Reflections on Aphorisms #53

This will be a short post today because I am trying out a new software for editing. I’m not 100% sold on it because I’ve lost a lot of writing because it doesn’t have any auto-saving functionality. The web plugin didn’t check if the page has refreshed between starting and finishing working, and once I clicked save and it did not.

So it wasn’t the best of days.

Aphorism 86

One often contradicts an opinion when what is uncongenial is really the tone in which it was conveyed.

Nietzsche

Interpretation

This is an interesting truth.

What people don’t realize is that being unpleasant makes everything worse.

If the best project in the world required collaborating with someone truly distasteful, it would not be the best project in the world.

I almost never swear. There are few places where swearing adds proper emphasis, and many where it causes emotions to run ragged.

However, I think it comes down to a lot of things. Other than my tendency to whine (which is something I am better about), I try to be polite and helpful around people. There are limits to this, but I’ve found being pleasant and a little cooperative gets more results than you’d expect from being useful. The sacrifice required for this is minimal. Fifteen minutes a week earns interest.

There’s a connection to politics. I migrated across political affiliations before deciding just not to have any. The reason for this is simple: I cared more about victory than principle. Then I realized that everyone that I was looking up to was flawed. There are very few honest politicians. If you align with any faction, you align with a lot of snakes.

So I don’t. This change made life better.

I’ve found that many abrasive people hide issues. Whether it is emotional, social, or practical, something feeds that attitude. There’s room for lenience–people have bad days–but if there’s a habit, it’s a red flag.

Nice people suck as friends. You want people who are honest. No exaggeration.

Look for people who give productive criticism. They have a good outlook. They don’t flatter and don’t denigrate. 

You may notice that these people are wrong. They will not judge your opinions. Return the favor. Life will get a lot better.

You may notice that you agree with people. See if they’re jerks. If they are, do the kind thing and let them know politely. Everyone wins. If they become hostile, it’s their loss, not yours. You can’t befriend everybody. If they improve, you’ve helped them and yourself.

There is one exception: blunt honesty. Telling the truth should be the priority. Just don’t put a negative spin on it. Sincerity to help, not to harm. Take your frustrations out on paper or canvas, not people. Know when to pull a punch.

My high school Latin teacher had a phrase he loved to repeat:

“What is this to eternity?”

Nothing that bothers you is worth burning other people for.

So don’t.

Resolution

Be kind, not nice.

Don’t tear down what isn’t worthy of destruction.

Master frustration, release it without hurting anyone.

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