The natural tendency with fools is to lower yourself to their level. They annoy you, get under your skin, and draw you into a battle. In the process, you feel petty and confused. You lose a sense of what is really important. You can’t win an argument or get them to see your side or change their behavior, because rationality and results don’t matter to them. You simply waste valuable time and emotional energy.
In dealing with fools you must adopt the following philosophy: they are simply a part of life, like rocks or furniture. All of us have foolish sides, moments in which we lose our heads and think more of our ego or short-term goals. It is human nature. Seeing this foolishness within you, you can then accept it in others. This will allow you to smile at their antics, to tolerate their presence as you would a silly child, and to avoid the madness of trying to change them. It is all part of the human comedy, and it is nothing to get upset about or lose sleep over.
If, like Graham, you simply do not have the patience that is required for managing and mastering the more subtle and manipulative sides of human nature, then your best answer is to keep yourself away from those situations as best as possible. This will rule out working in groups larger than a handful of people—above a certain number, political considerations inevitably rise to the surface. This means working for yourself or on very small startups.
Even still, it is generally wise to try to gain the rudiments of social intelligence—to be able to read and recognize the sharks, and to charm and disarm difficult people. The reason is that no matter how hard you might try to avoid situations that call for such knowledge, the world is one large teeming court of intrigue, and it will inevitably pull you in. Your conscious attempt to opt out of the system will retard your apprenticeship in social intelligence and can make you vulnerable to the worst forms of naïveté, with all of the disasters that are likely to ensue.
Mastery by Robert Greene