How to Deal with The Wise-guys

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I’ve talked about The Crabs in the past. Here’s another one for you. Wise-guys. Al Pacino defined Wise-guys in the 1997 movie “Donnie Brasco“.

A wise guy’s always right. Even when he’s wrong, he’s right.

Wise-guys are everywhere: work, family, relationships (“Wise-gal”), friends, gym, Internet, … They always know better than you, even if they don’t. And some believe their stuff so much, they can make you doubt what you do.

How to Spot Wise-guys.
The above definition probably already rings a bell. You’ve met wise-guys before or have some in your social circle right now. Wise-guys always display these typical behaviors.

  • Give Unsolicited Advice. While you didn’t ask for anything. Can’t shut up. Always share their views instead of listening to other people.
  • Nitpick. With the only intention of showing their superiority. Correct you on small things that don’t matter when looking at the big picture.
  • Challenge. Without any intention to challenge their own beliefs. It’s all about showing they’re smarter than you.

Why Do Wise-guys Act Like That?
Some Wise-guys are unconscious of what they’re doing. The worst cases do it on purpose: they’re well aware of what they do. In both cases Wise-guys act that way for 3 reasons.

  • Ego. The ego’s natural defense mechanism is to attack. Wise-guys are driven by their ego. If their ego feels attacked by you, they’ll defend themselves by showing their superiority.
  • Low Self-esteem. On the inside they lack confidence and have a low self-esteem. They’ll qualify to you by showing off with their knowledge, skills, belongings, achievements, … Anything that feeds their ego.
  • Jealousy. They’re jealous of your accomplishments. Insecurity of dropping out, caused by a lack of self-confidence. Ego feels attacked. Instead of doing what you did to get there, they’ll try to stop you.

How to Deal with Wise-Guys.
Philosophical conversations and constructive criticism are all good. But changing people’s mind or proving yourself is unnecessary. And trying to win arguments is wasting your time.

  • Stop Caring. Let it become noise. You hear it, but it doesn’t affect you anymore. Don’t think or know this, become it. How? By acting in ways that shows you don’t care. Eat differently at work, train differently at the gym. The more you do things differently in public, the less you’ll care.
  • Agree. Life isn’t like school where you get points for giving the right answer. It doesn’t matter who is right. Agree. Or say you’re free to think differently. Or tell them that you might be wrong, that you’re often wrong about things. What they think doesn’t matter anyway.
  • Ignore. Focus your time & efforts on the achievements of your goals. Again: it doesn’t matter what they say or think, so don’t waste time replying to/trying to win arguments.
  • Be Confident. Wise-guys can believe what they say so much, even when wrong, that they can make you doubt about your own stuff. Don’t rely on what people say. Do your own research. Read books.

You’ll meet people who won’t agree with our philosophy. Who won’t agree with training for strength, using weight lifting exercises, to build muscle and lose fat. Fine. They’ll do what they want, we’ll do what we want.

Sometimes I get challenged. I’ve been challenged on the cardiovascular fitness post for example. Genuine questions: I have answers. Challenges: I don’t have time for you. You have the Internet, do your own research.

Sure I could be wrong. I’m often wrong. Anthony wrote my attitude changed since he started to come here. Expect it to change more in the future. Nothing is permanent except change. I’m in a constant learning phase.

Do you know Wise-guys? How do you deal with them? Share in the comments.

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