Your Mental Model is Flawed
I've long been amused at people who tell you what you "should" do or "shouldn't" do. Occasionally I've been annoyed. Always I have challenged them back on these declarations, asking them
"Who decided that people should do this?"
"How did you come by this information?"
"How do you know with certainty that this is right, and others who believe the opposite are wrong?"
This tends to aggravate the individuals prone to moralizing and polarizing to no end. They become flustered and upset. Sometimes they will respond to you and tell you that you are being morally relativistic, and that moral relativism is wrong, because clearly there is a clear black and white, right and wrong, good and bad in the world.
When asked to explain why heroes to some are villains to others, and villains to some are heroes to others, they simply stutter, stretch, and eventually use blanket statements to cast entire civilizations of people as "wrong," never understanding that the members of the very civilization they call "wrong" would call them "wrong," too.
Rather than engage in lengthy, unending debates with these people these days, however, and spend precious time trying to convince those who are so certain their views are right that they are viewing things too closed-minded and too far to the extremes, I prefer now to just tell them one simple thing that cuts to the heart of the matter as best I know how:
Your mental model is flawed.
In Jeff Hawkins's book On Intelligence, he postulates that one of the primary functions of the brain is to serve as a modeling and predictive engine, and that the human brain is the best out there of these modeling and predictive engines.
To make the case for this at first rather sensational claim, he cites the example of walking down a flight of steps and missing one of the steps. Why is this so startling?
Whether you miss a step, or you put your foot down expecting to drop to another step only to find you've hit the bottom of the staircase, you end up surprised and alarmed. This common, ubiquitous phenomenon (I'm pretty sure it's happened to damn near everyone on Earth who uses flights of stairs at least every once in a blue moon) isn't something we spend much time thinking about when it happens; of course we'd be startled about missing a stair or being on the ground floor when we thought we were on the staircase! It's... not what was expected.
We expect the stair to be there, or not.
We expect the light switch on the wall to be there when we reach for it to turn it on.
We expect our parents to be happy to see us, our girlfriend or wife to smile and greet us, our children or dog or maybe (sometimes) the cat to be happy when they see us.
And when one of these things goes not as we expect it to, we become alarmed. Something's amiss!
Hawkins's conclusions about the brain are my very favorite sort, short of actual scientific tests on the veracity of claims; it's reductive reasoning, looking at a phenomenon and asking oneself, "Why should this be so?"
With a predictive mental model, this is easy enough to answer from a brain efficiency standpoint: it's simply more efficient to learn the way things are and expect them to be that way than it is to need to be constantly on alert, learning and re-learning and re-re-learning things over and over and over again, never being able to know, expect, or anticipate anything.
The brain evolved as a prediction engine simply because it's easier, and far more adaptive, than being a brain that doesn't predict anything.
The Mental Model as Rationale
for Moral Outrage
Most scientists spend a lot of time debating where morals come from. Are they ingrained in us? Are they learned? Are some ingrained (e.g., thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not covet thy sister) and others are learned (e.g., thou shalt not steal thy neighbor's minivan)?
I have a simpler theory than this. My theory is this:
Morals are nothing but the rules upon which an individual's mental model is built.
They are the rules he learns from childhood, etched into his mind by observing others, and by acting and being rewarded or reprimanded. Based on how people act around him, and are rewarded or punished for acting, he builds his mental model:
“The world operates in this way. People are right for doing these things (helping others in need, taking care of those they're responsible). People are wrong for doing those other things (tricking and manipulating people, hurting others). These things no one much cares about (sleeping in late on the weekend, eating more pizza than usual one day a week). So, if I want to be a good person with a successful life, I should do the right things, not do the wrong things, and I can do or not do the things that are neither right nor wrong at my own discretion.”
The problem comes when someone with one mental model encounters someone with a different mental model.
Take a used car salesman.
I once bought a used, but beautiful, black Mercedes-Benz E320 from a used car dealer. My car before that was a red Mitsubishi Galant, which was reliable but not perfect, but it was totaled in an accident when a girl violently changing lanes during slow-moving morning rush hour traffic caused another car, trying to avoid hitting her, to swerve violently out of control, crash into my car, and send me careening across three highway lanes and into a 9' cement wall at 45 miles an hour. My car prior to that, my first car, had been a red Subaru Legacy that I beat to hell: plumes of smoke poured out from under the hood, I constantly had to stop and put more coolant into its leaky coolant system that one mechanic after another could not repair, and after plugging along for 5 years it finally gave out on me one week after I moved with it to Washington, D.C., on a Friday afternoon.
