Nothing seemed to be progressive until I received a call from my printing press service provider in one evening. That call changed my thought ‘nothing is happening’ to ‘everything is running smooth’. I was furious, frustrated, anxious and angry the time when I received that call. That is when I realized that anger can be a good emotion too if it is channelized wisely.
I am running a publication house called ‘Avid Readers’. I had three books lined up for printing. I was linked with two printers from Mumbai whom I asked to get a specific paper sample for maintaining quality to our readers. One printer refused to go ahead for what quality we were asking for. On the other, one printer was making printing work delayed one day after another. After one week of patience, I received a call one evening from the printer saying, “I am unable to get the quality that you are asking for. We have another paper. See if you can use it.” Unfortunately, the available paper was not meeting my expectation as far as book quality is concerned.
That call made me so angry and anxious that I wanted to throw my cellphone on the wall. I wanted to scream at the person who called me and gave me the bad news. I wanted to give up on the quality of the book that I was looking for. I was feeling betrayed by the printer. After all delay in business even if it is for one day causes a lot of loses.
However, instead of being fatigued by my anger I became more determined towards my goal (i.e. get the best quality to the readers). I searched about printers in Delhi and talked to at least 10 printers for the books that were lined up for printing. From which three printers replied the very next day with printing charges. I finalized one of them and hopefully, we got better printing press who assured us better quality and services too.
This incident expresses that anger is not bad if the positive side of it is used instead of a negative one. Imagine, what if I would have thrown my cellphone on the wall? What if I would have screamed at the printers? What I would have given up on the quality? What If I did not call many printers in Delhi for quality assurance?
This experience reminded me of the birth of Virgin airlines by Richard Branson. It was the day when he was stuck in Puerto Rico while trying to get to the British Virgin Islands. According to the article written on the website virgin.com, he was stuck because there were not enough passengers to warrant the plane that is why the flight was cancelled. He was going there to meet his then-girlfriend (now wife).
Imagine yourself in the place of Branson. Would you not get angry and stressed if your flight gets cancelled, especially when your beloved one is waiting for you on the other side? However, when other passengers were worried and frustrated Branson hired a plane and filled his first plane. “I had a beautiful lady waiting for me in BVI and I hired a plane and borrowed a blackboard and as a joke, I wrote Virgin Airlines on the top of the blackboard, $39 one way to BVI. I went out around all the passengers who had been bumped and I filled up my first plane,” reads virgin.com website.
Instead of venting his anger and cursing airlines for cancelling the flight he used his anger to solve the problem. Aaron Sell got it right, “We need anger, and there are negative consequences for those without it.”
Aaron Sell, a social psychologist at Australia’s Griffith University, who, with pioneering evolutionary psychologists Leda Cosmides and John Tooby at the University of California Santa Barbara Center for Evolutionary Psychology, has helped lead the assault on old thinking about anger.
What research says?
According to research conducted by Henry Evans and Colm Foster, emotional intelligence experts and authors of Step Up: Lead in Six Moments That Matter, the highest performing people and team express their all emotions. They don’t hide them at all.
According to Evans and Foster anger is actually beneficial when channelized and controlled because it nourishes two useful behavioural capabilities.
* Anger creates focus: When you are angry you are focused to achieve something. You are not prone to multitask. You just work towards one thing. For instance, in my case, it was finding printers who can avail the paper quality that I was looking for.
* Anger generates confidence: When you are angry you don’t think of what others think of you and your actions. You just do what you want to do which is a sign of confidence. Anger–in small doses–can be the spark that gets you started.
How to channelize your anger wisely?
Decide whether it’s worth expressing
“Recognize the difference between events that you can change and those that are beyond your ability to control,” suggest Kashdan and Biswas-Diener. Don’t bother about the things that are beyond your capability to change and focus on the things that can be changed by you.
In my case, It was beyond my capacity to force the printer to get the paper quality so making effort for the same was worthless. Getting in touch with other printers who can arrange the paper quality that I was expecting was obviously in my hands so my efforts towards the same were paid off.
Slow down and choose a better option
“When you’re angry, pauses, deep breaths, and moments of reflection more effectively exercise power and control than rapid-fire responses. If you feel less angry when you slow down, great, but that’s not the goal. This is about giving yourself a wider range of options to choose from in an emotionally charged situation,” authors Todd Kashdan and Robert Biswas-Diener.
Successful people get angry but they also know how to use anger for better results. The question is how to manage anger that works in favour of you. First of all, whenever you get angry, take a deep breath and find out what you are angry for. In my case, the reason was that the printer that I was dependent upon not able to get paper quality that I was looking for. That is why I contacted printers and find out printers who can avail the paper quality. That is how you can also find out a better option or use the positive side of your anger that can solve your problem.
Don’t delay action
You found the better option to vent your anger. Now take action immediately because if you don’t take action you will regret as anger gives you motivation and a sense of ‘if not now then never’. It has happened to me many times. I try a lot to control my anger by not taking action and wait until my anger goes vanished. In result, I lose motivation to take action that could yield better results. They say, ‘hathoda tabhi maaro jab loha garam ho’ (strike while the iron is hot) which is acting on the opportunity as promptly as possible or else you will lose the game.
Share when was the last time you used your anger for better results. If you have not experienced the positive side of your anger so far then you should definitely use the above tips.