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Don’t Ever Lose It!

Sep 14, 2017

I was driving along our local high street when – admittedly – a rather aged gentleman stepped out into the road in front of me without even looking. With what I thought was commendable anticipation, I skidded to a halt narrowly avoiding running him over.  I know that I shouldn’t have, but as I drove past, I wound down my window and exclaimed "I hope that you are well insured!" I won’t tell you what his reply was, but let’s just say that he had an excellent knowledge of Anglo Saxon expletive. 

Now from my point of view I was convinced that, through my presence of mind, I had prevented him from receiving serious injury. In an instant - and brought on by a deep sense of injustice - what I think is poetically called ‘The Red Mist’ descended upon me. I was just about to exit my car in a windmill of flailing fists, when suddenly a headline in the local newspaper appeared before my very eyes declaring: ‘Local Business Man Assaults Pensioner’. My temper instantaneously subsided and I drove on. Pensioner indeed, he was about the same age as me! Precisely. 

Now, although I say it myself, I really haven’t got a bad temper – and anyone that disagrees with me better watch out! But seriously - and I’m sure that my family would agree - I don’t really lose my temper very often, apart from lobbing an occasional cushion at the TV during a news broadcast. The real factor here is that – whether right or wrong – I have never ever lost my temper without actually regretting it for quite a time afterwards. I really feel as if I’ve failed. Losing one’s temper is probably mostly about seeking revenge, and the adage that ‘revenge is a dish best served cold!’ is highly appropriate. 

The business environment can often lead to problems on this front. Customers can be most inconsiderate, you put yourself out trying to do the best you can for them and then they have the temerity to complain. Sometimes the unfairness involved is most disconcerting and you want to respond in a forceful way, but you can’t, you have been schooled in the philosophy that the customer is always right. But that means the seller is always wrong and we know that can’t be right. This can often lead to frustration and even anger, and anger contained within can lead to depression, so we have to learn to manage our feelings by indulging in equanimity - and equanimity does not mean going home and kicking the cat! 

Of course, as business people, not only do we have to deal with occasional complaints (however justified) but we also have to make them. Nobody likes making complaints; it involves taking a deep breath before we get going and our effectiveness can be dulled by anger. Personally, I learnt long ago that the harder you throw a ball against a wall the harder it will come back, so I always preamble a complaint with a compliment. You know the sort of thing: ‘I’ve always been very impressed with your service but …’ I find that this approach often disarms the opposition and achieves better results. 

The strange thing about complaining is that, whether making or receiving a complaint, it always seems as if the other side is ‘calling all the shots’. It’s a similar irrational process to buying a house when you are also selling one. The other side seems to have all the advantages when actually they are in the same boat as you on both fronts, so it’s all in the mind. 

Anger can sometimes be a potent force when it is directed towards righting wrongs, but surely it must be managed and channelled correctly. There’s nothing wrong in getting angry about things, but losing your temper is a different matter. I had a look at quotes relating to loss of temper and there are very few of these that are complimentary. Yes, of course it can be an outlet for our frustrations and injustices but at what expense? It's very difficult to be rational when the top of your head is about to explode.  

So, there you have it; there is very little to be gained by uncontrolled anger, it’s a process better avoided. Counting to ten is such good advice. Oh, and by the way, one quote that did appeal to me states that: Temper is the one thing you can’t get rid of by losing it! Sage words indeed. 

 

 

 

 

 

          
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