Compared to those other cars, which were both very good, reliable vehicles, my E320 was the best car I've ever owned.
Yet, when I purchased it, I'd had it inspected and was told there weren't any problems. A week after my purchase, the engine light came on, and the breaks began to squeal horribly. I took it back to the dealer, but his reply was a cold one: "That's on you, bro."
"That's on me, bro?" I thought. I'd just paid $2,000 over the Kelly Blue-Book price, and now I was being told I'd need to pay $1700 in repairs, and that was on me, bro?
I'd been a salesman for years. When people came to me with problems, I always fixed them. It wasn't my business, but... I wanted customers to come back. I wanted them to tell their friends about me, and about our store. I wanted them to walk out of there saying, "That's the best damn tire store I've ever been to," and turn people who normally didn't care one way or the other about where they bought their tires into loyal brand evangelists who buy there for life and tell all their friends about us. That was how you sold, I thought.
And here was a guy with an entirely different outlook on things. A transaction was a transaction was a transaction, and once it was done, and you had the product, and he had the money, that was the end of your relationship. What you felt about his business or what you told to other people, well... that was your stuff. He didn't want to see you again, unless you brought more money to spend.
I was angered. I was outraged.
My mental model was flawed. This was not how salesman were supposed to act, I thought... but clearly, despite how I thought people were supposed to act, some people were acting that way anyway.
My moral outrage was caused by a violation of things going the way I predicted they would go.
Differing Levels of Outrage
Obviously, due to the kinds of material that's taught on this site, we get differing levels of moral outrage on here in response to different posts.
The post "Should You Pay for a Date?" is one that frequently attracts:
- Women who are outraged that men would dare not pay for dates with them, and
- Men who are outraged that women would dare ask them to pay for dates.
There are plenty of calm, balanced replies on there from individuals of both genders, but when you see the outrage, that's where it is. (There are also some men outraged that other men won't pay, and women annoyed [if not quite outraged] that other women ask men to pay. That one's all over the map)
Other posts that attracted or continue to attract periodic bursts of outrage are the one on ego depletion (some people are outraged that at the discussion of hard push / hard sell tactics there); how many partners a girl's had (some women are outraged that we'd even discuss this in the first place); the post on when a girl has a boyfriend (some men are outraged that we'd teach something like this); and of course Ricardus's old lightning rod that led to calls the site was in decline, on what he learned about escalation from porn star and seducer California Pimp (make sure you read Part II, linked to at the end of the post, before you get too upset on that one).
Most of the most vitriolic comments never get approved, of course... I want things that are going to contribute the conversation here, not negative diatribes whose only purpose is to vomit up the author's bad feelings onto the Internet to be preserved into perpetuity. But that's a small sample of the most outrage-inducing posts on this website.
If you head to one of those articles and read through the comments, you'll see different levels of outrage. Some people feel like the WORLD is ending... others are mildly annoyed. And you don't see the ones who'd probably stab me in the jugular if they could... the ones who are just spitting obscenities and cursing and acting like the article author murdered their little sister. Those ones simply don't get approved.
Why the differing levels of outrage here?
Why does politics cause some people to become so incensed, and others to bat nary an eyelash?
Why does religion cause some people to ride out on a jihad or a crusade, and others to shrug and go about their business?
Why don't people all react the SAME?
Part of this is personality differences. But the other part is - wait for it - their mental models.
In some mental models, some of this stuff just isn't a big deal, while in others, it feels like a grave threat to the individual's very way of life. The women who risk reduced options in dating if men find out they have high partner counts and are greater infidelity risks, and the men who risk losing unhappy girlfriends to men better able to meet those women's needs if men learn how to satisfy the masses of underserved women out there, feel the threat strongly and gravely. And because self-improvement and changing oneself is not a part of their mental models, they don't look at how they can improve themselves to avoid these issues, and instead fly into a rage in the hopes of scaring and silencing others into compliance.
But that is the providence of the weak, and it is effective only with the weak.
The bigger problem here is, if you are someone who's self-improvement-oriented... if you aren't happy with yourself for flying into impotent moral outrage in judgment and condemnation of others... if you want to become more powerful, more effective, calmer, and better able to get the things you want out of life... what can you do instead of judge, moralize, and fume?
I have a confession to make: I'm no more free of moral indignation than anyone else.
In fact, I may even feel it more than most.
