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Dealing with Negative People: Advice from a Roman Emperor

Dealing with Negative People: Advice from a Roman Emperor


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.

Comments (100)

  1. inspiring video! thanks for the advice

  2. 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

  3. Damn, you got that endscreen notation bling!

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

  5. 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 😀

  6. Why don't you make a video about the Mozart Effect?

  7. From the last episode of Dear Hank and John is a solution for negative people.

    "Just ignore them."

  8. 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..!!

  9. Thomas,
    Why do you say "Stay Cute" at the end of your podcasts?

  10. 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.

  11. That zero <3

    Btw thank you for the video ^^

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

  13. This is one perfect time advice because i haven't even started college yet

  14. 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

  15. 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

  16. Thanks for sharing! That was the perfect quote to go by while I'm interning.

  17. 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!

  18. 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!!!)

  19. "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!! (:

  20. Can you make a video on how you organise your files and folders in your computer?

  21. no more Scott pilgrim books?

  22. WE NEED A WERKOUT ROUTIINEEE (preferably shirtless ;))

  23. anyone else notice that he blinks every 2 seconds? an average hooman blinks every 4-5

  24. subscribed! Great channel.

  25. 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!

  26. 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!

  27. 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 🙂

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

  29. your hot can you skype me , i m in crises

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

  31. you are awesome!!!!!!!

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

  33. hang on, You wrote a book! congrats, where do you sell this ? which e-book store?

  34. 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.

  35. Sounds like a challenge, so, who's gonna break this flexible tree ? 😉

  36. 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

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

  38. Can I throw a brick at them afterwards?

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

  40. Thank you for being in my life and teaching me wise things I never knew!

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

  42. Beautiful video Tom 🙂

  43. what is a good website where you can make free quizzes?

  44. I really like your channel, discovered through SimonOxfPhys! I really hope your channel grows!!! 🙂

  45. such a good video, thank you

  46. This came just in the right time! Thank you Thomas

  47. not giving a fuck on unimportant matters helps. ALOT.

    '_'

  48. 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!

  49. Could you make more similar videos? I love it when you read us 🙂

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. those trees on the screen look like matrix code

  54. You are not an imperfect human being! Have you looked at yourself in the mirror ?

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

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

  58. Best Advice I got A lot of haters I just laugh at that..

  59. But I also need 2 Know how to respond to it…

  60. 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.

  61. Adoro seus vídeos!

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

  63. 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.

  64. This guy comes across as a sleeze ball

  65. Thank you Thomas, stoicism is a good philosophy.

  66. 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

  67. thank you so much !!

  68. sorry to say but i hate these PG vids.expect adults to watch these

  69. 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?

  70. I'm almost finished with Meditations. I hadn't read it since i wrote it 2000+ years ago.

  71. This is what people who hate politicians need to know

  72. Damn your barber fucked up your edge up

  73. 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.

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

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

  76. that book was i believe used in the movie Vengance

  77. Dang dude this guy looks exactly like Justin Bieber look at his eyes and nose

  78. What's with that hairline bro? Are you striving to be the next avatar :D.

  79. 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.

  80. Aurelius: The Golden One.

  81. I loves Meditations.

  82. Thanks for always making great videos. You are a genius man.

  83. The quote doesn’t need an explanation

  84. Sweet megaman x and zero artwork in the background

  85. 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

  86. I feel like I'm on the other side. How do I be a top tooth and not a bottom tooth?

  87. Try reading Bo Sanchez books. He’s a Filipino author and he’s 👌👌👌

  88. “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.”

  89. Sounds like an Emperor telling his subordinates how to respond to his moods.

  90. 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.

  91. 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.

  92. 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

  93. 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.

  94. Love the wisdom, extremely applicable to circumstantial encounters with widespread moral flaws in the shared human fabric of our existence.

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