10 Ways To Avoid Being An Asshole

Nov 04

10 Ways To Avoid Being An Asshole

While navigating through this world, you are going to encounter assholes.

It’s just inevitable.

But through all the craziness, people are generally awesome.

Chances are if you’re reading this blog you fall into the category of awesome human being.

But it’s still incredibly easy to pick up some bad habits along the way.

You want to spread your awesomeness into the world and it’s much harder to do that when you have asshole habits.

Regardless of how you picked up these habits, it’s still 100% possible to change them.

Everything I list below are habits I’ve had to deal with in my own life.

Some I’ve conquered and some are a work in progress.

But all of them remain essential to avoiding the ways of an asshole.

Today we rewrite those bad habits and look at some simple and effective ways to NOT be an asshole.

1. Listen To People & Give A Shit

Very few people listen. I’ve been guilty of this one before. Blame it on short attention spans or whatever, but listening takes effort.

There is another human being in front of you trying to convey something. Pay attention and listen like your life depends on it.

If you’re a solid listener than you’ve already won half the battle.

The other half is giving a shit. This is where intentional listening comes in handy.

Intentional listening is a level above any other form of listening. Essentially you are creating a bubble between you and the other person.

Nothing can penetrate your conversation.

You become totally invested in the moment. You HEAR every word the other person has to say and FEEL every emotion.

Intentional listening should really be called genuine conversation because this is what happens every time you fall into the groove with someone and lose track of time.

DO THIS MORE. It’s too much fun not to do.

2. Live In Abundance

As I said before: Not giving a fuck about other people’s bullshit comes from a place of complete abundance. An asshole is coming from a place of scarcity.

They feel desperate and lacking in a specific area of life. A non-asshole lives life abundantly.

They have everything they need from friends, to work, to fitness, to life.

An asshole tries to control things they can’t control. They get pissed over the meaningless and benign.

A non-asshole already has everything.

They’ve locked down their 1% and have no reason to overcompensate.

3. Stay Humble

There is always more to learn. There are always people better than you. Stay a student of life.

No matter how far you rise in your life, keep learning.

Because life lessons are everywhere and if you let your ego get in the way you’ll stagnate and trail off.

4. Stay Confident

Being humble and confident may sound contradictory, but you can do both.

Confidence comes from doing something that scares the shit out of you until you become comfortable.

Regardless of your journey, we are all facing fears and doubts.

But by recognizing those fears and doing something despite it, we are conquering the beast and becoming more confident.

It’s also important to acknowledge your progress. Take a look back at what you’ve already done. Even if it’s day one for you, it’s okay. You are further along than people on day zero.

Take note of your progress and realize that you’ve done some seriously epic things already. Let that fuel your confidence.

5. Check Your Ego

Ego is both good and bad. It keeps you moving forward and progressing. But it also can prevent you from pushing past your comfort zone.

Every few months or so, take a step back from what you’re doing.

See what the hell is going on in your life and determine if your ego is holding you back from reaching your full potential.

6. Say What You Mean & Mean What You Say

This isn’t a site about social dynamics, but I think deliberate speaking is fucking magical.

Deliberate speaking is all about saying precisely what you want to say.

Being completely honest and upfront is not easy. I did a full month of it and failed pretty regularly.

But living an authentic life isn’t effortless.

By working on the habit of deliberate speaking you’ll become more true to yourself and people will resonate with that on a much higher level.

7. Be Wrong & Right At The Same Time

More contradictory sentences, I know. Stay with me!

Just about everybody reading this blog is forging their own path in one way or another.

I feel that a nine to five job is the shittiest existence in the world and I have some pretty strong points.

But there is still a certain percentage of the population that really enjoys working for someone.

I could argue my points all day but it wouldn’t make a difference. We can both be right at the same time.

What this comes down to is looking at shit from another person’s perspective.

This is a powerful idea that breeds an insane amount of growth.

Take a look at contradictory thoughts and open your eyes to the possibility of being right and wrong at the same time.

8. Stand for Something

Having an opinion is highly underrated these days. Don’t be neutral about everything.

Pick a side and make a stand on something you believe in. It can be a kick ass blog, a non-profit, or how you handle your relationships. It doesn’t matter.

Stand for something or live for nothing.

9. Know Yourself

This is a pretty heavy saying but it’s damn important. Knowing yourself ultimately comes down to two things.

1) Doing shit

2) Self-awareness.

Continuously try new things each and every day. Work hard and experiment. Figure out what you like and don’t like.

From hobbies, to food, to sleep, to relationships, to work. The list could go on for miles.

Self-awareness is the other big factor. When you are doing shit, you need to be aware of how you feel.

