it here. Basically that 2016 Thomas
Frank version 2,000 years later. So when somebody is being
jealous or being rude or coming at you in any
sort of negative way, you can realize that you
are of the same nature. You are both imperfect human beings going through imperfect circumstances
within this world. And when you realize that,
you can root yourself like a tree and bend, not
break because you realize that whatever they’re going through, that is most likely what’s
causing them to act this way. And once you do that, number one, it can set your attitude and make you a happier person overall because you’ve let the
negativity wash over you instead of fuel you and make you react in a negative way yourself. But number two, it can let
you get to the other part of human nature, which is to cooperate with your fellow human beings. So hopefully you found this quote helpful and insightful like I did. And if you wanna read the
entirety of Meditations, which actually isn’t all that long, you can find the whole
thing online for free because it is 2,000 years old and hence, in the public domain. So I’m gonna have a link down
in the description below. If you’re curious, you
can find that down there. Also in the description,
you’ll find another video I did on Marcus Aurelius,
which was on self discipline. So check it out if you’ve missed it. If you enjoyed this video,
and you wanna see more, you can click the subscribe
button right there to get new content on being
a more effective student every single week, and you
can also click right there to get a free copy of my book
on earning better grades. Alternatively, if you
wanna watch another video, you can click right there to find one that’ll probably interest you, and you’ll find more
additional resource links down in the description
below the like button, which you can hit if you
wanna support this channel. Thanks for watching. I appreciate you guys, and
I will see you next week.

 

100 Responses

  1. Miles

    September 27, 2016 1:33 am

    Can you do a video on how to make yourself be more hard working and try harder and give your 100% at everything. Because sometimes you find that the course or life is hard, so you presume that you aren't going to get A+ and so you decrease your goal and just be happy with B's, even though you should really be getting higher marks? Sorry this is so confusing.

    Reply
  2. Simplii

    September 27, 2016 10:38 am

    great content as always! 🙂
    sorry, if it was answered before, but
    whats the name of this song in the background?….it calms me soooo sooo much, perfect for learning

    Reply
  3. Ashlee Nicole

    September 27, 2016 1:20 pm

    Great vid Thomas, I just wrote a essay for class on a similar topic… circumstances and one's attitude about them ☺👍

    Reply
  4. Div Omni

    September 27, 2016 2:27 pm

    i thought the background music you put in there was very good timing, but make it a little louder next time so I can get the full emotional effect 😀

    Reply
  5. siddharth goswami

    September 28, 2016 8:42 pm

    now u hv started to speak so fast…. that makes me unable to understand some words of ur speech… nd hv to revinde twice or thrice to understand that..!!

    Reply
  6. Cansu Melissa Çakır

    September 29, 2016 3:08 pm

    The message I get out of this quote basically is to reflect on people's flaws, be on the good side of people and have empathy for the sake of your own sanity, which is absolutely necessary when all us humans are crazy. But in the long run a person may easily collapse keeping their true thoughts/reactions on people's negative words/attitudes locked up. I think it's really important to find a way to relief that stress that comes with living this lifestyle.(If you're planning to follow this for a long time) Trust me, been there done that. Keeping away for certain periods of time and meditation for the soul is the key.

    Reply
  7. Martin Huber

    September 30, 2016 12:20 am

    negativity has less effect as you become smarter/stronger. take control of your life and find that you experience less negativety.

    Reply
  8. brother97081

    September 30, 2016 9:35 am

    I just subscribed after I realized i keep stumbling on your channel when I search for different topics.I certainly think you add value to people's lives with your videos ( not like most junk,clickbait,lame shit).Keep up the good work

    Reply
  9. SerkanSai

    September 30, 2016 2:17 pm

    Thanks Thomas, this is a great teaching!

    "When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself:
    The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, jealous, and surly.
    They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood or birth, but of the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine.
    And none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him.
    We were born to work together like feet, hands, and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower.
    To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are obstructions." ~ Marcus Aurelius

    Reply
  10. Bryan Gonzalez

    October 2, 2016 12:03 am

    Thomas, just throwing it out there. You're helping me get through my college years and prioritizing them. Not sure if people say it enough, but keep up the good work man!

    Reply
  11. Guilherme Víctor Alves da Costa

    October 2, 2016 1:24 am

    Just found out about the channel, and as I was looking the uploads you've made until such point, I freaked out. The themes that you discuss are simply too good, as well as the approach given by you onto them. Congratulations on the great channel (the english subtitles help a lot by the way hahaha ~ I'll surely recommend your videos to several friends of mine!!!)

