Angry People are More Like Goofy than Einstein
You feel brilliant when you’re angry. And the angrier you get, the dumber the world becomes.
Anger lowers your intelligence, not the intelligence of others.
Angry people need others to acknowledge their brilliance.
I don’t mean angry people are actually brilliant. I mean they believe in their own brilliance and others should appreciate it.
Anger is permission to:
#1. Throw your weight around.
Angry know-it-alls give themselves permission to push people around.
You’ve never met an angry person with an open mind.
You’ve never met an angry person who KNEW they were wrong, unless they were angry at themselves.
The most dangerous person in the room is right with a closed mind.
#2. Chew with your mouth open.
Anger is permission to yell and spit.
Good manners are inconveniences to angry people.
#3. Read minds.
Anger enables you to KNOW and confront other people’s selfish motives. NOT!
Somehow anger is a super power.
#4. Slam your door and pout.
A person who withdraws and pouts is afraid to speak up.
Powerful people get aggressive. Weak people pout.
Pouters want the same thing screaming idiots want – their own way.
It’s easy to transform pouters. Give pouters what they want and suddenly they’re happy.
Pouters are know-it-alls just like pushy people.
3 ways to get smart when you’re stressed and angry:
Constant stress makes you irritable.
An irritated person is one step from Goofy.
- Make a list of everything you want to control but can’t. Go outside and burn it. Or tear it to shreds and put it in the trash.
- Have an admiration meeting. Admire others. Let others admire you.
- Close your eyes and breathe for one minute. Set a timer and practice breathing every hour.
You’re humble when you want to learn and angry when you’re sure you know.
What are the dangers of anger?
How might people deal with anger caused by nagging stress?
Anger lowers your intelligence, not the intelligence of others. It has taken me many years to understand this one and how to manage my “anger” so that said “anger” does not control me. I believe I’ve been successful on managing the anger that comes on me and because I can now do that I am a more effective, compassionate and healthier man. I do not believe anger management can be taught one has to experience it and develop ones own management means from those experiences.
Thanks Roger. It’s taken me years to learn that I’m not smarter when I’m angry. 🙂
I’m curious. What helps you manage anger.
I love the way you write…”anger that comes on me.” I believe that we don’t control what we feel. We control how we respond to it. So the idea that anger “comes on people,” makes perfect sense.
We don’t get smarter when we’re angry, but we think we do.
I’m curious. What helps you manage anger. Patience, a longer term focused approach and the knowledge that if I manage that anger and term it into more positive action and even language I can be more effective in what I do in all that I do. Do we let anger as it comes to us control us or do we attempt to harness it for some good.
I suspect my thoughts parallel Roger’s… I’ve always managed (well … after adolescence, at any rate) myself by thinking “I’m falling in, be aware) – whether falling in anger or love … because it IS what you feed – the wolf or the shepard.
Anger (and related semi-conscious frustration) is usually rooted in what you DON’T want, but have,
while love (and related semi-conscious attraction) is usually rooted in what you DO want, and don’t have.
This is the only way I’ve found to explain how love can invert to hate,
and why “present-ists” are (more) prone to anger (past informing the present) and unconstructive impatience (entitled, as in “All I’ve done,” / “This can’t stand,” … ),
and why “vision-ists” are more prone to be lovers (affirming our future together) and constructively patient (empowered, as in “it WILL get better,” / “This too shall pass,” … ).
It’s what we feed and affirm that becomes real. When you are witness to anger (your own or others’), be curious and fall to the loving side, become fascinated – you’ll resolve a lot more than you muck up. IMHE.
“What helps you manage anger?”
Age and wisdom.
There is a point in one’s life when one realizes anger just gets you a good case of indigestion and you wise up and just keep your mouth shut.
Great post. I remember taking a personality test, and one of the coaching comments based on my type (INJG if I recall) was, “When you get angry, you loose.” That little bit of wisdom has followed me for years and proven true over and over.
Thanks John. Powerful sentence. We could expand it to “everyone looses.”
I’ve followed you for years and enjoyed your perspectives. This one really resonated. It covers a wide spectrum from politics to the current pandemic. Anger is one element of reactivity. Getting past it to creative and closer to Einstein would help us all. My military experience also bears out the effective performance of soldiers who don’t let anger drive their decisions in a critically dynamic fluid environment. Well stated and much appreciated position. Thank you.
Anger is highly motivating when you’re playing hockey (as long as you don’t hurt anybody).
I love your #2 Admiration meeting. I think I’m going to call one.
