Thursday, February 18, 2010

Angry People Are Boring

There's anger in our nation and there's plenty to be angry about, however we should stop acting as though this is a new phenomena.  As a nation, we were angry ten years ago and ten years before that.  Take five random people and ask what they're angry about and at least four will tell you everything that's wrong with the world.  Of those four, two will agree and two will think the other two are to blame.  Be the fifth person.  It’s okay to get ticked off from time to time yet remain reasonable.



Have you spent time with angry people? They make a lot of noise, even when they pout and give the silent treatment you can hear the doors slamming and feet pounding and music blaring. They may incite some passive aggressive behaviors from you, either because you support them, or you disagree with them. Eventually though, all angry people become boring and boring people ultimately get ignored.



Anger isn't bad. It's a clue that something is assaulting our core beliefs and values.  If we don't respond to the feeling of anger we run the risk of letting our beliefs and values atrophy.  That is our nation’s biggest threat.



When we’re angry we make trigger reactions and are fueled by instinct.  That's good, it's a survival mechanism.  A quick vehicle to check our gut. However, it's not meant to be our primary modus operandi.  At some point if you want to affect change you need to shift from a reactive stance to a position of “respond-ability.”



Ever witness two people quarreling?  When we're not directly involved in the dispute it’s often times very amusing to watch and listen to the irrational  arguments and assertions they make and huge leaps of logic they take.  You can tell they're not hearing each other. They just want to be more right than their opponent.



Contrast that to an angry customer pitted against a well trained customer service professional. The professional may mirror the irate customer but they also empathize.  They’re not using the primitive brain to react and counter react, they are responding by being thoughtful and creating a setting where cooler heads can arrive at a mutually satisfying solution.



Anger is fine, but at some point, you need to act responsible and lower your irrational, venomous rhetoric so you can get to work on fixing what's making you angry to begin with.



If you just stay mad, the adrenaline rush may be fun for you, but you quickly degenerate into a whiner, and no one likes a whiner. Whiners make crappy leaders.  That’s the fundamental problem with the current political climate.  We have a bunch of angry whiners who love to make a lot of noise and get attention because they equate that with leadership.  It's not, it’s gimmickry.  People can’t resist a freak show, they’ll even spend money on it, but they quickly moved on.



Leaders do things.  Sometimes they make noise, sometimes they make mistakes; but they always do things.  Are you part of the angry mass, upset about something within your control?  Grab a mop and start cleaning up the mess instead of being angry about the size of the mop, or the floor, or the cleaning solution. Offer alternatives and lead people or shut up and get over yourself, you’re boring.