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How to Handle Disrespect with Class and Confidence

How to Handle Disrespect with Class and Confidence

Post from: MAPpingCompanySuccess

mahatma_gandhi

I am frequently asked how to deal with arrogance, disrespect and other antisocial behavior.

Often, the people asking are looking for approaches that echo the classy insults post from 2009.

KG Charles-Harris recently provided a brilliant example of how to handle such comments, with class and amiable good will—although the recipient might not agree.

While I doubt that the following actually happened, that doesn’t change the intelligence and elegance behind the responses.

When Gandhi was studying law at the University College of London, there was a professor, whose last name was Peters, who felt animosity for Gandhi, and because Gandhi never lowered his head towards him, their “arguments” were very common.

One day, Mr. Peters was having lunch at the dining room of the University and Gandhi came along with his tray and sat next to the professor. The professor, in his arrogance, said, “Mr Gandhi: you do not understand… a pig and a bird do not sit together to eat,” to which Gandhi replies, “You do not worry professor, I’ll fly away ,” and he went and sat at another table.

Mr. Peters, green of rage, decides to take revenge on the next test, but Gandhi responds brilliantly to all questions. Then, Mr. Peters asked him the following question: “Mr Gandhi, if you are walking down the street and find a package, and within it there is a bag of wisdom and another bag with a lot of money; which one will you take?”

Without hesitating, Gandhi responded, “The one with the money, of course.”

Mr. Peters, smiling, said, “I, in your place, would have taken the wisdom, don’t you think?”

“Each one takes what one doesn’t have,” responded Gandhi indifferently.

Mr. Peters, already hysteric, writes on the exam sheet the word “idiot” and gives it to Gandhi. Gandhi takes the exam sheet and sits down.

A few minutes later, Gandhi goes to the professor and says, “Mr. Peters, you signed the sheet, but you did not give me the grade.”

The ‘trick’ is responding to the actual content, rather than the intent, and turning the put-downs back on the speaker.

A good lesson for us all.

Flickr image credit: Okinawa Soba

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