Two points on anger:
1. understand that getting angry is human
2. different cultures and even subcultures expect different ways to express anger, know your own cultural norm and do not expect others outside your culture to express anger the same way you do
4. be tolerant of the different ways people express anger, and especially if they are in obvious physical pain
3. do not be afraid of anger, channel it; that is how the Declaration of Independence was written–and that is righteous anger and not to be confused with zealot anger
4. the best revenge is living well in health
5. when you live long enough do don’t care anymore what people thing of you
Another insightful blog…
I think anger shuts people down. By shutting your team down or suppressing their brilliance, the organization, team and the most important resource – the people, suffer.
Temperament is one of the most important qualities I look for in team members – true character shines in crises, stress and difficult times. Mindfulness exercises are good for everyone – recognizing when stress levels move from positive to negative leads to better balance and hopefully a more pleasant experience for everyone.
The dangers of anger varies but, I think a big problem with it would be that you say things you don’t mean, it causes a big unwanted problem that a lot of the times you can’t exactly get yourself out of because for a few seconds you felt minors powerful than the other problem. Anger makes you ignorant. You have to learn to control yourself, take a deep breath and think of the more productive thing to say instead of the more hurtful. A real leader thinks before they speak.
How apropos Dan. As an old friend once said to me during a somewhat heated conversation, “Don’t confuse me with the facts, I have already made up my mind.”
Dan, this one has to be one of your Top 10.
I’m curious about your thoughts on those who practice stealth anger. These are the folks who smile at you and use soft comforting almost overly polite vocal tones in the presence of you and others but who may strike back with the cold precision of one of those liquid terminators from the movies when they perceive even the mildest of threat to their position or power. I see this sociopath-like tendency rewarded far to often in organizations where a lack of error is more important than innovation or achievement.
Anger practiced in stealth – I like that insight.
A partial – but pervasive, none the less – answer lies in the ever increasing acceptability (rationalizing and excusing) of passive-aggressive tactics and strategies.
The first indicator/signal of p-a is when there is a blatant discrepancy (and disregard) b/t what one says and what one does … once this is tolerated in tactic, it becomes a strategy that actually works (that’s why it sustains).
Any intolerance for such behaviour by one wielding power/influence is taken directly as a threat, and requires isolation and destruction – which explains corporate (and office) politics.
That is why it is better for open anger to be tolerated because if not then passive aggressive sociopaths win, and another point: the First Amendment of the US Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, which is grounded in anger of government action. Political speech is angry speech.
Up to a point, I agree with you, Victoria;
However … we need to be very discerning with our expressions of anger, as we often misplace/transfer it on the wrong object and it blows back on us (take Hillary’s “deplorables” expression, Trump Derangement Syndrome and Trump’s election to our Presidency);
The point is that anger is viral in nature, that one’s anger is truly one’s own (we are Patient Zero), and that venting our anger is best done in private (socially distanced) – until we can be sure we’ve isolated the true cause (not just the trigger).
Once a passive-aggressive and/or sociopath sees you can be triggered, they will manipulate you / provoke you into doing precisely what you are objecting to.
The best political speech resolves past anger into future action, it doesn’t tie up the present with venting our own bs. That’s the best we can hope for in our leaders, methinks.
The War of Independence was less of a revolution and more of an assertion of rights already determined, done far more reluctantly than angrily, truth be known. May the American Experiment continue.
I was interested by your ending this post on stress, because stressful situations over a long time get to me and I become either sullen, then angry. I’ve found that I need to not shame myself for feeling angry, but pull it apart to figure out why. Today’s world gives me lots of ‘whys.” Now I’m working on controlling what I can, putting plans in place to manage what’s possible, and mitigate the negative impacts. Then just let go of the rest. Easier said than done, I’m afraid. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.
Great advice Humanergy2010, “Control what you can and let go of what you can’t.”
I’ve heard a saying that goes something like “Anger is a good servant, but a poor master”. I think anger can be a positive emotion that ignites a fire under us to take action when action is needed, but letting anger guide your behavior in the long term is a recipe for disaster.
My last point of the salient nature of anger, it is one of the stages of emotional loss: 1. shock, 2. anger, 3. negotiation, 4. resignation, and 5. forgiveness, Next time you see someone angry ask if they are experiencing loss, and let them be angry because they cannot get to forgiveness if they cannot be angry first. There is a pandemic going on, let us all be tolerant and forgiving.
I spent a large majority of my adult life angry because I was always mistreated by anyone in authority around me. Actually, it started before adulthood. Even my high school teachers used to gang up on me. Family, boyfriends, strangers… the way that everyone treated me made me a very angry person. I spent a lot of time alone. When I hit 40, I somehow managed to let it all go. Now it’s easy for me to see that same anger in my younger subordinates. I take the time to talk to them and mainly listen, because I think that I would have been a much different person had I had someone that actually listened to me. If I can help someone else to get past that stage (prior to hitting 40), then I will do all I can to help. It’s my duty as a good person.
