How not to drown in The Sea of Assholes

As my dearly departed sainted mother used to say,

“God must love assholes.  He made a lot of them.”

Of course, unlike me, she was far too refined to use the word “assholes.”

A number of years ago I had a two part epiphany.

1.  Since I already knew the world had plenty of assholes, there was no reason for me to be surprised, angry or upset when my path crossed one.

2.  When someone appears to be an asshole one of two things is going on:

First, this may simply be a good person having a bad day.  If so, they don’t need me in their face.

Or, this could be a genuine asshole who needs a can ‘o whoop-ass opened up on ‘em.  But I don’t have to do it.  They will come across another asshole and serve each other.  Not my job.

Simply understanding these two things has greatly enhanced my peace.

“Every person you look at, you can see the universe in their eyes.”

George Carlin.  Of all people…

Care to comment?  Just click on the circle on the top right of the post.

Subscribe to JL’s Newsletter

Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.


  1. Cassie says

    I too, have been guilty of thinking it was my job to “teach” jerks, I love your idea that another jerk will serve that purpose ! Letting someone else do the teaching and allowing grace for those that may be having a bad day are great ideas for re-focusing my energy and attention on more productive things.

  2. Trish Rempen says

    So right!
    I’ve been thinking 2 things:
    1. Just because he/she is having a lousy day, it doesn’t mean I have to join them.
    2. Getting mad at that jerk isn’t getting me where I want to go, which is enjoying my day.

    They may be the same thing. They may be what you said.
    The trick is to remember it on the spot!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      you are so right, Trish….

      especially when the rage begins to surge….

      Like Samual L. Jackson says in Pulp Fiction: “But I’m trying Ringo. I’m really trying.”

  3. Bruce says

    “:Or, second, this could be a real live genuine jerk who needs a can ‘o whoop-ass opened up on ‘em. But I don’t have to do it. They will come across another jerk soon enough and serve each other. It doesn’t have to be my job.”

    Yeah,but man! Sometimes it’s just sooooo hard not to. And it’s just so satisfying.
    (Of course,since I’m usually the jerk in question,uh……..)

  4. Krazy says

    I have a quote up on my wall at work “Don’t argue with idiots, they drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience”.

  5. Jason says

    I’m a new reader of your blog through the MMM article. Like with MMM’s blog I’m now reading through yours beginning to end. Thanks for sharing all the wisdom! Loved this post–reminds me of one of my dad’s favorite sayings: “Everybody on earth is an asshole. The trick is to learn how to get along with your fellow asshole.” I always hate when in hindsight I realize I was the asshole:)

  6. m says

    I’d add a third thing to this list…

    3. Empathy/Perspective. Unfortunately, some days for one reason or another I am the asshole.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Good point m!

      While this was written from the point of view of dealing with the assholes around us it is worth remembering that we are all, at times, the asshole in question. 🙂

  7. Katie says

    I love the positive spin when you encounter negative people. It is hard to take the high road sometimes and the quotes above remind you to be reasonable, take a deep breath, and move on. There are more important things in the world to worry about than negative people.

    so if your mom didn’t use the word assholes, what did she say?

    thanks again for sharing – love your point of view.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Katie…

      Her actual quote was: “God must love stupid people. He made a lot of them.”

      Thanks for the kind words!

  8. John says

    I have a few thoughts on this as well. My saying is, “Stupid people don’t know they’re stupid,” and you telling them they are stupid is very unlikely to cause an epiphany on their part, even if you explain to them why they are stupid. I didn’t always has this view, but since I’ve adopted it, it has saved me from much stupid-people induced stress.
    Great site!

  9. Bearded Apprentice says

    Great post Mr. Collins! Something I struggle with on a regular basis so I hope keeping these sayings fresh in my mind can help me find some inner peace when I sense my blood starting to boil. I’m a newbie here from MMM and after recently getting all caught up there reading ever article I’m on to tackle all of yours w/ ERE & Mad Fientist. Looking forward to them all!!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Welcome Mr. BA…

      Glad you made your way here and I’m honored to be placed with the likes of MMM, MF and ERE!

      I’m also glad you liked this post and am pleased to see it still getting readership. It’s one of my favorites!

  10. vorlic says

    Was having a tough day today… outcome of an arsehole encounter yesterday…

    So, as the day draws to a close, I go to for a bit of a lift (always try to end on a high), choose one of your earliest posts, and hey presto! I’ve cheered up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *