How often do you have to deal with people who are angry?
It could be a partner, your children, friends, work colleagues or your superiors at work.
One of the most important lessons I have learnt in life is too simply be kind, to everybody, all of the time, no matter how upset or angry the people around you are.
Why? Because life is so much less stressful that way.
When you remain calm and kind to others, you can quell small fires and prevent them from getting out of control.
You may think that is an obvious thing to say and you probably think you are kind.
But being kind is not easy. Being kind takes great strength of character. Being kind means learning to control your thoughts and emotions and being as solid as a rock no matter what people do or say to you.
When someone upsets us or makes us angry, we naturally become angry ourselves. When this happens, do not retaliate.
When you feel the anger rising within you, keep your mouth closed and say nothing.
For to speak hastily and angrily will only make the problem worse.
Never show your anger towards anyone, ever…..unless your life is seriously at risk.
Under any other circumstance, anger will always be your downfall.
When someone is angry with you and you react with anger yourself, you are only adding fuel to the fire.
You cannot fight fire with fire, otherwise, you create an inferno. Infernos are very hard to put out and can last a very long time.
You can only fight fire with water or as the Taoist say, “The soft always overcomes the strong”.
What is meant by that? Does it mean you cower in fear and let the other person walk all over you?
Absolutely not. The complete opposite in fact.
You stand your ground emotionally. You take control of the situation by acting calmly and cultivating the opposite. It means cultivating internal strength and great self-control within, rather than losing control of your temper and letting your emotions out.
When you remain calm and in control, you do not become a victim to your emotions. You simply observe the anger inside of you, relax into it, let it go and speak calmly, confidently and clearly back to the person you are conversing with.
Reacting without thinking is easy to do. Anyone can do that, but only the wise know and understand that this will only cause you more problems in the long run. Better to keep your mouth closed. That way you will be able to listen to what is being said and then make your own decision as to whether you believe the facts to be true or not.
Wise people understand that knowledge comes from listening, not speaking.
It takes great strength to remain calm and be kind to those who are angry or criticize you. It means dropping your ego and being unaffected by the opinions of others. It means that inside, you are so strong and confident of yourself that anger and insults from others fly off you without affecting your calm, inner nature. It also means that you are open to criticism and change if you think that what is said will make you a better person.
In the West, we often regard anger as a sign of strength and a good way to get things done. In the East, it is regarded as a weakness.
Sometimes, we believe that getting angry instils fear into people and they will do as we say. But the truth is, you may get things done in the short term, but you also run the risk of people digging in their heels and doing the opposite. Even if they do comply to what you say, they will resent you and do whatever they can to make you slip and fall in the future.
You will also find yourself feeling uncomfortable in front of that person whenever you see them and that causes YOU stress!
If you remain calm, polite and show no fear, you will gain respect from others. When people respect and like you, they will go out of their way to help and support you.
I challenge you to be nice to every single person you meet for a week and see how much your life changes. Do not get angry with anyone. Be strong internally.
Be kind, to everyone, all of the time.
I love watching mother nature sometimes.
One thing I learnt whilst living in Asia is that you have to learn to live with it because a lot of the time it lives in your house. No matter if you are on the top floor of a skyscraper, I can guarantee you will still find ants in your kitchen!
I remember one day watching a group of about 10 ants lifting a grain of rice up a wall. The skill and precision they used revealed just how intelligent these creatures were. As I watched them, I realized they must have been communicating in some fashion because the complexity of the way they manoeuvred around the grain of rice looked similar to a bunch of highly experienced removal men carrying a piano down a flight of winding stairs.
I then thought to myself, wouldn’t it be amazing if CEO’s knew how to get their employees to work as intelligently as these ants?
Unfortunately, when it comes to many industries, the opposite seems to be true.
Many companies I have worked with seem to deploy competition amongst their staff believing that this will motivate them to reach their targets.
I don’t understand this approach at all. From what I have seen it creates a bad atmosphere of dishonesty and mistrust amongst co-workers where individuals are only concerned about what they can get out of the business, now what is best for the businesses itself.