Tanya, there’s a premise out there in some circles that some people such as yourself who go through hardship and pain are meant to do so because they can then help others because of that journey. I know it’s a hard thing and I don’t wish anyone the pain you went through on anyone but quite possibly it was for the direction you are in now helping others through similar hardships and anger.
I really appreciate this post!
Leaders need courage to admit this is something happen to ourselves too and not just to others.
I am actually very angry. I had a bad boss on the past year that made me feel very bad, not recognized at all for the great results that I brought within a complex context and actually discriminated too.
Now I am in a new situation, I am very well recognized, with strong credibility an trust. It is not the situation I wanted but it is ok for now and this is many rooms for the future however I can’t throw behind my shoulders
the trauma of the treatment received. I feel bad and angry at times. I find myself losing control and being destructive to the rest of the team…!
Anger shows lack of control. It is a lack of control on a situation and a lack of control on one’s self. Being able to control your anger shows that you are able to be mature with a clear head when approaching a situation. Secondly, anger is dangerous because it shows that someone is leading with emotion. When you are angry you are unable to remove emotions from decision making. Making reactionary decisions based on emotion is a very dangerous thing for a leader to do. Instead of using logic, you are using emotion. Understanding anger and emotion is the best way to direct negativity relating to a situation or a problem.
A leader should look inward. Take a deep breath and ask yourself some questions about your emotions. Why are you feeling angry? Approach your feelings with logic. This will buy you time to cool down and clear your mind. Recognition of unproductive emotion and anger is the first step to stopping it before it gets out of control. Next, you should address what is making you angry. This does not necessarily mean confronting the problem or person directly. It may entail taking a step back and removing yourself from the situation. Another thing you should try to do is prevent yourself from feeling angry in the future. Recognizing triggers and situations that make you angry is a start. Avoiding these situations and preparing will help a person deal with anger.
I would say that if someone was getting angry due to nagging stress, they should address the stress to prevent the anger. Identify what is making you stressed and work to correct it. Prepare for assignments coming up in work. Get enough rest. Make time to do things you enjoy. Exercise regularly. Being able to scrutinize your situation and have an awareness of the things that cause you to have an emotional response is the best cure for anger.
Ms. Tulane’s comment is replete with condescending and a misunderstanding of how channeled anger can create better leaders, see
Is she afraid of her own anger? Intimidated by challenges from her colleagues?
I just picked a fight, now I watch who channels the anger, so I can discern the authentic person behind the professional façade–and that is what leaders do to form teams
Just picked a fight? … that’s what leaders do?
No, Victoria, passive-agressives do this …
they provoke others to (emotionally) overreact,
to manipulate emotional responses to get what they want …
usually some lame justification to place themselves in victim status and get special accommodations, which is usually influence/power to manipulate further.
Enjoy it while it lasts, because it’s a short game that can’t sustain;
all it does is destroy (teams and companies) –
the polar opposite of effective management or sustainable leadership.
Rurbane, you misunderstand my intentions here by dumping me into a convenient bucket of passive aggressives who actually do not pick fights because of their nature of being passive, so your argument fails and is a non-sequitur.
Next, your response gives me great insight into your lack of experience with the discipline of hard-core corporate deal making: please let me know if I am wrong, and in the mean time, I offer my experiences:
1. I am a belted marital arts instructor trained in the discipline of testing the limits of my opponent–I want to make sure that if I put real money on the table I don’t want to be taken advantage of because I am a women
2. And yes, any good business negotiator worth his or her salt is doing the same thing to me
3. The game is to have both sides walk away from the table feeling like they won–the art of negotiation involves psychology, see the 3,000 year old classic,, “The Art of War,” SunTzu
https://www.amazon.com/Art-War-Sun-Tzu/dp/1599869772they provoke others to (emotionally) overreact,
4. Sustainable leadership is to negoiate from a position of strength
5. I work in NYC, I am 5 foot 2 inches, 107 lbs,, blonde, and I have successfully defended myself against agresssive male exceutives and threatening encounters on the streets of Manhattan.
I suppose you have not met anyone like me before (I am not a manipulative female that you may have had experiences with–I am a female who has been trained to fight like a man) and by the way, I just survived being hit by car because I am in such good shape,
Let us do a redo with respect
Passive-aggressive is a dynamic, the passive and aggressive occur in cycles … It is not a bucket nor a non sequitor. And I wasn’t trying to label you or say that’s what you’re doing … I was just cautioning us all in our language v. concept. Please don’t take it personally – I sure don’t … You’ve help to clarify the thinking here.
I like almost everything else you offered; so by all means, let’s have a reset; my apologies for not being clear about all above here. I like your worldview and determination to master the existing to transcend it.
And you are entirely correct that the best negotiation is where the outcome is win/win/win (I win/you win/we all win). That is the only sustainable path.