How to Deal with Negativity, Assholes, and Discouragement

alden tan how to dealToday’s post is by Alden Tan. If you don’t know Alden, you should — especially if you allow me into you inbox every day. At 27-years-old, he’s further along to embracing his unpopular edge than I was at his age. I came across a guest post of his on ThinkTraffic and knew I had to get him over here so you could meet him. Buckle up your shit — Alden’s here.

Hate is a damn strong word and I for one am proud to say I constantly manage to stave off much of it in my life.

Check this:

In 2011, I quit my job to do the whole “follow your dream” thing. I lost my income and any form of stability in life.

That also meant my college degree became useless. I got criticized for that — heavily.

Fast forward half a year later. I met my girlfriend in Bangkok. Under all the excitement, I dove in and started a relationship with her. Fairy tale? Not bloody likely.

What ensued was lots of discouragement, like Long distance never works bro! and bullshit stereotypes like She’s Thai. HAHA you like ladyboys! “Friends” are awesome, aren’t they?

Why does shit like that happen?

Beats me.

The world has over 7 billion people and thanks to handy things like to emotions, there’s always going to be conflict.

It happens whether we like it or not. And we don’t like it, so we wonder why it keeps coming at us.

Have you ever considered that (just maybe) YOU are the source?

What You Heard is Never What You Believe

Life is unfair.

Life is like that. 

Get over it.

YOU are the one letting thoughts like those run your life. Others might be lining up to cram them in there, but you’re the one opening the door and cooking them breakfast.

It is true that things get in the way, be it in your business, relationships or personal life, but that’s not to say those obstacles have to stay there.

Are you accepting things like a new cult recruit?

Are you always listening, and never questioning?

Do you accept something as a “norm” even though it makes you feel like shit?

What I do know, and what you need to know is that your truth comes from your own experience. You only have one shot at life, and nothing is more wasteful than holding back from doing what you love because assholes want to draw you into their negativity trap.

Choice is always yours.

Otherwise I wouldn’t be the Thai-girl loving guy I’m today — and a fucking happy one at that. So let’s talk about how to DEAL and stop being your own biggest problem.

How to Deal

Negativity: None of that cheesy positive thinking mumbo jumbo here. You overcome negative thinking by simply getting out there and getting shit done. Stop whining and get something done.

Remember how accomplishment feels? Yeah. That.

One little trick most people overlook is to simply IGNORE the bad stuff around you.

Stop it completely. Ignore bizarre headlines. Don’t click on the random video on Facebook depicting gore and other time suck-flavored bullshit. Drop the papers. Read less on Huffington Post instead of more.

It’s never worth it and does nothing for you and your motivation. The train wrecks don’t make us appreciate life more. They remind us that it’s easier to pay attention to all of the shit out there than it is to find a way out of our own shit.

Assholes: Everyone has one. Many people are one. You’re going to encounter people who just want to bring you down for no reason.

Assholes exist to be miserable. They’re fueled by that negativity I talked about a few lines up. Assholes are so insecure that they have to bring everyone else down to their level. They’ll never rise to yours.

So when you come across people who are just looking for trouble, just ask yourself, “Do I want to be that miserable?” Maybe you do, but I’m guessing you don’t.

Then leave the assholes behind to swim in their cesspools and go get some shit done. Assholes never get anything done.

Discouragement: It feels pretty shitty when people around you are quick to disagree when you share awesome thoughts. Isn’t it funny how people are ready to line up more often in the criticism line than the praise line? Sure, not every idea or action is worth praise. But there’s a difference between honesty and just being a negative nag.

The ONLY thing you need to do for yourself is to purge toxic people from your life and start hanging out with positive people.

Sounds easy. I know it’s hard, though.

I’ve found myself staying in undesirable company due to some half-hearted obligation. They’re called weddings, birthdays, baby showers, reunions and company retreats. Sometimes I even label these people as friends.

Sometimes I’m just making up excuses to keep from cutting the cord because I’m afraid of hurting someone’s feelings. What I forget is that they’ve already spent plenty of time hurting mine.

Obligation never trumps purpose. Ever. And if someone doesn’t have a benefit-laden purpose in your life, ditch ’em.

Seek out, as Erika calls them, the Front Stabbers. Be honest with them. They’ll be honest with you. And while the truth might hurt, it’s a lot easier to buy praise from someone you know is being honest than someone who’s likely just to be placating you. This is one environmental hack that will make you soar.