There are certain things that upset me a great deal, and certain
things I absolutely expect out of people. There are principles that I
will clamp down on people in my life with an iron fist for violating,
like loyalty, trust, and failing to honor their word. In these, I am
both willing to forgive someone who is truly conciliatory, and also
very willing to battle to the end, out-maneuver, and outlast an
opponent who refuses to reconcile and continues to move against me.
I think to be very successful at anything, you have to be driven by some degree of passion and self-righteousness. You must believe that your cause is the cause of the light, and other causes are murky and misleading and misanthropic, if not outright malfeasant. The moral impetus this lends to your cause makes doing the impossible possible; it gave wings to people like Steve Jobs, Nikola Tesla, and Alexander the Great. It's been the moral foundation of every great religious leader, from Moses to Buddha to Jesus to Mohammed. It's provided the thrust behind prominent recent political leaders, from Lincoln to Churchill to, yes, even Hitler. Whether you're the "good guy" or the "bad guy" to any particular group of people, chances are if you are prominent, powerful, and successful, commanding and charismatic, you are driven by moral passion and righteousness.
However, if you go about being outraged about petty things, you will spend your life engaged in petty debates, and never moving beyond small concerns. Your passions, misdirected, can as easily trap you as they can set you free. You must seek to free your mind of small issues if you ever want to engage on the larger ones and bring bigger and greater things into your circle.
How you do this is in part gathering new reference points; and it is in part by forcing yourself to get into the head of someone passionate on the other side, and to feel as they do... to feel the opposite of what you feel right now.
Empathizing Your Way to Better Mental Models
I once had a friend and business partner take a good deal of money from a joint business of ours that I and a third business partner had contributed. Without the money we'd contributed, and myself and the third business partner now deeply in debt from having taken out loans against our persons to fund the business, this business, still young and not yet producing revenue, could no longer pay its bills, and I was forced to shut it down and lay off its nine employees. The (now former) friend who had made off with the business's money frittered it away on vacations and frivolities of his own, then returned, penniless, not to apologize, but to demand we pay him more for his "services" (he had been a full partner in the business, same as myself and the other partner).
My reaction, of course, was one of outrage; we'd been conned, robbed, and hoodwinked by this mercenary, and here he was demanding more? It was one of the few times in my life I found myself absolutely stunned and unable to comprehend how someone could behave the way this individual was.
I had several later businesses that did not work out as well as I'd hoped. Most of these business I spent a half a year or more each building. When they didn't grow as fast as I'd have liked, I simply gave them to my other partners and got out; I didn't want money, I didn't want equity, I didn't want to negotiate. I simply gave them away. I didn't want to divide my focus between things I was working on that were going well, and things that I considered "failed ventures." I knew the other partners cared about these businesses and wanted to continue to work on them and make them succeed; I did not, and I didn't want to be burdened with fighting over small, not-yet-successful startups.
To me, the friendships and
affiliations were far more valuable then any small amount of money I
could fight and extract out of these still-small businesses - and my
former partners. These businesses were not worth much, but the
friendships and partnerships I'd had would likely continue to pay
dividends, quite possibly in ways I could not anticipate at the time,
years down the road. They might not, or they might so. Many times in my
life I've had people from years past contact me to offer me things I
never anticipated them being in a position to offer me that changed my
life radically for the better.
What I finally had to come and realize to understand his behavior was that this former friend and business partner of mine saw things totally differently. He did not see any value in retaining individuals and friends and confidantes; his personal and business history was one rife with falling outs again and again with everyone he interacted with.
And so, he adopted his mercenary-like behavior: with everyone he interacted with, he assumed he would eventually fall into disfavor with them, and become bitter enemies. Thus, rather than build for the long-term, he shifted his mindset to extracting value in the short-term, trying to get what he could now to guard against ending up with nothing later.
In so doing, he caused the very falling outs he so feared, and perpetuated the cycle, further reinforcing in his mind that all people eventually turn on him, and thus he must get value out of them now.
Both of us were acting out of
However, my self-interest functions under the mental model that if you
do good with people, and end on good terms, some of them will sometimes
return to offer you boons you never expected and that are far more
valuable than anything you could "extract" from them in the short-term.
my former friend's self-interest functions under the mental model that
once you're done with someone, you're done, so get what you can from
them, burn it to the ground, and worry not about the future because no
one ever stays your friend.
Most people without similar life experiences to this kind of person will never be able to understand this behavior. It will always perplex, confuse, anger, and enrage them. It's the very definition of a short-term mentality; "Get what you can now, for tomorrow isn't promised."