It also encourages employees to work against their co-workers and revel in their failure! Why? Because when other people fail and they succeed, it makes them look good.
Sad, but true I’m afraid.
Surely a business would benefit more if everyone worked together, supported one another and shared their knowledge rather than keep it to themselves.
“But it works”, a CEO told me recently about his company which encourages internal competition
Yes, and so does a Robin Reliant, but that doesn’t mean to say it is the best car on the market.
In my opinion, competition is overrated unless it is used for sports and recreational fun.
I have found that I learn so much more when I share my knowledge with other people in a similar field to me rather than keep information to myself because it is USUALLY reciprocated. Obviously, not everyone feels the same way and I do meet a lot of people who are on the take and not willing to give.
When I do meet such people, I know that I will not work with them. But when I find people are equally as willing to share their knowledge with me as I am with them, then I will not only trust them but will go out of my way to help them too.
If they are truly willing to help me without thought of personal gain, then I know they have the best interests of their customers and other people at their heart too. These are definitely people worth collaborating with because they have the wisdom to understand happiness comes from helping others to succeed, not from what is in it for them.
Think rationally about this.
No one in society can survive alone. We need the support of people around us and therefore we need to work together to survive.
If you think you are independent and you can survive by yourself, tell me…did you make your own clothes? Did you grow the food that you eat? Did you make the car that you drive or build your home with your own hands?
Everything that we do, each and every day, is dependent on the other people around us. We HAVE to work together in order to survive and business is no different. A business is nothing more than a group of individuals working together to achieve a common goal.
And so where pray tell, does that leave space for internal competition?
Look forward to any thoughts on this article…????
It is a pity that our education system doesn’t teach people how to build relationships with other people. The world would be a much better place if it did.
Unfortunately, all we are ever taught at school are subjects that will help us how to get a job. We are not taught how to live. Because just like any other subject, living is an art, a skill that needs to be learnt and practised if we are to enjoy life and live in peace with ourselves and the world around us.
Some of the most important life skills we need to be aware of are those that govern human relationships. Without a firm understanding of these laws, people will always find it difficult to develop long-term, deep-rooted friendships which are the foundation of a happy life.
So today I present 6 of these laws in the hope that you might contemplate and incorporate them into your daily living.
1) Don’t bitch about anyone, ever.
This is the most valuable lesson that I ever learnt and it will bring you more peace of mind than any other strategy I know.
Bitching about others is ugly. It is telling people that you believe that you are better than them, that others have faults but you are perfect. Bitchy people are insecure and need recognition of how good they are and they do that by belittling others because it gives them a momentary feeling of worthiness.
But the truth is that when you bitch about others, you actually alienate yourself from people. People will begin to realise you are two-faced and will not trust you and before too long, you will not trust other people around you either. We judge people by our own standards, so if we bitch, we start to believe others are bitching about us too and this generates a feeling of paranoia.
Instead, spend time focusing on your own faults and do everything you can to perfect them. This will help you to become a kinder, happier person and attract the same kind of friends and people towards you.
2) Do not judge others.
When we see people who act in a different way to us, we tend to judge them. We tend to portray a fixed personality onto them such as being a “good” or “bad” person without ever understanding their full story.
“She’s lazy! She leaves work earlier than everyone else”. Maybe she is a struggling, single mother who has to pick up her daughter from school every afternoon.
“He is so tight with his money”. Maybe he is struggling to support his sick wife and 2 children at home.
“He never drinks. He is so boring”. Ex-alcoholic, desperately trying to stay sober maybe?
Do not judge people by your own experiences in life, but try and understand them. Learn to accept people the way they are. Changing a person to fit into your ideal is very difficult. But changing your attitude to someone is very easy.
3) Learn to Listen.
There is a Hindu God of wisdom called Ganesh who has a human body and the head of an elephant. He is portrayed in this way because an elephant has huge ears and a tiny mouth. This is a symbol that in order to have wisdom, one should listen more and speak less.