So Maybe…

You are the problem. Maybe you’re the one inviting the assholes drenched in negativity into your life. If that’s the case, you’re the only one who can stop it — because I’ll guarantee the assholes will keep being assholes. I know that I can often be my own problem. Sometimes, though, I get lucky and take my own advice. This morning, I looked at what taking my own advice got me — and she’s beautiful. Here’s to finding your beautiful — as it’ll never happen unless you realize that you’re the one at the reigns and in control of this thing called life.


Alden TanAlden Tan is all about helping people revive their lives. After his father passed away from Lou Gherig’s Disease (ALS), he was fed up letting life live him and decided to live the shit out of his life. You can find him around the interwebz, guest blogging on sites like ThinkTraffic, ProBlogger, and others. If you’re so inclined, you can score a copy of his free eBook called Revive Your Life. Otherwise, you can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. Bop over to his blog for more real world shit that skips the fluffy and useless and doubles down on the real.

20 replies
  1. Annie Sisk
    Annie Sisk says:

    Excellent. Shared with many friends and a few clients. Getting people OUT of their patterned thought habits is so hard – showing them where they’re giving away their power is the best way I’ve found of helping them create real change.

  2. skyddsdrake
    skyddsdrake says:

    First of all, I’d like to congratulate you for thinking outside your degree, Alden!  I caught a lot of flack for that, too.
    There is so much of this that I agree with; getting rid of the negativity, dropping the assholes, not letting the discouragement get to you.  There is a lot in this message I would love to share with people.
    I think, though, that I may have a less than popular opinion about one thing, though.  Maybe it’s because of my field, or maybe it stems from my own, personal experiences.  Perhaps I’m one of those people who isn’t ready to take on the responsibility of my own future (although I’m consistently told I take TOO much responsibility).  I tend to have a knee-jerk reaction to the word “whining.”  It comes with such a heavy load of shame for me, and for many of the people I’ve worked with.  I think some people have genuine bouts of depression and anxiety based on their experiences in life, and I would hate to invalidate their need to talk about it.  I understand that’s not the point of this article.  Not even a little bit!  I just had a rather strong reaction to it myself, and thought I’d offer that feedback from another perspective.
    Mostly, though, I’d like to say thank you!  Your story is very inspiring, Alden!  I appreciate your sharing of it. 🙂

    • AldenTan
      AldenTan says:

      skyddsdrake The last time I was told to stop “whining” was when I was interning as a writer, first time in the office for me. My supervisor was a bitch. Now that word gives me a knee jerk reaction of wanting to repel bitches.
      I think “talking about it” and whining are different. Whining means overboard. It means time to let it go and just try to move on.
      But hey, if you’re thinking about it already, means you’re on your way. Being self-aware is awesome.

      • skyddsdrake
        skyddsdrake says:

        AldenTan That’s a good reframe.  I like it. 🙂  As for self-awareness, my graduate program didn’t really allow anything else.  (It was of the mental health field variety.)  Also, thanks for giving me something that involves the words “repels” and “bitches” to my daily reminders board.  It’s a keeper!

  3. ggauvin
    ggauvin says:

    Alden, and Erika of course, thanks.
    I’m actually dealing with an asshole and I just realized it. I am not a mean person, so I keep forgiving people when they make mistakes. But there’s a huge difference between making mistakes and…. being an asshole. 
    You gave me the courage to fired that asshole and stop introducing negativity into my life. 
    Ouf! Really needed to hear this! I was the problem.

    • AldenTan
      AldenTan says:

      ggauvin Hahah that is awesome… so he’s really fired?
      Don’t be so hard on yourself, calling yourself “problem” and shit.
      Being forgiving is cool. Being nice is cool. Just make sure next time you don’t border over on submissive. 
      Lol assholes ARE living mistakes.

  4. WTFMarketing
    WTFMarketing says:

    Zing! I love it… YOU are the cause of all your problems.
    I love it and hate it when I have to tell clients that (usually not about jerks, but sometimes when it comes to social media mismanagement).
    Hang around the kinds of people you want to share values with; I just told my cousin this morning: some people are worth being nice to. Some aren’t. The trick is having enough energy to stay nice to everybody until you figure out who’s wasting your energy 🙂
    Great post Alden!

    • AldenTan
      AldenTan says:

      WTFMarketing Hey dude!
      For real man. Nice is overrated.
      I think we have this idea that we *must* be nice and civil and all that. 
      The only reason I’m nice is so I don’t make a scene. 
      I prefer to ignore. Screw being nice.

  5. LowenahvanAdrichem
    LowenahvanAdrichem says:

    Such an eye-opener!! Thanks for this post… you only forgot to mention the brown noser//ass-kissers.. it seems when there’s assholes there’s always the ass-kissers as well…


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