Pity the Loud, Rude and Belligerent: External Behavior as the Ultimate Tell
I’m not the most political person but I’ve long been an observer of politics and geopolitics particularly. As a history enthusiast and long time international investor, you have to be aware of what’s happening at the global macro level of economics, demographics, sociographics & military changes. What I found disturbing is the recent growing belligerence of China that has happened under Xi-Jinping. The crackdown on corruption & also the wealthy, the breakup of big tech giants, aggressive “Wolf Warrior” diplomacy that has emerged in most countries by the Chinese diplomatic corp. We also see the increasing PLA military flexing across the straits of Taiwan, the Spratly Islands with Vietnam & Philippines and more antagonism with India on their border. The “peaceful rise” of China is definitely over with many so-called geopolitical experts and media luminaries commenting that this is due to Chinese ever growing power.
Yet looking at the data, we see some really deep problems underneath. The Chinese population is shrinking (at least 20% in next decade), the economy is slowing with major real estate industry collapse & growing percentage of Non-Performing-Loans in all their banks. China has also faced major electricity shortages that have left millions in the literal dark (September 2021) and intractable environmental issues such as bad air and water quality. To understand the real situation, this growing aggression and belligerence stems from weakness, not strength.
These aggressive internal and external projections are ones of attempting control, redirecting internal populace’s attention to outside issues and hiding their own problems. No different than when an animal postures by standing on its hind legs to look bigger and taller than their opponent.
The point of this is not to call out China specifically but as a point relevant to people, companies and countries as a whole as well. When you run into someone who is rude or aggressive, it’s not because they are happy or their life is going well. It’s because they feel insecure or are threatened. A wounded animal strikes out against those around it.
Happy confident people don’t feel the need to react, they tend to let things slide.
I think back to my own life. When things are going well in general, you tend to be pretty tolerant of things. When things are not going well, you tend to operate on a hair trigger. For me personally, I’d get easily tilted. Little small things cause me to lose my temper.
It’s the same for those who feel the need to flex or brag or even worse dunk on other people. These are sad, massively insecure people. We are all insecure to some extent and many of us got to where we are in life by using this as an internal driver. An internal driver that is used to accomplish things and prove others wrong. This is an incredible tool but you also have to learn to reign it in. And knowing, recognizing and celebrating your accomplishments are important to build this confidence.
So going back to the title. When you are faced with a braggart, loudmouth or someone incredibly rude. Be patient, show them pity and tolerance or just ignore them. They are fighting a battle internally that they don’t understand and their behavior is the bad outcome of this. Also be careful in business of taking someone’s bragging too seriously. Quoting Tywin Lannister from Game of Thrones, “Any man who must say, ‘I am the king,’ is no true king.”