During the height of the pandemic, our family took a road trip to check out a college. One of my best friends lives in the same city, and we met at a Chick-fil-a for lunch. The dining room was closed, so we ate in the parking lot.
During this fine-dining experience, we could view an intersection. At a red light, a guy jumped out of his truck and screamed threats at another driver, and he invited the driver to get out of the car, so they could “settle things.” At a stop light!!
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident.
In March 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a study saying, “In the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the global prevalence of anxiety and depression increased by 25%.”
And we were already living in a time of elevated anxiety.
Anger is a secondary emotion. Anger is a symptom of an unmet need or expectation. When depression and anxiety rise, fits of rage will follow.
If you scroll the internet, there are countless explanations for WHY this is happening. If you thumb through social media, you are reassured that someone else is to blame.
While there is plenty of blame to go around, a leader worth following takes a different approach. They take extreme ownership of their emotions and responses.
So the next time you feel anger bubbling in your gut, ask these 5 questions:
- What do I really want?
As stated above, anger is a secondary emotion. What need or desire do you have that is not being met right now?
- Is the object of my anger really the source of my anger?
This one is humbling. Many times I have gotten angry and expressed it at an inanimate object. It’s pretty childish, actually. I am convinced that most road rage has little to do with what is happening on the road.
- What am I doing to raise my level of personal peace?
Certain activities lower my anxiety, stress, and anger. Going for a walk in the woods. Fixing something that is physically broken. (Stove fan, garage door, etc.) Getting plenty of rest. Staying hydrated.
This is my list. You will need to discern your own list.
- Am I focusing on progress or perfection?
My grandfathers were more content with making progress than I am. They were farmers, so they were constantly fighting the elements. Crops don’t grow overnight. And their to-do list was never completed. Yet, they enjoyed the simple things in life much more than I do.
Because they were content with making progress not getting to perfection.
- Am I celebrating the little things?
Life is short. We need to celebrate simple things.
The next time you turn on your faucet, celebrate the clean, drinkable water that is flowing. It’s a luxury.
Yes. There are big problems in the world. Instead of focusing on them, which actually makes you feel powerless and vulnerable, concentrate on what you can control.
Thanks for being a leader worth following,
Director of Content & Product Strategy