OLD RANT – When cleverer people get the upper hand

bully when people are clever than you
Man holding and shouting at co-worker

In my previous job, I got embarrassed by a work colleague over my use of the English language while I was trying to explain my assistance with a problem the whole company was having.

Right there, I just felt like a kid again. Somebody clever than me bullied me.

In my defense, I suffer from the same type of stigma that most do: when you’re in the company of people you place your trust in, in most occasions you fall back on the most comfortable form of speech that is only understood by those who work close to you. This is relevantly a form of trust you impose on the other, and in most occasions when you’re being asked to be clearer, it’s only that their brain isn’t switched on either and they’d like to continue on with the conversation, whereupon you acknowledge it and rev the engine up to get to the destination.

But in that very moment where this person had cleverly nitpicked at my flaw and exposed it to others who laughed at my embarrassment, I felt so small and useless that my instant reaction was to hold my hands up and walk away.

But while, back in my youth when I didn’t know better and the education I was receiving wasn’t stimulating my knowledge, now in my later life I feel all the years of wasted life flooding before my very eyes.

And this highlights a very important point that some people may share: you will meet someone out there that is better than you and they’ll let you know about.

And I hear the same bullshit motivational crap from people, who say “Don’t let him get to you, you’re great at other things.” and they’re right, it shouldn’t get to me. But it does, it really does. And it affects me in the arena of stand-up comedy too.

I’m a performer, I speak on stage, I try to win the hearts of those before me so that they might like me, as I retain gratification from the acknowledgement of others. And while the wonderful people who repost other Facebook’s motivational posters will tell you, you should never seek acknowledgement from others lest your life be empty of how you feel about yourself.

But in this day and age, loving yourself doesn’t pay the bills.

What the hell am I supposed to do with my own self-acknowledgement while I’m working hard writing jokes and handling the rejections that occur day to day? While comedians learn to feel rejection on stage, it’s the off-stage rejection that really hurts; other comedians who have greater understanding, better confidence that they can bestow onto others by taking the time, that reject you because of basic flaws that can be improved just by giving them that pat on the back, “Don’t worry, everyone dies.”, while most just slink away so they don’t get the negative vibe you’re feeling instead.

I don’t like playing the popularity game, for not everyone can play it. But I don’t mind losing out to a huge crowd of people. But if a peer does it to me, it’s frustrating and drives me insane.

This is more a rant to make myself feel better than anything else, and does not pose any real solutions to a self-propagated problem that we all face but never talk about as it never feels popular or exhudes too much morosity. But sorry, you don’t know me and I’d like for you to at least know why I’m silent sitting in the corner trying to improve on the other skill I do have, aka give people a good time.

Just as I would try my very best not to let your ego overcome my sense of self-worth, I’d like you to know that your ego that drives you to success affects those around you, and this planet is big enough for both of us, so be nice or go on ahead. I’ll catch up my own way.

And meanwhile, I’ll try not to be a bully too.

About the author

Nelson De Gouveia

Nelson has been writing since he can remember, and even won a diploma for public speaking, albeit 20 years ago.
He works full time, loves his girlfriend and plays Batman on his Xbox a lot, even when it's finished.

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