A few years ago, I used to be a really angry guy. I would get mad at people for the slightest of reasons e.g. coming in 15 minutes late to work, showing up late for an appointment (even though I’d do the same thing to a client the very next day), if a contractor delays on the delivery of a promise or payment. I would flip and throw my phone at their head or a wall (this is my 15th phone in 5 years), yell, get a migraine, drink some Panadol Extra and start yelling again. It was absolutely ridiculous behaviour.
I thought this type of behaviour was okay, I rationalized it ought to be as I had been surrounded by a few older and hugely successful entrepreneurs who had somehow managed to yell, scream and shout their way to the top, but not without some collateral damage to their health, blood pressure and relationships with others.
It is funny how we stay around people long enough and soon they start to influence us into adopting certain traits both good or bad unconsciously. Luckily though, I eventually came to the realization that human beings are not their behaviour! Our behaviours don’t have to be a permanent thing like a tattoo. We can change and become better people by controlling what we focus on and reframing what the situation means to us.
By being able to change our internal representations on any subject, we can alter our perspectives and change our emotional response each and every time. There is a difference in the response you would give to your employee if she comes in 20minutes late to the office, while you’re thinking about how bad the traffic conditions must have been and the hardship she might have had to deal with. Rather than fuming on how she “intentionally” seeks to break your rules and then you flip when she steps her feet in the door, only to realize later on that she had to go deposit a fat cheque from a client into your account. Remember nothing has any meaning except that which we give it.
So I learned these new distinctions and made up my mind to look for the good in every situation, and even in the most deplorable situation, be disciplined enough to ask myself, what lesson does this teach me?
So, did this new decision to be positive mean that the sun shine brighter on my side of the fence? Hell no! However it did mean that I started become a much more understanding and tolerable person, certainly made me a much more pleasant person to be around.
So when I hear that an elder statesman like Obasanjo got upset and tore up his PDP membership card. I’m left with wondering if this is an anger management issue, P.M.S (I know right?) or a P.R stunt? Who knows? However here’s what I’m willing to bet, if we all emulated his example, Nigerians all over the world might as well take up their national passport and rip it apart. I’m certain whatever pressures or anger he might be feeling as a billionaire politician, successful farmer and ex-president will certainly be eclipsed by what 120million Nigerians living on less than $2 a day feels on a day-to-day basis.
So next time you feel really angry and want to tear up something, perhaps we should exercise a bit more restrain and take a minute to change our internal representation and our focus, we would find there’s plenty to be happy about.
Have a great day and smile for no good reason:)