Does this new fitness regimen uplift you or bring you down?

Does this new job fulfill you or does it crush your soul?

Keep doing things and keep asking yourself the important questions.

10. Don’t Be Wal Mart

Wal Mart has everything you could ever need. There aim is to please everyone.

Don’t do that.

Pleasing everyone is an impossible endeavor. Just do what you feel is right and nothing more.

The people who gel with your line of thinking will like you for who you are.

Take It Slow

All of these take conscious effort and time to make happen. You won’t be able to conquer these all at once.

Also, if you’re guilty of a bunch of these habits, don’t worry all day and night about being an asshole.

Like I said in the beginning, you are probably awesome.

Now it’s time to fine tune your awesome personality and connect with the people around you a little bit better.

So spread your awesomeness, implement these habits, and lead by example.

Photo Cred: Felipe Tofani

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  1. Awesome post Kev,

    Not being a asshole in this world becomes really difficult because there’s simply so many assholes around lol

    You simply can’t help but change your attitude towards these people because their responsiveness to kindness is simply non existent. I realised that the older I got because I spent the majority of my twenties falling behind because I refused to speak up and tread on toes.

    I think the hard part is in learning to develop a range. And what I mean by that is that you’re able to go from nice, to bad and in between when the situation requires it.

    A lot of nice people are simply too nice for their own good and refuse to adjust because their whole identity is around being nice. It’s not a bad thing, but it encourages people to take advantage of you.

    • Kevin Cole /

      That’s a really great point Onder. I did the same thing for a long time. There’s definitely a difference between being nice and being spineless.

      We can spread love and kindness at will, but without firm boundaries it will be for nothing.

      Solid addition to this post brother.

  2. For anyone who struggles with #1, remove the eagerness to spill what you have to say next. I used to wait and wait for the time I can open my mouth. While they’re talking I would tune out and start figuring out what I can say next. This obviously removes you from the conversation and makes you look like an ass if you’re like this all the time. No one wants to be around someone who is so self-involved.

    People pick up on these things and are going to figure out pretty quickly that you don’t care about what they have to say. Open your ears and close your mouth a bit more often. :)

    • Kevin Cole /

      Damn good idea Vincent. Seriously.

      I used to also to do the same thing. A lot of this stemmed from the constant fear of running out of shit to say. Like you said, it totally removes you from the conversation and turns people off.

      Thanks for sharing this man.

  3. Great list, Kevin!

    Personally, I find that I am a pretty good listener and fairly humble, but because of that I often fail at standing for something. Usually, I feel that the more I learn, the more I realize the world is complicated and find it hard to take a side. Especially these days, where you can do a quick search online and find research or opinions that completely refute your ideas.

    But I’m working on it, as are we all.

    • Kevin Cole /

      There is definitely a paradox between being open-minded and taking a stand on something. Both of these are great characteristics, but finding the proper balance is a challenge.

      I’m working it as well :)

  4. I love what you wrote about scarcity vs. abundance. Someone who’s insecure, scared and a little ass-hole-ish would address something with a scarcity mindset.

    Sometimes it takes effort to do this! Nobody wants to willingly lose, right?

    Onder – Ghandi is turning in his grave :-)

    • Kevin Cole /

      Living in abundance definitely changes the game. Great to hear this resonated with you.

  5. You’re saying all the right things, Kevin, but I love #10. We must be discerning. We must be able to prioritize and re-prioritize. WalMart has nothing to offer a discerning person. Have nifty one!!!

    • Kevin Cole /

      Totally agree CJ! You’ve definitely got to be discerning. Being Wal Mart does zero good.

  6. It’s funny how I never have been, nor aspired to be Wal-Mart, and yet somehow I still get offended when people don’t like me. It’s the kind of hilarious double-standard that is not quite as funny when it’s not described in a book, or on a screen, but found in yourself.

    One of my problems is that I am so preoccupied with what I in my dark moments perceive as more or less failing at life, that listening has not been my strong suit as of late. The first step towards being a better listener, and friend in general, is setting some things straight.

    I’ve decided to get a job again while I prepare for the final move to freelancing and location-independence. I think it will actually help me maintain the actual friendships I do have, and would hopefully allow me to adopt a healthier mindset when it comes to meeting new people.

    • Kevin Cole /

      I think you’re going about it the right way. It’s stressful as fuck to have everything riding on your online biz when it’s not making loads of money. It limits your flexibility to try new things because it’s wayyy tougher to stop.

      Keep doing what you’re doing man. Even if things don’t always seem 100% on point, you are still forging your own path and taking life into your own hands. That’s more than the hefty majority of people can say.

