Damned Fools with Big Mouths

Don’t try to educate people who aren’t listening.  The world is full of fools who believe they know everything, and besides, you could be wrong.  Listen more than you talk, and you might hear something interesting.  And you’ll be able to figure out if you’re listening to a fool, or not, if you’re listening, not talking.

Robert A. Heinlein – from The Notebook of Lazarus Long.

Pad of Paper & PenIt took me a long time to really understand this one, in my gut and heart.  Coupled with another of Heinlein’s pithy observations: “Never underestimate the power of human stupidity”, I spent most of my early life trying to explain to people what I thought was the truth, or the correct way, or the proper method…or a whole host of correct, right, and proper things.

What I’ve finally got around to figuring out is that the world is indeed full of stupid people and nearly all of them don’t want to be told anything.  They think they’re as right as I do.

What I’ve also learned is that often they are right.  There’s so many different ways of looking at and dealing with the world and they’re all correct for that person, in that place, at that time.  Even if I think they’re dead wrong and can see how they’re going to screw themselves over in five minutes/two steps ahead, it doesn’t matter. That person needs to make that error right now, and for themselves.  Hopefully they’ll learn from it (but sadly, some do not).

Speaking of “doesn’t matter” – it reminds me of a clip from the Roseanne show that I saw recently — it’s freakin’ hilarious (I’m still catching up with TV from the seventies and eighties as I didn’t have one.  A TV, that is.)

Roseanne doesnt matter

 

Life has become considerably easier and contains far less stress and frustration now I’ve learned to leave people alone to think what they want (and find out for themselves).

The listening part…that one I’m still getting a handle on.  I’m a lot better at listening than I used to be, but I have a long way to go!

What about you?  What is your reaction when you come across a damned fool with a big mouth?

 

6 Comments

  1. Robyn Larson May 5, 2014 at 8:40 am

    you are talking about a concept I have for many years said, you may hear what is being said, but are you actually listening?
    To me they are 2 different things. It’s like talking to your husband while he is watching TV. He may have heard what you said but did he listen? People today have the tendency to always believe they are “right” in that you are correct. Sometimes when you know what they believe is totally wrong, you just want to slap them upside the head. A long learning process to just let them go and make the mistakes even if it hurts them tremendously. Oh, and you really want to say, “told ya so.”

    • Tracy May 6, 2014 at 12:03 pm

      Hi Robyn;

      I’m getting better at controlling the “I told you so” impulse. It is never worth giving in to it.

      But it’s tough — as tough as keeping my mouth shut in the first place even when they’re wrong.

      🙂

      t.

  2. jo May 5, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I’m sorry, what did you say…I wasn’t listening. Oh, sorry! I just couldn’t resist….I know try harder next time!!! 🙂

    I have found that dealing with stupid people makes me stupid…I mean, I find myself sinking down to their level just to get my point across and that is so, well, stupid. Another frustrating thing is when you are talking with them and they start talking right over top of you…that right there lets you know they are NOT listening.

    Thanks for the insight! and I am very glad you now have a way to watch TV….*big grin*

    hugs from your fan,
    jo

    • Tracy May 6, 2014 at 12:02 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jo! 🙂

      t.

  3. Carol Scheid May 8, 2014 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Tracy,

    Yes it was a long learning process for me as well but I find now that I’ve learned to let these things go I am a lot happier and less stressed. Sometimes people have to figure these things out for themselves and that can be a good thing also, the process of learning from your mistakes. I did a lot of that growing up, I didn’t listen much and had to make my own mistakes. 🙂 But it can be very difficult to stay quiet in those situations…sigh. An ongoing learning process for us all LOL.
    Glad you are enjoying Roseanne, I used to LOVE that show. Very funny and more true to life than most sitcoms.

    Happy Writing!
    Carol

    • Tracy May 8, 2014 at 8:48 pm

      Thanks, Carol:

      Yes, it all gets a bit easier as you get older and wiser. But watching other, younger people making the same mistake is just awful. Reminds me of one of my favourite sayings: “Youth is wasted on the young.”

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Cheers,

      Tracy

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