How not to be stupid from http://ask.metafilter.com/117471/How-to-not-be-stupid#1683528
What you need is the old man on the front porch in your mind. He's an old man in a plaid shirt and overalls, and he sits on his front porch, smoking a pipe, squinting out at the woods and the nearby road. When pressed to do something, he pauses, looks away from the person pressuring him and out at the mockingbird alighting on the porch railing. He takes a long, slow drag on his pipe, and says, "Well.... I may just be an old man. And I may just be on my front porch. But I seen a lot of things, and maybe this ain't that different from a lot of the things I seen. One time I seen this raccoon pick apart a clam with his paws. Just like a little person at a seafood buffet. This other time I seen a tree fall down for no reason -- no one chopping it, no inside of the tree rotting away, just toppled right over. Yep.... Seen a lot of things in my time. Yyyyyep." The old man tells stories and thinks about things long and hard, because he doesn't have anywhere to go or anything to do. He's got his pipe, he's got his front porch, he doesn't need your fancy sales talk or big-time excitement. He knows that moments come and go, and maybe this moment isn't as important as it's being made out to be. His watchwords are, "Well, hold on a sec," and "Say that one more time?"
In any situation where you feel pressured, it's good to immediately call up the image of that old man, because it pulls you out of the reality you're increasingly convinced is a high-stakes situation, forcing you to step outside the moment and see things through a new perspective. As you imagine the cadence of the old man's speech -- slow, deliberate, often-nonsenscial -- you should find that your sense of ratcheted-up stress starts to subside; channeling the old man, your breath slows, you may nod slowly to show you understand but without committing to a course of action, your speech becomes less urgent. The spirit of this figure should help you disengage. The old man is available for high-stress scamming, for general freak-outs, and for internet flame-wars. He doesn't need to respond just yet. He's got all the time in the world.