Listening means really listening to everything that is being said without judging and without just waiting for that person to stop talking so that you can tell your bigger and better story. Listening is like one-way traffic. You can’t speak and listen at the same time, so if you are having a conversation in your head when you are supposedly “listening” to another person, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING. Clear your mind and pay them all your attention. The best way to do this is to become genuinely interested in other people Have compassion for them and you will then find it easier to let go of your ego and focus on what they are saying instead.
4) Never Lose Your Temper
Getting angry and losing your temper helps no one! It is a sign that you are not in control and it will only make a bad situation worse.
If you can learn how to control your anger, you will be able to think in a more rational and reasonable manner and therefore resolve any problems more quickly, easily and efficiently. The reason is that when we are calm we think with a different part of our brain called the Frontal Lobe. This is known as our humanistic part of the brain which allows us to see things more clearly and creatively. But when we become angry, we think with your animalistic, defensive part called the limbic system which acts emotionally and irrationally. When you become angry, you will often say things that you later regret. This will result in feelings of guilt. It also diminishes the respect and confidence people have in you too. But learn to control your anger, people will always look up to you as a leader, a person who is in control, a person who they can depend and rely on when the going gets tough. The best way to learn how to control your emotions is by learning to meditate.
5) Learn to see things from the other person’s perspective.
Quite often, if people have different ideas, views or opinions from us, the first reaction we experience is anger. Why? Because we are defending our long-held beliefs that we feel are a part of us. When someone challenges our opinion, we almost take it as a personal attack on ourselves and as a result, our barriers come up and we miss an opportunity to learn something new. If someone has a different opinion to you, stay calm, open and try and understand them instead of resisting their opinions. Once you fully understand them, then you are in a better position to question whether or not you feel their opinion or idea is correct or not.
6) Learn to forgive.
I remember a lady who came to see me once who said she was having problems forgiving her husband who left her for another woman. She felt angry every time she thought of him and would sometimes be unable to sleep at night recalling how hurtful and selfish he had been. I asked her how long ago this had happened.
“16 years ago” she replied.
It was not her husband who had caused her to suffer for the last 16 years, but herself.
She said she couldn’t forgive him because that would be letting him off the hook.
What hook? There was no hook. He didn’t care whether or not he was forgiven, but that imaginary hook had kept her mind in a place of anger, hatred and sleepless nights for 16 years!!
Learn to let go of the past.
Forgiving is no letting the other person off the hook for what they did. It is letting yourself off the hook so you can be free from suffering. No one is perfect, not you, me or anyone else who has ever walked on this planet. That is what being human is all about – making mistakes and trying to learn from them. If you want to let go of your pain, learn to forgive people who have hurt you, not for their sake, but for yours.
In the chaotic and stressful world in which we live, there is often conflict as we battle against one another to make our mark or try and prove ourselves to the world.
As a result, arguments or overheated discussions often occur that can leave us feeling angry or upset for many hours, days, or even weeks afterward.
But wouldn’t it be amazing if you knew how to win all your arguments? If you could get people to back down and back off? Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to get your opinion across and gain the respect of others rather than letting them get to you?
Well, today I would like to share with you my tips on how I have managed to avoid losing an argument now for the last 24 years.
Yes…I am not kidding. 24 years!!
Do you know how I have managed to do that?
It’s very simple….
I DON’T ARGUE!
As Bruce Lee called it, “the art of fighting without fighting”. And this is the only way you will ever win an argument and get people to understand your point of view.
Here are my 6 tips on how to really win an argument…..
1 – Don’t Get Angry!
When a person becomes angry, the emotional part of the brain called the limbic system takes over and any rational thought processes are replaced by emotional, irrational outbursts. This is what we experience during the fight or flight response when we need to protect ourselves and the mind goes into defensive mode. When your limbic system takes over, it only sees things in black and white, in other words, “I am right, you are wrong”.
You cannot rationalise with people when they are in this state of mind and trying to force your opinions on them is like showing a red rag to a bull! So don’t even try and get people to think rationally when they are angry.
If you or the other person have lost their temper, move onto the next point:
2 – Calm Down.
