Tuesday, April 7, 2009

ANGER - " The Human Suicide Bomb! "

Do you get angry often in your life that makes you loose focus on what is right and wrong? Is there been a time that you failed to see reason because you were very angry at something or someone? Do you scream at your spouse / children / friends / subordinates when you are angry? Welcome to the party - you are one among millions who are victims of this much devastating emotional volatility which is as good as a human bomb ready to explode any time!

Unfortunately this deadly virus in us harm us badly - with stress, high blood pressure, relationship getting spoiled, at times even getting isolated among friends, colleagues & family. Anger makes us to forget who we are, what we are, to whom we are talking and why we are talking. Interestingly once we take out our anger by way of screaming at some one, most of us regret- "oh god i should have controlled my tongue!" We fail to understand anger is a double-edged sword that can inflict us with personal pain in the same way it does pain others.

Let me share a short story which I have read recently on how anger can damage us and others.This story is about a father and his son. The little boy had a bad temper and the father decided to find a solution for this. One day his father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence.

He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won't matter how many times you say " I'm sorry', the wound is still there."

A simple story- but is it pinching us some where? It will ! When we look back and count, many a times we have created lot of such holes and conveniently forgotten about it. Our inability to control our anger would have created several wounds in others and we never realize it !

"Speaking when angry" is one of the bad habit which holds us back from success says, Marshall Goldsmith in his bestseller book, " What Got You Here Won't Get You There ". Anger has its value as a management tool. But this emotional volatility is not the most reliable leadership tool. When we get angry, we are usually out of control. It's hard to lead people when we have lost control. We may think we have a handle on our temper, that we can use our spontaneous rages to manipulate and motivate people. But its very hard to predict how people will react to our anger.

The worst thing about anger is that, it restrain our ability to change. Once we get a reputation for emotional volatility, we are branded for life! If we are an angry leader, we have a special place in the minds of our colleagues. When they talk about us, the first words out of their mouth are, " I hear he has a temper "

Can we stop getting angry?

Its a billion dollar question ! Marshall Goldsmith tells us a good story in his book about a young farmer who was going upstream in his boat through a river to deliver his produce to the village. The young farmer was in a hurry. It was a hot day and he wanted to make his delivery and get home before dark. As he looked ahead, he spotted another boat, heading rapidly downstream towards his boat. This boat seemed to be making every effort to hit him. He rowed furiously to get out of the way, but it didn't seem to help.

He yelled at the other boat, " change direction, you idiot! You are going to hit me. The river is wide. Be careful!" His screaming was to no avail. The other boat hit his boat and he was enraged as he stood up and cried out to the other boat, " You moron! How could you manage to hit my boat in the middle of this wide river? What is wrong with you? "

As he looked at the other boat, he realized that there was no one in the other boat. He was screaming at an empty boat which was going downstream with the current!

The lesson is simple- There is never anyone in the other boat. When we are angry, we are screaming at an empty boat! All of us have people in our lives who dive us crazy, whom we hate with a passion. The best course of action for dealing with people like this is not let them make us angry. Getting angry doesn't improve the situation and life's too short to waste on feeling bad. It can only help us to loose our reputation as a person who gets always angry. When we are angry, if we keep our mouth shut, no one can ever know how we really feel !

There are thousands of books, articles and websites which tells us how to control the anger. But let me try to give the most simple and the best among all these I have read. Paul Deeds of Crystal Concepts suggests, when the anger runs through our blood streams, try doing the following :

1) Calm Ourselves : Take a deep breath, picture a relaxing scene we like and tell ourselves," relax,take it easy "

2) Think twice before we say anything : When angry, it is easy to start cursing or saying wild things to our target. Pause a while and think is it worth picking up this fight. Is it better to be silent?

3) Take a small walk : Walking makes our brain to release endorphins which gives a sense of well being and makes us relax.

4) Work with people who made us angry : Do this when we are calm to make sure that the person or people who have angered us will also be calm. This way, we will all be able to focus on the problems at hand.

5) Don't hold grudges : Be forgiving to the people who have angered us. This is a great way to show them that we are not angry anymore. But don't think that the other people will follow our example. It is unrealistic to think that all people should behave the same way like us.

