Let us accept that , People will piss you off in this life. That’s a given. You’ll get cut off on the highway. You’ll be spoken to rudely. You’ll get blown off. Someone will drop unpleasant words or things onto you. Someone’s screaming baby will keep you up all night on a train /plane journey.
“How much more harmful are the consequences of anger…than the circumstances that aroused them in us.” —Marcus Aurelius
But before you get upset, you should stop yourself. Because maybe there’s something you don’t quite know about the situation. Whenever, I get angry I think a real life story and often Think of Brandon Matthews, who was about to make contact on a putt that could have secured him a spot in the PGA Open Championship, when a spectator screamed. Matthews threw up his hands in disbelief. The interruption cost him the tournament.
It turns out that the middle-aged man who had yelled had Down syndrome. In fact, he was such a fan of Matthews that he couldn’t contain his excitement for him. “I was frustrated at first,” Matthews said after, “because I didn’t understand the full circumstances behind it. But once I did, it was a pretty easy situation for me to handle.” He walked over to that fan and gave him his golf ball and a hug.
“Until you know their reasons,” Epictetus once said, “how do you know whether they have acted wrongly?” That moron who cut you off on the highway. What if he’s speeding to the hospital? That crying baby could be sick, or have two parents who are just as exhausted as you. The person who spoke rudely might be dying, they might have a broken heart.
We have been told time and agian to be empathetic. Socrates once said that almost no one does wrong on purpose, . Maybe they just don’t know any better. Which is why we have to stop ourselves before we get angry. We have to think about their reasons, what’s going on with them. It’s okay that you might struggle to control your snap judgments and emotional responses. That’s what Brandon Matthews did—he reined himself in, he got his mind around the situation, and then he went and did something touching and kind. And in that moment he was as great an athlete as there ever was—pulling off a far more impressive feat than sinking that putt. Which is why tournament officials of the Arnold Palmer Invitational offered Matthews a spot in the 120-player field—his first PGA Tour event.
Lessons to remember :
1. Remember What’s In Your Control
The importance of distinguishing things that are under our control and things that are not. It is a reminder not to get angry and upset by things which we cannot influence such as other people and external events and to only focus on ourselves, our own behavior. This makes things a bit easier, doesn’t it? A humbling reminder of how much happens that we can’t influence and learning to let go and accept things as they are. Yet at the same time, a powerful reminder that our actions and choices are fully in our own control.
“Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our own actions.”
2. Set the Standard
The best leaders rarely talk how things ought to be done, their actions speak for themselves. Think of someone you admired and how many of the lessons came indirectly from the choices that they’ve made and the example they have set. Similarly, we need to be focused on how we are actually living and what choices we are making. That’s where our time and energy will be best spent.
“Never call yourself a philosopher, nor talk a great deal among the unlearned about theorems, but act conformably to them. Thus, at an entertainment, don’t talk how persons ought to eat, but eat as you ought.”
3. Prescribe Yourself a Character
More often than not we act out of our habit and how we tend to think that our ways of doing things are set in stone. This is certainly not easy by any stretch but with small steps, each day reminding us what direction we’d like to go to, we can get closer to the character we wish to have.
“Immediately prescribe some character and form of conduce to yourself, which you may keep both alone and in company.”