7: Acting the fool is an underrated skill

It’s funny how we work towards getting smarter all our lives, only to act dumb sometimes just to get the desired result.

On the surface, being the fool in any situation looks bad and condescending. Nobody wants to be in that position that makes them appear like a “mumu”. But when you look deeper, it can sometimes be the wildcard you need to win specific battles.

You can contest it all you want, but there are times when we have had to pretend to like someone because being in their good books is the only way to get what we want. This plays out a lot in politics or workplaces.

In our relationship with people, especially the ones that we love, the one thing that makes it work is our ability to overlook “moments of foolishness”. For instance, a happy home is one in which each member’s foolishness is tolerated or condoned, at least for a moment, just for the sake of peace.

Even in dealing with adversaries, deceiving the enemy to think one is stupid has proven to be a working strategy many times.

At the root of human desire is the need to feel significant. Everybody wants to feel important even if in the given circumstances, they are not. Feeling significant is an emotional need that needs to be satisfied from time to time.

Recognizing this need allows us to endure the insufferable boss, the unreasonable spouse, or the entitled customer. You may look foolish to onlookers, but what you have simply done is identify their need to “be right” at the moment and “acting wrong” is the only way you can make them reason along with you.

Learning to play the fool is a skill that will help you deal with people at all levels. You will find it easier to navigate difficult situations and come out with what you want. The dividends might not be immediate, but when they come, you will have the last laugh.

Don’t try to be the smart one every time.

Sometimes, act the fool.

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