Well, that’s what Shakespeare said, and Elvis Presley even quoted him. It’s actually a passage from As You Like It, act II, scene VII.
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then, the justice,
In fair round belly, with a good capon lined,
With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws, and modern instances,
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
Well, that’s the full quotation for context.
“So, what’s this all leading to?” you are probably wondering. I guess it’s all about having a coping strategy when certain people are causing mayhem round you, whether that be a project manager with a “JFDI” (“just f’ing do it”) attitude, or relatives with mental health issues.
How to deal with the assertive PM, the mentally borderline relative? Just think of yourself and the other as actors on stage. Remember they are playing a part, whether that be the monarch or the fool. Deal with the monarch as if they were a monarch. Listen to the words, ignore the music. Deal with the mental health person as if you were their (unpaid) social worker. Don’t engage, don’t try to have a logical argument or discussion. Let them vent their anger. Admit you are wrong, and they are right. They’ll forget it 15 minutes later. Treat them with agape love.
For at the end of the day, would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?
Remember, as the great man also said:
A fool thinks himself to be wise,
but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
Have a wise day, won’t you!