Art Buddy: "YunnyBunny, I can't believe you turned ______ down for gallery representation, he's HUGE!"
Me: "I only work with nice people and don't deal with mean people. Period."
Art Buddy: "But he can really help your career. He can open doors, he can make you a lot of money. I think you're making a huge mistake by not considering it."
Me: "I really appreciate your insight and always consider your suggestions as I know you're coming from a place of love. Thank you for that. But one of my business standards is that I simply will not work with mean people, regardless of what they can do for me. I can make myself a lot of money and open doors on my own, because in the end if it weren't for my creations and artistic talent, no one is making any money off of me. In fact I don't even want to think of it that people get to make money "off of me", they get to make money with me.
As for ____, I don't like the guy. And I don't deal with people who have egos. Cuz I know they're the first ones to throw you under the bus no matter who you are. I don't like his lack of integrity, how he lies about artists, how he bullies them and insults them to get them to show with him, it's not what I'm about. It's even more disturbing that assholes like him are held in high regard and given leadership positions. Real leaders serve and that's not servitude to me.
It's just not my business style and goes against what I stand for, which is loving your way to success. Plus, mean people are small. Why would I want to do business with a small person that tears others down, much less have someone small like that represent me? What does that say about me and my brand?"
Every once in a while my kindness is met with the most scathing, demeaning, belittling jerkass behavior. Out of nowhere. For no reason. Perhaps for interrupting someone's bad day in an effort to bring them value, or simply because I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Maybe I bruised their ego in speaking my truth. Or maybe whenever they see me, they perceive me as a threat of some kind. Who knows.
I thought about why people are mean (unwarranted, unprovoked). Don't get it twisted, I can be quite tough when provoked. I know how to get "wolfy" and will show some serious teeth when I need to and will set someone in their place when I absolutely have to. But we are talking about pure shrewd mean behavior, for no reason...
What is it that causes someone to consistently belittle others - and how is this a detriment to our society when they lead businesses and organizations? Most of all why do we put up with it, allow it, support it, reward them and give them power for it?
Reflecting on all this brought me to Paul Graham's blog post, "Mean People Fail". This concept never even crossed my mind. Just in what ways do mean people fail? It made me recall a recent incident when I was reaching out to people I knew in my FB network to see what their business goals were for the upcoming year.
I'd come across quite a few people with disposable income but no art on their walls. I felt as an artist it's my duty to welcome them into art world, educate them, and cultivate them into fine art collectors. I mean, do they really need a seventh flat screen television? They asked me to refer them to someone that can help teach them to build an art collection aside from myself.
I reached out to one art consultant who I'd known (as acquaintances) for fifteen years, since my college days. A summary of the convo:
Me: "Hey! I'm reaching out to my network to see what everyone's business needs are for the rest of this year, what are you working on and how can I help?"
Art Consultant: "Why are you trying to be best friends with me? What do you want?"
Me: "I don't want anything from you. I just want to help."
Art Consultant: "What do you mean 'How can you help'? What, you want to come clean my house?! You're going about it all wrong Yun, it's really obnoxious, you should offer to take me to lunch."
Me: "Wow. That's really mean, and unnecessary. I would love to have taken you out to lunch, but I haven't even had a chance to get to that in this conversation. I wish you the best."
Mean people are just grown bullies who are small. The gallerist lost the chance to ever show my work in his gallery, the art consultant missed out on a lucrative referral. Paul Graham's blog post is right on, mean people do fail. Learning this is humbling because it makes me reflect on the few instances I've been mean, especially when it wasn't warranted. How did I fail in those instances?
Which brings me to leave these thoughts with you BunBuns. Let us check ourselves in how we respond to the world, myself included. Kindness is confidence, welcomes opportunities and abundance, something the world needs more of. When you are kind, you are able to inspire more. The people you inspire are more loyal, passionate, work harder with you, which ultimately leads to better results and productivity. Simply because they are happy and enjoy working with you.
As entrepreneurs we have freedom to choose exactly how we want to create our business. One of my favorite books, 177 Mental Toughness Secrets Of The World Class talks about hand selecting who you network and do business with. That the world class hardly does business with people that aren't world class. Paul Graham also points out in his blog post that he himself doesn't know of many mean successful people - amongst the most successful. I guess once you get to that level, mean people just don't make it there. Whew! lol
I love our world and the people in it soo freaking much. While I have compassion for mean people (and at times tolerance), I make sure they are eliminated naturally by the high standards I set for myself. The majority of the world tears you down. I want to lift you up. That's what I stand for.
We can make the choice today to no longer tolerate mean people nor their behavior. To not support them, nor their businesses and organizations. To no longer allow them into leadership positions without impactful servitude. To not brush their crappy treatment of people under the rug. There has to be a level of accountability. If we frown upon bullying when it comes to children, why do we allow it as adults? Onto ourselves?
Not too long ago I was catching up with an old friend of mine. We used to work together as makeup artists back in the day. My friend has since moved on and doing fabulously well in film/television. She said, "Yun it is crazy out there. People are vicious, mean, it's nuts." I said, "True, it is rough out there. But you have to look at it this way - you don't have to deal with those people. You have to look at it that they simply don't meet your business standards when you choose to only work with kind people." I was so excited for her that her light bulb went off. Yee!
How has this post inspired you? If you're mean, did it raise your awareness to be less mean? If you've been tolerating mean people too long, will you say "Enough is enough" and raise your standards? No, YunnyBunny isn't perfect - I'm certainly no angel according to society's standards and can get wolfy when provoked. But I truly believe that the world needs more kindness, especially in business.