Not only do you have to calm down, but you have to get the other person to calm down too.
In order to do this, STOP SPEAKING and let the other person speak/shout/scream first. Do not react, do not say anything. Just wait, calmly, patiently, and quietly until they have said everything they have had to say. Do not interrupt them.
When they have finished, when they have run out of steam, then you can speak.
If they interrupt you when you are trying to speak, do not try and talk over them. Remain calm and when they stop, say to them calmly “As I was saying…..” and continue to present your side of the case.
Remain patient, calm, and polite but at all times.
3 – Understand The Problem
The first thing you must do is make sure you are clear as to what the root cause of the problem is. Be careful not to blame or insult the other person, but ask them calmly for clarification of the details. When you think you understand what they said, repeat the facts back to them so that you know you understand them correctly.
For example, “So, let me make sure I understand you correctly. You are angry with me because I left the office early last night and I didn’t complete the assignment that you think is due today. As a result, you had to stay late and cover for me and that is why you are angry with me. Is that correct?”
4 – State Your Case
If you can see that there has been a misunderstanding which is usually the case 90% of the time, then say calmly and clearly, “I can understand why you thought that way. However, the reason why I made that decision/acted in that way was that……“ and state the facts and reasoning for your action.
5 – Be Compassionate
If the other person is wrong, do not belittle or humiliate them. The best way to do this is to say something like, “Yes, I understand why you are angry and if I were you I would feel exactly the same way. However, double-check that assignment as I am fairly sure that it doesn’t have to be completed until next Tuesday”.
If they apologise, do not make an issue of it. Brush it off politely and forget about it. We all mess up sometimes and if you make a drama about it, they will do the same to you if you make a mistake.
6 – If you are wrong, admit it.
Is the person justified in the argument? Did you do something wrong? If you did, admit it and apologize. This takes great courage, but can often diffuse an argument immediately and you will gain great respect from other people for doing so. Don’t fight your corner just to save face if you know you are wrong, because this will just escalate and the other person will not respect or trust you in the future.
Winning an argument means a win/win scenario for both of you, not just one of you. It means that the problem has been resolved and both parties walk away on friendly terms and respecting one another.
Never let your ego take over and try to get one up on the other person! That one-upmanship means that either you have caused a person to lose face or vice versa and this will only lead to difficulties in the future.
Life is stressful enough, so don’t invite it into your backyard! If you want to have a happy life, free from stress, always put yourself in the other person’s shoes and treat them the way you would like to be treated; with kindness, honesty and respect.
The art of leadership comes from understanding yourself. If you do not understand yourself, you will find it difficult to understand other people. If you do not understand other people, how will you possibly be able to build positive relationships and manage a team?
Learning to be a leader comes from learning to understand yourself – which means taking a step back and questioning who you are, what you are and why you are here.
Unless you have this knowledge, you will always struggle in life and always struggle to lead.
Because people who never stop and question themselves and what they are doing become like sheep. They do not know which direction they should take in life and so blindly follow the herd instinct, sticking together and doing what others do.
But the problem with following the herd is that you cannot think for yourself. You do exactly the same as everyone else, even if it goes against your inner nature and the inner nature of those around you. You give up your freedom of thought, your ability to question and settle for the belief that if everyone else is doing the same, it must be OK.
But by questioning and observing the leadership of others around you and your own motivation for working, you will truly be able to understand how to lead others.
The inner laws of every human being are the same, but the way we choose to react to the world is different.
Inner laws are universal: give to a person, they will be happy. Take from a person they will be angry.
The way we choose to react to circumstances differ. One manager may be supportive and understanding, another may be critical and patronizing.
Knowing the inner laws that motivate you and other people will allow you to act in alignment and appropriately with them, such as knowing how to treat others so that you can get the most out of them.
But this can only be achieved by questioning, analyzing and drawing your own conclusions. Blindly following the management skills of your predecessors without questioning or knowing the inner laws of human nature will lead to unnecessary battles – both with your team and within yourself.
So take some time out now and again to think about your own inner nature. Get to know yourself and you will get to know and understand others.