An initially frustrating trip to the hair salon yesterday (Yes, a salon and not a barber. Asian hair is fickle ok?) was a good reminder about the three types of people in life.
I came in for an appointment to cut my hair (more like hobo rag at that point) at 7:50pm. When I came in, I was told by one of the two women frantically working that they were running 15 minutes behind.
15 minutes turned into 30 minutes...which soon turned into 45 minutes. I started to become irritated, and it wasn't helped by the fact that some college-aged looking douchebag kept demanding extra attention to perfect his buzzcut. I mean it's a fucking buzzcut. Do it yourself.
Now, there are three types of people in this situation.
The first person is the pushover, the person that I was until my late teens. The pushover's thoughts are relatively predictable.
"How dare they make me wait so long. How dare this business think that they can take up my precious time. How dare this acne-faced teenage prick not know that I'm in line. I'm a customer too!!!!"
But the modus operandi of pushovers is that they never turns these thoughts into action. At the core, all pushovers are ruled by one thing: they are so worried about being disliked that they are constantly paralyzed.
They'll passive-aggressively sigh and squirm, go through their haircut completely annoyed that they were jilted, then probably leave a bad tip at the end.
Most pushovers "live" their entire lives that way. I use quotation marks, because they're not really living. They're constantly dying inside, wallowing in self-pity over a world that seemingly favors others, thinking:
"But I have talents too! If people could just see that I'm amazing they wouldn't just walk all over me."
But not all pushovers stay that way for life. Some are observant and all notice an interesting phenomenon: assholes seem to get their way. So, pushovers sometimes transform into assholes.
At the barbershop, the asshole has the exact same internal reaction as the pushover. This makes sense, because most started out that way. But the asshole is no longer paralyzed by the fear of being disliked; in fact, they crave being disliked. It reminds them that they are no longer a pushover.
That's the core modus operandi of an asshole. They go through life in fear of being pushovers. At the salon, they loudly fuss:
"What the fuck...I've been here for 50 fucking minutes, and you've been spending it all on that kid's buzz cut. This place is shit, and I have an important interview tomorrow. Also, I'm not paying full price for this bullshit."
Assholes enjoy being assholes, because they think it pays off; they often get their way, which only encourages their behavior...in the short term.
My problems with alcohol have shown me that it doesn't pay off in the long run. You see, too many drinks (or internet commenters) would turn me into an asshole, even if I didn't mean to be. People hate assholes. You might get your way right now, just like Geoffrey Baratheon often got his way. But people are secretly plotting your fall, which will inevitably happen after too many episodes.
Lastly, we have the gentleperson. At first glance, the gentleperson seems exactly the same as the pushover.
How can there be any difference? After all, the facts are still the same: The hair salon is wasting my precious time and the woman at the salon is still ignoring me as a customer in favor of someone else. How can I not be annoyed?
But the gentleperson knows one powerful thing: In life, you can choose what to be annoyed about. You can choose what to think about. You can start off by considering that the world doesn't revolve around you. Think about the pushover and the asshole and how many times their thoughts revolved around "their precious time" or "their value as a customer."
Perhaps the person cutting hair hates being there as much as you do, but she has to feed her kids. She's just as annoyed by the little prick in her seat as you are.
Or perhaps the kid in the seat isn't a prick at all. Maybe he's super nervous and self-conscious about his first date, something I'm sure everyone can relate to.
Mindset is what separates the gentleperson from the pushover. Gentlepersons choose not to be annoyed, and this flows into their actions. They don't sit in their chair huffing and puffing, and rather, they're kind to the person cutting hair. In fact that might have been the only kindness received at a hectic day at the salon.
Now, being a gentleperson doesn't seem sexy, but perhaps I shouldn't have used that label for them. Perhaps I should have used the word winners. They win at business, sex, and pretty much life.
Consider the fact that research has repeatedly shown that kindness is one of the few traits that women find attractive in a man. This is surprising to many men, because they equate being kind for being a pushover. Or even worse, they do nice things for women, expecting that they'll receive sexual favor in return. Now that is a pushover.
Or consider the fact that research also shows that givers are the people who get ahead in business, not takers.
In fact, I can attest to this from personal experience. I ended up training a Miss America, because I was so impressed by her intelligence and charisma when she was Miss New York City that I offered to train her for free. I had no clue she'd end up winning Miss New York and then Miss America.
Similarly, I helped fitness folks get reach on Fitocracy during its early days. One of those people introduced me to John Romaniello, who introduced me to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Arnold eventually formed a partnership with Fitocracy, which then led to many interested acquirers for my startup.
Note that the pushover, the asshole, and the gentleperson don't have to be different people. They can be the same person at different stages of their life (or different amount of beverages consumed). It's also interesting that being a winner requires softer skills like empathy, kindness, and the self-awareness to realize that you can choose what to think about the world. These skills aren't sexy to develop, but they always pay off.
By the way, after a lovely conversation with lady at the salon, I wasn't charged for my haircut. I did leave her a $25 tip though.