    Reply
  12. Siti Aidah Abdullah

    October 2, 2016 8:01 am

    "we were born to work together" ❤

    Thomas, this video really touch my heart. Really needed that positive/motivational quote…

    oh btw,
    can't wait for ur next Q&A video! Really enjoyed ur previous one!! (:

    Reply
  13. mindscape reality

    October 6, 2016 9:32 pm

    People who peddle this shit have never actually experienced individuals who have a truely malevolent intent. Most people who are affected by negativity need to stop suppressing their anger through the application of courage to assert back. The only tool you have is to disincentivise abuse from negative people is to not accept their bullshit. This video promotes cowardice and a set of beliefs which enables the reoccurance of abuse. Rationalising their behaviour is not the answer and quoting a few historical figures doesn't make an opinion right!

    Reply
  14. Siegfried.

    October 7, 2016 3:53 am

    Great video, Tom! It certainly gave me a different perspective. As always, the quality of the video couldn't be better. I was wondering, though, about something which I've actually had in mind for a very long time:
    I've noticed that in many of your videos, you've got some board games showing behind you (namely Netrunner and Arkham Horror). My question to you is if actually collect board/card games, and if so, could name us a few of them that you really like and recommend? Thank you very much, and I wish you the best!

    Reply
  15. Jasmin Perez

    October 7, 2016 9:02 am

    Subject: help! mid-semester slump.

    Hey Thomas,
    It is early-mid semester and the semester is picking up. I am in a slump. I am feel the pressure/urgency to get stuff done asap. But this feeling has intensified each assignment thus increasing my stress and am finding it necessary to allocate time to stress relief/ reset. Though it starts off as what I intended it to be… I find that I am beginning to spend a little more time on that reset thing (YouTube, nap, social media, or reading). I recognize I need to address this early on to not fall into a slippery slope. I also recognize my inner thought and steam about self ability has decreased because of my slight procrastination and need a game plan to move forward and address issues. I am unsure how to go about thing I need to address during midterm season when time is limited. Do you have any advice on how to take care of this mid-semester slump? And these negative inner ability thoughts that are weighing me down?

    I don't think this was clear, but if you got the gist any advice is appreciated.

    Thanks, Jasmin 🙂

    Reply
  16. Kelli Patricia

    October 7, 2016 10:53 pm

    I'm having trouble concentrating because this youtuber is so cute! great job on the videos. new follower!

    Reply
  17. jen sen

    October 9, 2016 8:32 am

    i must thank you for making me discover Marcus and get me in stoicism.. my life has improved tremendously thanks to you.

    Reply
  18. Nick Jonas

    October 9, 2016 4:29 pm

    speaking about meditation
    I highly recommend a book on it by "Osho"…
    it's just amazing
    give it a try Thomas.

    Reply
  19. Andrew Colin

    October 10, 2016 6:25 am

    2000 years ago- there was a way better teacher in the world- a man who knew more than everyone combined in the world at that time. Guess who.

    Reply
  20. Lina J

    October 10, 2016 10:10 am

    Can you please make a video about raising your GPA .. I'm on my third year now and I will graduate on the fifth year

    Reply
  21. Валерия Федорова

    October 11, 2016 9:27 pm

    Great advice, Thomas! You reminded me to go read some good books, thank you. And I'll also try to implement this attitude.

    Reply
  22. Daniel Ta

    October 12, 2016 8:04 pm

    Another really cool video Thomas! A random question does anyone know how he adds the really cool subscribe button and link to another video?

    Reply
  23. Кубик Рубика

    October 13, 2016 11:28 am

    Я тут один русский чтоли? Я думаю что на любом канале с 300000 подписчиками есть хоть один русский человек.

    Reply
  24. Sheri Karanasos

    November 3, 2016 4:05 pm

    I saw a clip of this today from Evan Carmichael's: "5 Ways to Deal with Negative People. A part of his #BelieveLife series. This could not have hit at a better time. With my adult and family of her own lashing out at me I only thought it was a product of what her life is going through. Tonight is a family birthday party. All will be there. To face her I can only embrace her – knowing I have to stay my boundaries. But your lesson will remain in my head for as long as I hope to remember. Thank you very much for this great lesson – a lesson for all mankind to follow. Here is the link to the clip if you want it or see this. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRAS3FlRbkg> You made my day!

    Reply
  25. KIMBERLY PORTER

    November 26, 2016 5:10 pm

    I'm sorry, but you make it so hard for me to pay attention. You're too good looking and you trigger my ADD. I'm only half joking.

    Reply
  26. Flower Child

    December 21, 2016 2:27 pm

    You must not know much about Sociopathic Narcissists. They are the the category of personality disorders called Cluster B. Dealing with people that have no empathy, no remorse and no conscience is not dealing with a "fellow" human. They are basically demons and they're coming out of the wood works lately. They need to be put down.

