Text and photo: Stefan Nilsson
The Buddha shared many wise words that inspired millions of people over thousands of years. “Weak people revenge. Strong people forgive. Intelligent people ignore” is one of his best.
Another way to put this is like American rock group Mötley Crüe did with the 1989 song: “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)”. They likely borrowed that line from a dialogue in the 1986 movie “Heartbreak Ridge”, where a soldier in the Marines refuses to provide any information to a sergeant, dismissing him with the line, “Don’t go away mad, just go away.”
Having the right group dynamics is key to collective success, whether it is a hedge fund team or a football team. Purdue University biologist William Muir’s super-chicken experiment was an eye-opener for many. Super-chicken type workers often keep their colleagues down so that they themselves can stay on top. It is necessary for any organisation to have a diverse team, including weaker workers, for long-term sustainability. It is desirable to have collaboration and cooperation among employees. An organisation needs employees that collaborate rather than compete. It needs team members working together for the good of the business. In order to create a productive workplace, we need harmony and perhaps in some situations a good balance of weak, strong and intelligent people. Over a couple of pints of beer in a pub (and some Cumberland sausages), some may argue that intelligent people sometimes should use the weak people to carry out their dirty work.
The Pareto principle, also known as “the law of the vital few”, states that for many outcomes, roughly 80% of consequences come from 20% of causes. The concept was developed by Joseph M. Juran and named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who noted the 80/20 connection while at the University of Lausanne in 1896 (he noticed that approximately 80% of Italy’s land was owned by 20% of the population). This principle has been found to naturally apply in many situations. It is an adage in the business world that “80% of sales come from 20% of clients”. A development of this is the 2:6:2 theory. 2:6:2 is a theoretical workforce percentage ratio of a standard business. It is based on the idea that 20% of the workforce consists of high performers, 60% are normal workers doing a half-decent job and 20% are likely to fall below expectations. Thus, the 2:6:2 theory can be seen as supporting the mix of intelligent, strong and weak people.
Another good quote from our Buddha: “No matter how badly someone treats you, never drop down to their level. Remain calm, stay strong, and walk away.”