People causing Stress in one’s Life: Do we really need them?

A Personal View – May 2014

Some 26 years ago, I consciously and intentionally enacted a firm rule in the Quo Vadis Hiking Club. As I regarded the hike as a holiday, I did not need a person in the Club who was always argumentative, negative or made it unpleasant in some way for the rest of the members. In life, we all have to deal with the nit-pickers, the arguers and the narcissists, but not while I was on vacation.

As Quo Vadis is a closed Club where membership is by invitation only, this rule was effortless to apply. For those that did not conform to this rule, there was another regulation to deal with the miscreant: FIFO – fit in or F*** O** – ruthless but effective.

Fortunately his rule has not had to be applied too frequently, but in spite of initial unpleasantness when one has to enforce it, the rewards were greater than the initial pain.

Unfortunately in one’s professional and working life, this aphorism is not so easy to apply. One has to merely grin and bear the office tyrant or backstabber. What about the person always playing the office politics game? It is never pleasant or easy to work around them especially when that person is one’s boss.

In fact the worst type of boss is the one who lacks EQ. Often these types of people will claw their way up the corporate hierarchy by the slash and burn method. All those who stand in their way will be ruthlessly dealt with often with severe consequences to their career.

All corporates have these types of employees.

If that person is so malicious that they will destroy one, it is preferable to resign and move away from the danger area. But many times this option is not a possibility either due to one’s age or lack of opportunities. So one is forced to endure the daily grind where one’s life is squashed and eroded, one corrosive day after the other, never ceasing. Ultimately one’s soul & the spirit is blighted from all the negativity and cruel jibs.

Maybe for various reasons one cannot find alternative employment, so one is forced to endure the unendurable.

But what about the controllable part of one’s lives?

Here it only dawned on me about ten years ago that in one’s personal life one does not need to accept the negative people, the stress creators, the person swift to take umbrage. All that they are is an emotional drain on one. As much as one attempts to be positive, all that they will focus on is the negative.

I have slowly but inexorably banished those people from my life. Instead of worrying whether I would offend their sensitivities or their pet theories, I would rather be involved with people who accept a diversity of views without it becoming a contest of wills.

The worst offenders are those who view the world as black or white and not as shades of grey. For what is life? Most aspects of life never have a definitive answer as every option has pros and cons and the most enervating, the unintended consequence.

Rather than suppressing one’s own views, one must feel free to engage with one’s contemporaries in an adult fashion.

This suggestion is imperative for one’s psychological health as any impairment is detrimental to one’s physical health.

Consider the different attitude to life that some people have. Mike Brand is an eternal optimist, always smiling and uplifting to chat to. Last Sunday on the Cradle of Humankind half-marathon I overtook him at the 4km mark. Enraptured by the scenery, we discussed the recent capture on camera of hyenas & a leopard  in this area. The discussion was elating and inspirational. When I left him chatting to some other runner, I felt enlivened.

Imagine if this runner had been Eugene. What I contrast? A grumpy person would have assailed one with all the reasons why he should not be running this race: they should have started an hour earlier or later, the start should have been different. And so he would have enervated me. After a short distance I would be utterly demotivated and annoyed. The last time that Eugene did run with me, which was some time ago, I made a snide comment that he should have offered his assistance to the Organisers. The remark went unnoticed as he continued to verbally chide and berate the Organisers.

To have more positivity in my life, I have adopted this maxim: Do not take the consequence of persistent negativity flippantly, remove the stressors!

What I have discovered, is that this is a lifelong quest as this type of person is to be found in every nook and cranny of one’s life.

Now that I have resolved the human interaction dilemma, can somebody please assist me with an Alsatian with some extremely annoying habits?

I would love to throttle that god-damn dog!


Where is she now!

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