    Reply
  27. Scott Moore

    December 27, 2016 3:51 am

    Science doesn't support you on this one. Happiness set point theories believe that your overall happiness' is rooted in about 50% of your genetics. 40% is intentional action and 10% is circumstances.

    Reply
  28. Eduardo

    January 9, 2017 11:56 am

    What about if it is a close friend that is or started behaving very negatively? With time, it's gonna become rather hard not to bend or have your energy "sucked" by this negativity. How do you help this dear friend? What does one do?

    Thanks for the awesome videos, Thomas!

    Reply
  29. Francisco Galárraga

    January 11, 2017 3:40 am

    Of course it's only 10% circumstance: you were born white, a man, in a rich country most likely grew up in a responsible family. Now go tell someone who was born in some 3rd world ghetto if 10% circumstance is right on.

    Reply
  30. a.basir .k

    January 22, 2017 9:18 pm

    ok this is like one of the first videos im watching of yours, and i gotta say… You have a really nice eye color 😀 😛

    Reply
  31. Reika Scarlet

    January 23, 2017 11:49 am

    yeah but what if you're sufferring from depression?

    it's very hard to excel as much as I want to because of this.
    I hope there are helpful tips in the future to deal with depression as a student.

    -coming from a 2nd year architecture student.

    Reply
  32. Gretch enLand

    February 19, 2017 6:03 pm

    This is Great! Thank you so much for giving the time to spread good teachings for becoming a better human being!

    Reply
  33. Satan

    March 29, 2017 7:26 pm

    Everyone is negative at some point. I just wish people would look more at what they are doing wrong if they are going to constantly judge at what others are doing wrong.

    Reply
  34. spiritual life 11:11 666 777

    May 15, 2017 12:00 pm

    this is already mentioned in holy quran “Show forgiveness, enjoin what is good, and turn away from the foolish (i.e., don’t punish them).”[Qur’an Surah al-A’raaf 7:199]
    thomas you're such a nice guy

    Reply
  35. 97epicman

    July 19, 2017 7:53 am

    Hi, I have already read Meditations on Kindle, but I would like a paperback version to re-read. Where did you find the Penguin Classics version?

    Reply
  36. Jim O'Ryan.

    October 6, 2017 10:51 am

    Ah, but does the other person realize that?, if not well then it just sounds condescending to bring something like this up. Some people are very negative and I'm not their therapist.

    Reply
  37. Magrob Technology

    October 6, 2017 2:32 pm

    How to deal with People’s Negative Comments – Your Life’s Reality
    http://bit.ly/2wBaMC3

    Reply
  38. thiery572

    October 7, 2017 3:27 am

    Very invalidating. Basically you told people we are all dirty, we are equally negative as the negative toxic people. 🙁

    Reply
  39. WilliamOccamensis

    February 25, 2018 4:09 pm

    This, mind you, from an emperor who made a career out of killing Germans. He could have killed more of them if they had let his hostility wash over them.

    Reply
  40. ❯ Bluebie Star ❮

    April 24, 2018 7:38 am

    Exactly what I need of an advice to help me realize about the things I really want from things that's stopping me to do it

    Reply
  41. No Labels

    September 4, 2018 12:20 pm

    “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: the people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous and surly. They are like this because they can't tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own – not of the same blood and birth, but the same mind, and possessing a share of the divine. And so none of them can hurt me. No one can implicate me in ugliness. Nor can I feel angry at my relative, or hate him. We were born to work together like feet, hands and eyes, like the two rows of teeth, upper and lower. To obstruct each other is unnatural. To feel anger at someone, to turn your back on him: these are unnatural.”

    Reply
  42. Raymotives Worldwide

    March 25, 2019 9:24 pm

    Where is the link to the free version bro.?? We are seekers down here but our part of the world is so unfortunate we can't even get copies to buy even with money in your hands.The link please.

    Reply
  43. Battle Hymn of the Empath

    March 30, 2019 5:17 pm

    I am not one to make heroes of people but I sense that you are a very productive and goal oriented person. Good on you. People can take away alot from your videos and tailor them to their own lives.

    Reply
  44. English For Life

    May 19, 2019 2:11 am

    I hate you. Every time I watch your videos at night I break with my night routines as I'm trying to develop according to one of your great videos. By the way, my name is Marco Aurélio, I was named after the Roman emperor and it is impossible to watch only one of your video, that's why I hate you. LOVE, LIVE, LEARN AND LAUGH MAC

    Reply
  45. Douglas Jones

    June 16, 2019 3:09 am

    Awesome video bro. We all need to strive to be better for our own mental health in a crazy world. Keep up the good work.

    Reply

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