So where does empathy come into play? Why should you even bother understanding other people, other viewpoints, other ways of seeing and understanding and interacting with the world?
Because of this: the better able you are to understand the mental models of others, the better able you are to predict their actions, their reactions to you, their reactions to your reactions to their actions and reactions, and what they ultimately want and need and will do.
And this makes you better able to get what you want, help them get what they want (or avoid them entirely if they're someone you simply can't deal with), and make the world you both (or all) live in a better, stronger, and more rewarding place.
Gathering New Reference Points
The other aspect to mental model-building is gathering new reference points. I covered this fairly in-depth in the article linked to above, so I won't go over it again, but I will say that the more reference points you can gather on everything, the more complete your mental model will be.
To have the most comprehensive mental model you can, you must seek out experiences contrary to your prior ones. You need to find things that grossly violate your existing mental model. Things that are upsetting, confusing, and disorienting to you.
That means, if you come from a world where people are gracious and
generous to you, you'll want to spend some time around people who are
brutal, cutthroat, and ruthless. I did this after graduating from
college, and it was one of the greatest educations I had. Three of my
closest friends (two male friends, and one girlfriend) were devoid of
any real empathy (though they had reams of faux empathy); charming,
conniving people who came across like the most magnetic people in the
world, at their core they didn't really care about anyone other than
themselves, and were merciless in getting what they wanted out of
people, sometimes with charm, other times with brute force demanding,
intelligence, or manipulation.
I received a lot of bumps and
bruises hanging out around these kinds of people;
learned to be able to view the world through their eyes, and saw what a
polarized place it was for them - one filled with excitement, pleasure,
disgust, and fear. There is no gray zone for the unempathetic;
everything for them is totally good, or totally bad. In some ways, they
are far more logical than other people (such as in their ability to
calculate short-term costs and benefits), but in other ways, they are
much more emotional. They're talented at decision-making in the
immediacy of right now, but lacking in aptitude when it comes to
planning for the long-term.
In addition to the people you spend time around, I'd advise you to travel and experience cultures very different from yours. Live in other cities, countries, and cultures, if possible; immerse yourself in peoples who believe things different than you do now.
I grew up in a small, religious town on the East Coast of
the United States; from there I attended a big party school; I lived in
the nation's capital after that, overflowing with educated
intellectuals and working professionals; I then lived for three years
in California, in a town with a far more relaxed pace of life, where
most people's ambitions for life were enjoying themselves, hanging out,
and relaxing. I lived in Beijing, China, a city of 20 million people
with a fast-paced lifestyle in a country with one of the highest
average IQs in the world, where half of the populace is extremely
trusting and naive, and the other half is utterly shrewd, sharp, and at
times conniving. Right now as I write this I'm sitting on an airplane,
flying out of jungle country, back to civilization.
In each of these places you'll meet radically different people, with radically different mental models, and radically different ways of seeing the world.
At first you might find this jarring.
Later, you will find this freeing.
People who don't travel are never really able to understand other cultures, because they haven't experienced those cultures, haven't connected with members of those cultures, haven't related to them, haven't seen the world through their eyes.
You must live it to know it.
How Do You Find the Flaws in a Mental Model?
Any time you catch yourself feeling:
... stop and examine first if this reaction is in response to any real threat of danger. If it isn't, take that as a loud and clear sign that your mental model is flawed in some way (obviously, if there's a threat of danger, then your emotional reaction may be justified, although you still want to make sure you understand it fully).
It means that you were expecting things to go one way, but they went another. You are not a victim (see: victim mentality), you simply did not have the model in place to anticipate the change or event that's caused you the emotions of surprise or anguish.
Here's one example of a flawed mental model:
You're going through security to board an airplane, when the security personnel find an expensive cologne in your baggage that exceeds the maximum size permitted on airplanes for fluid containers. They confiscate your cologne and discard it. You're understandably furious at this arbitrary theft of your goods; you know the facts, and you're well aware that a liquid explosive could not be created out of a bottle of fluid this small, and your cologne posed no threat. Your goods have been taken for no valid reason, and there's nothing you can do about it.
You start reading an article by some angry-sounding woman about how men are all bad and all manipulators who lie and cheat and use women, and how women don't need men and should stay away from men and that men are useless, terrible people. The article ends with a rallying cry for tougher laws on men, restricting what men can do, granting more freedom to women to sue and prosecute men and criminalize men for normal, everyday activities. You become enraged, and fire off a nasty comment in the comments section of the article, speechless that this person could possibly cast such sweeping generalization over an entire swath of the population, and incensed that she would try to have your gender treated like some kind of second-class citizen.