  7. Andrea Edwards /

    This is sooo awesome , I can’t get enough!!!

  8. Hey, I wrote a similar-ish post earlier in the year but from the other perspective of what we can do to better ourselves. It really does make you stop and think about our own actions.

    Something that I forgot to mention in my post was the idea of letting people have their little victories. Sometimes I find it hard to let things be if I know they are wrong. For example, someone may claim that the capital of Australia is Melbourne (they really did). I want to correct them, but I know that if I did it would make them angry or even embarrassed.

    So it’s good to let people have their victory once in a while, especially if it’s trivial and doesn’t need correcting. Nobody likes the douche who always does that.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Really great addition to this post man. I’m a firm believer that honesty is the best policy provided that it’s for the greater good.

      Calling people out on tiny things like that doesn’t do a whole lot of good. It’s definitely much better to let them have their victory and be happy.

  9. I always hope I am not an asshole, but it is hard to tell from ground zero. I would like to THINK I meet a lot of these criteria.

    The fact that some contradict I believe is what makes people get into the sweet spot of non-assholedom.

    For instance: Like you said in #4, confidence is important. But I have met quite a few supremely confident assholes. But when you temper that with your #3 and #5, the humble attitude and controlled ego keeps you out of the asshole threshold.

    Great points!


    • Kevin Cole /

      It can definitely be hard to self-analyze. We are living our lives and getting a broader perspective on how we are acting isn’t an easy job.

      I really love your point about the contradictions evening everything out. I hadn’t even thought about that, but it’s so true. Too much of one trait without it’s opposite is a solid recipe for douchebaggery.

      Thanks for pointing that out man.

  10. Really great points. You know life is full of assholes, it’s inevitable that you’ll meet one, but what’s not inevitable is to be one. Although there are some times when being an asshole can’t be helped. I’ve been an asshole at times when I think it was called for. But if you’re one all the time, you need to change.

    I think knowing yourself is important. Well, especially because I’m thinking about an asshole person I know who doesn’t know himself at all. He doesn’t realize how his actions go out into the world. He doesn’t understand that everything he does comes from a place of insecurity. If he did, he could make the changes.

    • Kevin Cole /

      I have zero tattoos, but if I were to get one it would say “Know Thyself”

      I think it’s the most important thing in the world. Without being aware of who you are and how you’re behaving, you can’t make any substantial changes.

      Glad you liked this man.

  11. Great post Kevin and it’s all very spot on.

    I think it really comes down to #9, taking the time for self-reflection and growing from there.

    I would generally say if someone is focussed on improving themselves those other good habits will almost come naturally as they take the long journey into personal growth! An asshole doesn’t have the time for that level of awareness haha!

    Cheers man!

    • Kevin Cole /

      Absolutely man. Like I said to Steve’s comment above, I have no tattoos but if I were to have one it would say “Know Thyself.”

      It’s definitely the most important thing in the world.

  12. Great points, Kevin! I try to have the attitude and actions of serving and adding value to those around me. Considering them as someone worth caring about and helping (no matter who they are). This has allowed me to avoid being a asshole.

    • Kevin Cole /

      That’s a really great point Dan. There is nothing wrong with continually adding value to other people’s lives :)

  13. Hey Kevin, I just read your My Story…

    I’m 22 but I strongly relate to everything you said. I’m on a very similar road.

    “The nine to five grind isn’t something you’re supposed to see at 18. You’re supposed to encounter it after college when you’re engulfed in student loans and have no way out.”

    and then

    “I talked to my parents about this predetermined path but they had no response (because they were living it). I talked to my friends about the predetermined path, but they hadn’t seen it yet. I had nowhere to turn. WTF??”

    You ir are a wise man. Everyone is indeed insane. I saved your page. I’ll be coming back.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hey Sebastian,

      Thanks for the kind words man. It’s great to hear this resonated with you and welcome to PD.

      Keep forging your own path man. As you’ve probably already seen, there’s a lot of us out there. :)

  14. I’ve always been a nice guy. The problem is – I do well in sarcasm when I am pissed with a bad service. And to be fair to me (haha excuses), I try to be patient and give the other party a bit more understanding. Even then, I end up with my bad habit!

    But I’m learning my lesson – I am toning down on sarcasm and try to hold my words. What I usually do is try to lower down my perfectionist mentality.

    • Kevin Cole /

      Hey Rob,

      Sounds like you use sarcasm to avoid having a serious confrontation which is totally understandable.

      But it’s great to hear you are adjusting your habit so you can handle the situation more effectively.

  15. Eliud Maina /

    I have been reading your posts for along time and i have to say that you inspire me.Am from the East coast of Africa,a country called Kenya

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