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Jerks versus Morons

Today I encountered a clerk becoming annoyed with the behavior of a customer. I shared with him a technique that I have long been using in similar situations. It helps me maintain a pleasant attitude. When someone does something inconsiderate and annoying (e.g., as often happens when driving), it is easy to assume that the offender is intentionally being a jerk. Consider instead the possibility that this person is a moron. Once you make this mental leap, you can imagine lots of ways in which everyday activities must be difficult and challenging for this moron.

Think about his confusion as he notices other drivers successfully employ turn signals. He probably has no idea of the purpose of many of the various levers and buttons in his car. That likely causes him ongoing anxiety. It must be rough to be him.

Maybe he does not know that his mobile phone can be used in any configuration other than as a speakerphone. Imagine what other frustrations he must have with technology and the modern world.

You can’t really be mad at a moron, just sympathetic. Instead of giving in to anger, smile and speak more slowly, as you would to anybody with a cognitive disability. Be kind to morons.

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