Now, on the surface, both of these incidents seem to present some kind of danger.
The first presents a danger of losing one's personal property, and of getting onto a "slippery slope;" if I arbitrarily let this person take what he wants from me this time, what are they going to do to me next time?
The second presents a kind of danger of allowing this behavior, unchecked and unchallenged, to potentially lead to new laws that restrict your basic freedoms as an individual in your society.
However, your violent reactions to both of these speak of a mental model that did not expect and does not understand these scenarios.
In the first, clearly you didn't plan around the rules of the airport and not place that expensive cologne in your carry-on bags, or perhaps you thought you'd be able to talk your way out of having your cologne discarded. In the second, you perhaps didn't realize you were about to read some scathing denunciation of 50% of the population, or may be fearful that an Internet article could stir the winds of change, eventually leading to manacles on all men, or perhaps you thought that firing off an angrily-worded comment would cause the author to think twice about her position.
In both cases, your mental model was flawed.
In the first instance, if you fully knew and believed (not just logically knew, but still at the back of your head thought, "Ah, that'll never happen!") that bringing that bottle of cologne in your carry-on bags was going to lead to it being discarded, you may still have protested, but the emotions would have been far calmer because you would've known it would happen. You'd have a better plan for how to deal with it, or you'd have accepted that if your bottle was found, it'd be discarded, and that was a risk you were willing to take because you weren't going to check a bag anyway (and you would've DEFINITELY had to discard your cologne in the hotel room, otherwise).
In the second instance, if you fully understood what the article was about from the title ("Why We Need to Criminalize Men Asking Women on Dates They've Known for Fewer than 6 Months"), you simply wouldn't read it, knowing it's an irrational, emotional vituperation aimed more at venting the author's negative emotions than it is at swaying anyone to enact draconian laws that would make everyone's lives worse. And had you begun reading it and found it every bit the castigating tirade the title declared it would be, you'd quickly click off the article, reasoning you didn't need those negative emotions dumped into your heart, and you didn't want to hang around with all the angry men and women in the comments section, and you weren't going to change anyone's mind by venting your OWN angry emotions anyway, much as the article writer didn't change anyone's mind either.
By identifying the places where you're reacting emotionally in a negative manner to something, you can figure out where your mental models are flawed.
That doesn't mean don't ever fight back and defend yourself when it's called for; but it does mean you need to reflect on why you ended up in that situation (i.e., you didn't appropriately assess the dangers and risks before entering into it, due to a faulty mental model) and why the things that happened happened.
But Aren't "Bad" Emotions Sometimes Good?
When your bad emotions inspire you to change things, they can be useful.
For instance, if you were upset about the cologne bottle being discarded, and you petitioned your government to stop throwing away people's belongings and instead either let them keep them on their persons or designed a more efficient way of getting those belongings into their checked bags instead of into trash bags, and you worked at it tirelessly until you affected change, this would be useful.
Otherwise though, the emotion only serves as a sore point to reinforce a lesson in your mind. The next time you're about to fly an airplane, you'll remember how surprised and angry you were, and you'll place that cologne in your checked luggage (or else you won't bring it).
Within a few trips flying, you won't even remember the bad emotion much, and you'll just know the consequences of putting a big bottle in your carry-on luggage. You won't get upset if you forget and the find something else; instead of being angry at them, you'll be angry at YOURSELF.
"Gah, I should've known better," you'll think.
That's a sign that your mental model now matches the way things actually happen.
And, if you were upset about the article writer's jeremiad against males, and that inspired you to action - getting your own column on the same website talking about how we need to tear down the wall of vitriol-laced tirades on the Internet by one side against another and instead approach each other with empathy and understanding, rather than trying to war with one another - this would be useful.
Otherwise though, the emotion only
serves to keep you away from articles and people like that. The
next time you see an article like that, you say, "Bah! I'm not clicking
on that rubbish," and you protect yourself from getting drawn into
someone else's anger and discontent.
What about fighting the system, and fighting injustice? you might say.
Well, if something is actually unjust (like the airport screener confiscating and discarding your expensive cologne), or if something raises the specter of wanting to change society to make it unjust (a rallying cry to criminalize normal, unharmful activities), then yes - it's sometimes good to "fight the system."
