Thursday, July 05, 2012

One Day Rule

The way I see it, anger consists of two components: the destructive force and the constructive force.

The initial and most natural reaction to anger is always destructive. The feeling of rage overcomes common sense as blood races from the heart to overwhelm the brain. Different people have different levels of destructive reactions to anger. Within the same person, the level of destructiveness often builds until released, and the retention period is longer for some and shorter for others. The longer the rage is suppressed, the more explosive the eventual release. The trick is of course to manage the destructive energy so that it gets diffused rather than ignited. This is easier said than done.

Assuming a person survives the destructive component of anger, the constructive component can trigger a person to make positive changes in whatever situation that had caused them such anger. It is almost as if there are chemicals being released when a person is angry that gives them that extra sense of creativity. When combined with the feeling of invincibility during bouts of anger, any fear of failure and consequences is set aside. The resulting power when put to positive use is immense.

The constructive energy of anger is what has allowed many an anguished employee to become entrepreneurs and make a future that they can control, and many a great leader to change the world.

The challenge is how to make the constructive overcome the destructive. It is tough. I am as guilty of allowing the destructive energy overtake the constructive energy as anyone else.

The rule I am trying to formulate is the "one day" rule of releasing rage. That is, wait one day before releasing that rage and see if it even needs to be released. Before sending that nasty email, wait one day. Before reacting to being cut off on the road, wait one day. Before retaliating against a colleague, employee or employer, wait one day. Before yelling at your kids for something they did or didn't do, wait one day. And so on.

For some that one day maybe one week or it may very well be just one hour. Pick a comfortable medium and go with in. One day seems reasonable to me because one week seems impractical to realistically work, and one hour seems too soon to allow the rage to dissipate.

I have yet to master my own "one day" rule but I will work on it.

Should you happen to chance upon this post, please give me your thoughts via the comments section.

Thanks for reading!