Do I Have To Be An A**hole To Succeed In Life??

Aug 23, 2023

Do I have to be an a**hole to succeed in life? 


It was a question I got recently via email. I thought it was great, so I thought I'd answer it here. 


I wrote this book, "Not Nice," a couple of years ago.


When people hear that, they say, "Not nice? Do you mean to be like an a**hole? Is that what you're saying?" 


No, because it's not black or white. It's a spectrum. 


On this side of the spectrum, you have been excessively nice, which is:


I'll do whatever you want. 

I'll be who you want me to be. 

I won't bring up that thing that makes anyone uncomfortable. 

I'll suppress my own needs and desires. 

I don't even know what I think or feel or want, because whatever you want is great for both of us. 

I don't have any needs. I'm not a needy person. 

I'm not a burden.


That's EXTREMELY nice. 


Sounds familiar, right? 


Then, there's the other strict stream, which is the a**hole, which sounds like:

I do whatever I want. 

I don't care about you.  

Give me things. 

I'll extract whatever I need and leave a trail of wreckage in my wake. 


Both attitudes are unhealthy. 


What we're talking about is something a healthy middlethe middle path. 


If you've been passive and nice for a long time, the middle path might feel like you're being an a**hole. 


So when someone says “Hey, I need to cancel that thing. Can we find another time?” normally you'd respond, “Oh, yeah, no problem. No big deal.  Sure, whatever.” 


Instead, you should say, “Well, actually, I was counting on it. We made plans. You're canceling at the last minute. That doesn't work for me. Is there any way you can still make it?


That's being assertive—that's that middle way. 


If someone is teasing a lot, making jokes about you, and you pump a sign and say, “Hey, listen, I think it's all in good fun, but I got to check you're doing a lot of joking and teasing and kind of one-upping when we're hanging out. That doesn't feel very good to me. I don't like that.”

The other guy might say, “Hey, man, I'm just joking. You're being too sensitive.” 


You say, “Maybe I am. And I don't know. It just feels like there's a little more to it than that. In any case, I'd appreciate it if you pull it back a little bit.”


You have to be willing to have direct contact. You might even hear these examples. You have to say “NO” to somebody. 


If you think:

I need your help, or, I'm not available for that, but I need your help, or I hear that you're needing support. I suggest you check with so and so. I'm not available for that. 


Oh, my gosh. You a*hole. Right? 




In fact, that's the middle way. 


If you were passive for too long and were too nice, you need to recalibrate yourself to the middle. 


It’s all part of the learning process


It's okay to err on the side of being a little aggressive or passive, and you find your way. 


No one's perfect. 


It's like hitting a golf swing. 


You have to chip it right and chip it left, and then eventually, you'll find more center. And that's what this process is. 


Do you have to be an a**hole? No. 


Is it going to feel like you're being an asshole? Probably. 


That's where I find support is beneficial. 


What I love about the group programs that I run is that people can test this stuff out and then come back and think, all right, am I being an asshole here? 


It feels like it's a bad thing to do, but it's a healthy thing to do. 


The more you do that, the more it feels natural. 


I hope this serves you. And until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you're awesome. 

Reading blogs and watching videos online is a start...

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