However, you must fight it from a place of understanding and calm.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, and Nelson Mandela are three great examples of individuals who affected change by understanding the other side and calmly and rationally, yet still emotionally and inspirationally, presenting their cases.
Those who call for warfare and bloodshed usually don't win, and instead rather bring a great deal of misery and negative affect to their followers. Instead of affecting change, they only manage to dig their hole deeper and polarize the other side in opposition.
How to Change Your Mental Model and Lead a Better Life
If you catch yourself getting angry, upset, or miffed at anything, stop, and take a breather.
Stop focusing on the other person, and turn the spotlight on yourself.
Say to yourself, "My mental model is flawed," and try to understand why the thing that made you angry, upset, or miffed has just happened.
Without resorting to victim mentality ("It's because this other person is an evil oppressor!"). That just takes the power out of your hands and resigns you the victim role.
No... why did this happen? It's not because the other person was "evil."
There's no such thing.
We call "evil" those who are working to accomplish things that run
opposite to what we want. We want to plant trees, they want to tear
them down (so it seems to us). But to them, they want to cut lumber to
build homes and economies, and we want to stymie the wheels of industry
and bring society crashing down in technology-free anarchy (so it seems
to them). Understand the other side.
Fix your mental model. Then the animosity goes away, and you can actually work with people to
get what you want.
Why did that girl reject you? Is it because she's "evil?"
Of course not. It's because you didn't present yourself in a way that made her think you could offer something to her life that she'd value.
So, get out there, figure out what she values, and figure out how to get it to her.
Your mental model was flawed in thinking that she rejected you because she's cold and shallow. And her mental model was flawed in thinking that you brought nothing to her life.
Repair yours, then work on repairing hers (or that of other women's like hers). Not by convincing or cajoling, but by presenting yourself in a light that she will understand.
What does she value? Understand it and become it. Then instead of being angry and confused, you will be happy and satisfied.
Stop Moralizing and Start Fixing
The next time you catch yourself getting all moral about what people "should" and "shouldn't" do, knock it off and instead understand why they're doing what they're doing. Ask yourself:
What are their goals, and what are they trying to accomplish?
How can I change their minds, or can I change their minds?
Is it better to work within the confines of the system, or is it better to try to change this system?
It's usually better to work within the confines of a given system. Changing the way things are done at a large level requires a great deal of time, effort, work, will, and sacrifice on your part. Usually, it requires decades of full-time devotion. So, you may be very upset that:
- Airports take your cologne bottles from carry-on bags
- Commercials on TV are louder than the TV shows they sponsor
- People cut in front of you in line at fast food restaurants
- Pretty girls aren't partial to computer nerds
... but you can't realistically change all of these. You might be able to change one of them... if you devote the next 10 or 15 years of your life to that, and only to that.
Otherwise, you learn to work within the system:
You learn that airports take your cologne bottles from carry-on bags, and stop bringing cologne bottles in carry-on bags or bring smaller bottles that won't be confiscated
You mute commercials, or buy TiVo, or watch your TV shows online, or (best of all, in my opinion) you stop watching TV altogether and find something more productive to do with your time
You learn to gently tap people on the shoulder or arm immediately when they try cutting in line, and smile kindly but very firmly at them, make eye contact, and motion for them to get behind you, letting them know that they aren't sneaky and you are going to call them out on their behavior. Or, if you really can't stand this and it keeps happening, you go to a different restaurant (maybe a sit-down restaurant, with no lines) or you start ordering delivery
You learn how to be more attractive to pretty girls, and don't let on that you're a computer nerd until you've been dating for a couple of months and she's already totally in love with you. At that point, she'll probably even begin to associate computer nerd-dom with having a sexy boyfriend. Score one for the computer nerds!
Spending a lot of time angry or upset or defeated or helpless over what other people do doesn't help you at all.
So cut it out.
Instead, correct your mental model. Learn why other people do the things they do, learn to expect them, learn to empathize with them, learn to communicate with them in terms of their needs (not yours; not "Here's what I want" but rather "Here's how you can get what you want from me BETTER"), and learn the way to work within the world without having to violently struggle against the world over every little thing.
Because trust me, no matter how much spirit you've got, if you're going to fight everyone on everything, you'll be beaten down and worn out in no time.
Stop fighting. Stop moralizing and telling people what they SHOULD do (according to you, anyway).
Instead, understand them, work with them, and treat them as friends and partners. You'll have a much easier, a much more productive and rewarding, and a much more stress-free life for it.
And you may just find you end up getting exactly what you want.
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