You’ll hear time and time again in any industry where people will accuse a successful person of being a “douchebag” when they meet them. While this is not the case for everyone, there does seem to be a trend where a certain celebrity, entrepreneur, or executive has rubbed someone the wrong way when they meet for the first time. While it’s easy to dismiss all other thoughts and simply label these people as “douchebags,” there are reasons to everything. Here are five:
When meeting someone of high-stature, they are most likely constantly facing challenges and are bombarded with problems to solve everyday. To make it short- successful people are usually busy as hell. With that being said, you have no clue what has been going on in his/her day, sometimes it’s simply just not a good time for them to interact with anyone, especially someone they’ve just met. While this doesn’t give them an excuse to be rude, they deserve some slack with the amount of crap they deal with all the time- and it’s a lot.
As human beings, I feel that we tend to focus on judging others actions before we judge our own. Someone may react negatively to you and offend you, but have you ever stopped to think what you might have done to warrant such a response? Kanye West is known to be rude and hostile towards paparazzi, but in many instances, these people are bothering him at 4 am outside his house or when he’s on a personal lunch. If someone were to try and network with you during clearly awful times like this, would you react positively? Yeah, didn’t think so. Think before you act. The more you focus on being considerate of others, the better everyone will react to you.
The upside to success is all the financial and personal bonuses that come with it- the downside is that you’ll slowly find more and more people trying to get something out of you. This is normal as once you reach the top of the mountain, the ones on the bottom want a hand up. Most successful people I’ve met have slowly developed a filter when they meet people for the first time; they can smell an opportunist a mile away. Instead, focus on what you can provide for them first, it will put you ahead of the gazillion other people who approach them for help. In the words of Venture Capitalist Brad Feld:
“Give before you get. If you follow that principle, you will build a great network. Make sure you are providing real value to the people you are trying to meet and network with.”
Let’s face it, successful people are talking to someone everyday, whether it’s meetings, running a company, getting pitched business ideas, shooting with a crew all day, etc. Sometimes they are simply burned out and aren’t in the mood to meet new people. The Playboy King of Instagram Dan Bilzerian pretty much sums up this point:
“…I’m kind of a no new friends type of guy you know? So everybody’s here like they’re trying to get something and everybody’s got a f*cking business idea so I don’t really listen to that shit. I’m not trying to filter through any of that stuff anymore. I do business with people I know and I kind of leave it at that. I don’t know, after you reach a certain point, everybody is trying to pitch you their idea… You just gotta shut it all off so I don’t even pay attention to those people.”
Simply put: Successful people like to hang out with other people who are successful. After all, “you are the average of the five people you hang out with” and you sure as hell would want to keep that average high. While this does indeed make things more “transactional,” it’s the harsh reality that you’ll have to face. As you become more successful, your time also becomes more valuable, so you’ll have to be careful of how you allocate your time. This doesn’t mean successful people are bad, you can’t base a person’s character on a simple interaction with you. To refer back to point one, you have no idea what this person does on his free time to give back; don’t be mad if you just so happen to NOT be the recipient.
If you do somehow get someone to budge and help you out in some way, just be grateful and accept what you get. But seriously, don’t ask for anymore than that. While this seems like common sense, you’d be surprise the amount of people out there who ask for a small favor, and that favor slowly grows into something bigger. This will definitely turn the other person off and you’ll potentially be left with nothing.
So the next time you get the chance to rub elbows with an industry leader, celebrity, or executive, be mindful of the points above. The key is to always think about the other person’s needs first, not yours. Remember this or else risk being like everyone else left with nothing where you justify it by labeling others who are actually doing great things as “douchebags.”