Can we talk about this
I sit next to a guy called Jake at work, who is pissed off pretty much daily. It really doesn’t matter what the situation is. He is so talented, that he can will himself into being pissed off in 60 seconds or less, kind of like a weird magic trick.
Can we talk? OK.
Last week Jake organized a meeting, which he subsequently controlled via conference call. For the record, I was not part of this teleconference, but I have skills, so it was like I was. At some point, Jake was not getting the participation he imagined he would. He got really pissed, announced to the participants, “If you didn’t intend to participate in the process then why the hell did you call in?” Professional, right? Not. Jake makes a conscious choice to be angry. Anyone this mad this often is mad on purpose and not by accident.
If things aren’t going wrong, odds are you’re dead
Resist the urge to rehearse anger. Getting annoyed, frustrated, or angry is a natural part of life, but as you mature so should your coping skills. You don’t have to tell the story to someone! “Can you believe this?”, “Let me tell you about these SOB’s at work”, and any other intro you have heard or used for an angry rant. It’s OK to talk to your confidant’s, but don’t tell your “mad” story again and again, not even to yourself.
First things first, you mad or…
If you are just not sure how your bad attitude is, click this link and take the test. (Don’t live like Jake!)
Now, On to the good stuff!
Here are some easy, relatable, and realistic things you can do.
- Remember other people do not share your notions of right, wrong, or fair.
- Be nice to yourself, and nix the negative talk. Don’t’ encourage your anger by saying “things never go my way”, or “No one pays any attention to my ideas”. Self-serving pity only serves losers! (I know that’s harsh, but it’s still true)
- No one is out to get you, it’s likely they are not even thinking of you at all. Angry people tend to jump to conclusions, however far-fetched. It’s a good idea to check yourself before you speak. If you wouldn’t say it in front of grandma, don’t say it at all.
- Angry people can be demanding. You cannot force people to experience things your way, nor can you make them respect and appreciate you. If they don’t, show them the exit ramp and keep driving. It’s really that simple. If this is a workplace issue, you don’t have to like the people you work with but you do have to be respectful and do your job.
- Always ask yourself what you are mad about. Is it something you shared? Is the person you are mad at in the room and did you clearly express your expectations? If the answer to any of these questions is no, you know you are out of pocket.
- Stop being defensive. No, really, just stop. There is no extra credit for being extra.
- Stop taking yourself so seriously. Your opinion of you is the only one that matters. This means that everything else is extra. If they like you fine, if not fine. 90% of the time they will at least think you are bearable.
- Have a sense of humor, with caution. Don’t just “laugh off” your problems. Try to use humor as a tool to diffuse your anger, you don’t have to speak it. Humor can go wrong quickly. Don’t be the sarcastic douche that no one finds amusing. Being passive-aggressive is simply not cute.
Don’t miss the next installment in the series, “How to think critically” Guaranteed to be a good one.