6) Make an " Anger Log Book " : Write down all situations that set us off in an "anger logbook". This keeps track of our reactions to everyday situations. This is a very useful tool in keeping our anger in check as we can review the situation and try to solve it on a latter date.

7) Learn some relaxation skills : Learning relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercise or meditation or yoga can help us to control our anger.

8) Let go our anger : Now that we have our anger under control, we can start expressing it without damaging any relationships or properties. Always remember, anger can really damage our health and its better we let it go than bringing our blood pressure up.

So next time when you start to speak out of anger, better you look in the mirror. In every case you will find that the root of your rage is not "out there" but "in here". You are no more a human bomb who carries anger- the deadly weapon which is the biggest obstacle to our personal and professional success .

Keep smiling and welcome to the " anger free world " !



Anonymous said...

Good on mate ! Nicely written, keep it up! John Brown - U.K

P.M.Ramesh said...

Anger:- definitely what you said is a bomb and my self has experienced that several times.
I fully agree with the approach and methodology you had suggested . I think who ever including my self ever get hold of this Anger Bomb it is better diffused the "SHAMIM" way".
Cheero !!!

abidev said...

yeahhh....True in all means shamim...U r a good blogger, keep it up...Its very important for us to understand these small small things which are very big for our survival in this world with a calm and peaceful mind..
All the best for your blogging

sheeba_sumith said...

Nice to read Mr.shamim. We need to follow. Enjoyed your writings.

Good luck

Sheeba Sumith

Anonymous said...

Shamim , It's very good to read what your writing . You are a man who can feel the life by heart .
Go on !Shamim !
kancy Zhang Qingdao ,China .

Kancy said...

HI, Shamim !
I have my gmail box now . just want to read your writing and talk with you easily!

Anonymous said...

Really inspiring..write more on similar topics..dr.narayanan

Anonymous said...

this was really good.........if all of us could actally put this into practise, the world would be a better place to live in...for a start i am going to start today....................thanks.....

Anonymous said...

Hi Shamim,

Good,simple writeup.Goes well with the stories and anecdots. Keep it up.

May be u could also drive home the point that we are responsible for our emotions and as such others or situations cannot make me angry unless I decide to get angry. So the fallacy of the statement " you make me angry ".


Prof Jose Mathew Mattam

Anonymous said...

Very helpful and wonderfully sensible and inspiring one ! Would appeal to both young and old,an effective way to help them manage their lives better and lower their tension !
Thanks for such a good,
thought-provoking writing!

Khursheed said...

You have conquered the suicide bomb with magical heal in deed. The metaphors used are the most harmonizing. I should admit that it is a brilliant write up worth presenting. Pls do keep the good work going. Could you blog a similar piece of work on anti-procrastination as well?

Anonymous said...

Dear Shamim,
Yes you are right.Anger is a killer.It is the first step.Next one loses logic and common sense,next he loses discreation,his intellect is totally dead,he does what he later knows he should not have done,next depression,depths of depravity, and finally all is gone.
Best Regards,

Anonymous said...


A very good article and well structured. You could have added that
trying to give up bad habits like pan chewing, smoking generate so
much anger while in the process of giving up. I have personally
experienced this.

Good Attempt


Anonymous said...

Dear Shammim,

I have been reading the posts in your blog. it is good.

wish to link your blog in my blog.

All the best and happy blogging.

Warm regards


Dr.T.K.Raman said...

Hi! Shamim!
Your Article is very nice !
Our Great Epic Bhagavat Gita ,in Chapter II,Lord Krishna tells Arjuna thesame thing:

Dr T.K.Raman said...

Hi! Shamim!
Your Article is excellent!
In the Great Hindu Epic,'Bhagavath Gita',in Chapter II,Lord Krishna tells Arjuna :
which means
From anger proceeds delusion;
from delusion confused memory;
from confused memory the ruin of
due to the ruin of reasonhe

HRD/Management /Marketing Consultant,KOCHI-682026.
Cell:098463 91018

rahaman said...

Dear Shamim,

Nice posting, keep it up


samithshamim said...

very good article, shamim.

Bharati said...

Most of us r affected by anger.
And u have shown clear picture of it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr.Shamim,

I have a very bad temper which often comes but goes very soon. When I read this article today i realise I ve hurt many people because of my anger.

Thank you for the tips which I will try to follow and implement in my daily life to control my anger.