Tina Fey

“When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question:”Is this person in between me and what do I want to do?” If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way. Then, when you’re in charge, don’t hire the people who were jerky to you.”

The world isn’t fair. While I’m sure that many people are good and have good intentions, many others aren’t so nice. There will be people who will discriminate against you because you’re old, you’re old, you’re Asian, you’re Hispanic, you’re rich, you’re poor, you’re suburban, you’re rural, you’re a woman, you’re homosexual, you speak French, you’re an atheist, or you have curly hair. There is a prejudice against nearly every characteristic. That’s just the way it is.

But you shouldn’t let that get in the way of your success, especially if the perpetrators really have nothing to do with you. Comedian Tina Fey is right. Life is far too short to waste it arguing with someone, trying to convince them of their wrongs when their opinion has no real impact on your life. If you’re on your way to an important job interview and a random passer-by on the street says something unsavory, sometimes you just have to let that slide and move on. You just have to keep your head in the game and focus on nailing that interview.

We don’t normally think of comedians as being a source of inspiration. These “funny people” can oftentimes be snarky, sarcastic or cynical, but they can also be an intriguing source of wisdom. I’ve previously discussed what we can learn from entertainers like Ellen Degeneres and Conan O’Brien. While they are known for their jokes, they also offer some real life lessons that can be applied to just about any walk of life.

And in the case of Tina Fey, she reminds us of something very important: don’t let the haters get you down. Use your energy to do your work and do it better.

Tina Fey is best known now for playing Liz Lemon on 30 Rock, but she also made a huge name for herself on Saturday Night Live before that, particularly for her portrayal of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. The quote above comes from Fey’s book Bossypants, which is available in paperback for about $13 or hardcover for about $19.

Image credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr