In one of his comedy routines, Chris Rock drops a funny and I assume true story about bullies, most notably in his daughter’s private school. He says, “. . .bullies do half the work. Teachers do the other half, but it’s the bully half that you’ll actually use in the real world.” When the principal assured him there were no bullies in their private school he threatened to take his daughter out.
Now I’m sure he doesn’t really fully believe that but, based on my own experience, he does have a point. It wasn’t until I was bullied in elementary school that I overcame being bullied!
Even by age 11 the only smaller person in my class was my best friend Rob. So we were the target of bullies, most notably Jerry (name changed to protect innocence) who was quite a bit taller. Jerry like to pull our hair, and, sneak up from behind and put us in choke holds. The latter was terrifying. I didn’t dare complain to a teacher or the bullying would simply intensify. I missed a lot of school pretending to be sick.
During one of those fake sick days I came across an ad for a self defense course- ironically -in my Superman comic book. Out of hope and desperation I sent off my $1.00 and waited. A week later a slim booklet arrived which, to my surprise, had a tactic for disabling someone choking you from behind! I practiced and rehearsed and practiced in my bedroom.
The next time Jerry attempted to strangle me, with little confidence it would work, I nevertheless executed the steps: Reach back over each shoulder and grab the assailant’s clothing. Bend forward and crouch down. Then thrust up powerfully with your legs while pulling down with your hands. To my shock and delight, Jerry went flying over my head, upside down, and landed badly on the pavement. He missed a couple of days of school.
Happily, all the bullying stopped. Interestingly, Jerry became part of our little group and a friend as well.
1. Fear of harm is a powerful motivator.
2. There are people out there who you’ve never met and never will meet who have valuable information to share with you.
3. Research, education and mastery can transform your life.
4. Most bullies aren’t evil, they just need someone to get their attention and set boundaries.
5. Enemies can become friends.
After that incident, my peers seemed to believe I had special knowledge in all areas of life and I became a sort of amatuer therapist, then and throughout junior high as well. Which almost always consisted of me just listening without offering any solace or advice.
It wasn’t until working with a story-telling coach this year that I realized that 6th grade bully set me on my current course decades ago and explains why I enjoy this profession so much:
It is very gratifying to research, curate and implement for my clients the best strategies for handling their “bullies”. The bully of taxes. The bully of running out of money. The bully of old age. The bully of market risk. The bully of ill health. The bullies of fear, greed and jealousy. And the big one, the bully of time relentlessly racing by without filling it with life , with what you want, with happiness.
Your Constructive Comments are Welcome!