Getting mad is natural and unavoidable. You are human, after all. You will continue to feel and experience anger throughout your life. Anger is one of your strongest emotions and one of your strongest motivators. Anger is often an indicator that you would like something in your life to change. What you do when you are angry is completely under your control. If you want something to change for you, few things are more powerful than anger.
Anger is an untapped well of emotion and vital energy that can help you change behavior. Researcher, Jennifer Lerner and her team at the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory found that anger both encourages people to believe they can control their future and then motivates them to make changes. Even Aristotle thought that anger was good for you. He once wrote, “The man who is angry at the right things and with the right people, is praised.”
Think of anger as your very own personal Clint Eastwood. He rides into town when injustice has been done or something needs to change. Clint Eastwood would say something to the effect of, “Hey, that’s not right. I don’t like that. That’s not how we do business around here.” When your personal Clint Eastwood shows up and you deal with the situation in the right way, then getting angry can be good for you.
We are not designed to be angry all of the time. Sustained anger is destructive physically and mentally. Anger triggers the brain to release adrenaline and cortisol which will over time wear you out by causing high blood pressure, heart disease, and ulcers to name a few. You should use short burst of anger to destroy problems in your life, not to destroy the relationships in your life. When something needs to dramatically change, anger not only lets you know but it gives you the motivation to do something about it.
Last week, I got angry at myself, so angry with my laziness and lack of productivity that I just wanted to scream. I even fired myself. Then my personal Josey Wales showed up and spit in my face. He said “Now remember, when things look bad and it looks like you’re not gonna make it, then you gotta get mean. I mean plumb, mad-dog mean. ‘Cause if you lose your head and you give up then you neither live nor win. That’s just the way it is.” Getting angry and plumb, mad-dog mean was just the response that I needed. It motivated me to take action. I get angry about things that I’m passionate about and it directs me to my purpose in life. When it is time to modify my behavior or change something in my life, nothing is as effective as channeling my anger to a productive end.
It is sometimes difficult for people to believe that anger can be helpful. Most people have been brought up to believe that anger is bad. The issue isn’t the anger; it is how that anger is expressed. The trick is to shift the focus of your anger away from external circumstances and instead focus on what you strongly desire to change within yourself. Use your anger to initiate the positive shifts you need to change your life. Leverage your anger into motivation. Go ahead, make my day.
Matt Booth, the attitude expert, is an engaging speaker. He demonstrates and delivers a common sense approach to living a positive life. To find out how Matt can help you or your organization, connect with him today at mattbooth.com or call 563-590-9693. Mattitude®, ©Matt Booth 2015.