you remember that movie where the guy told everyone to throw open
windows and yell, "I'm madder than hell, and I'm not going to
take it anymore?"
If you are at all like me, there has been more than one occasion
where you felt like doing exactly that!
I was raised in a context where "anger" was
a sin ranked just a hair below murder and adultery. So, of course,
I tried everything
I knew to avoid admitting to this evil emotion that whirled within
me. Well no more!I've learned a few things about anger. The most exciting thing I've
learned is that what you are angry or irritated at in this world,
just may be pointing you toward your destiny - toward the meaning
and purpose of your life. That insight is exciting to me because, as I've intimated, I was
taught to run away from anger and now I see that I should run toward
Perhaps I should explain.Let me begin by saying that I still don't like the word anger. Angerrr.
Angerrrrr. The word can barely be spoken and I find myself bracing
emotionally because the word is both evocative and provocative. In part I think it's because it resonates most
uncomfortably with my entire Self. Because there is already an
angry frequency within
me, and perhaps within us all, it just feels like the anger "has
my number" in some way. I create a vortex of despair because
I get angry at the truth and when one denies the truth, there can
only be more anger.
I've even known myself to get angry at love and at the very people who love
me. Have you ever hurt the ones you love? I have. Anger distorts the rhythm
of my life and I want to change that, quickly and permanently. Maybe you do
too!The critical question, then, revolves around how one does that.
One of the insipid characteristics of anger is that we seldom own
it, preferring to assign responsibility for it to the object of our
anger (it's the other person's fault) or even denying it altogether.
But denying it won't help me or you. Anger is my issue and I bring
it to all of my life's participation, including the writing of this
article. This is not a weakness and I'm glad I know that that is
what I do.
Weakness is shown by denying the anger, not by admitting
it. Anger means you are in conflict with your destinyAnger, in the context of this discussion, occurs when there is a
conflict between the divine intention of our life and the behaviors
and choices imposed on us by the various institutional powers in
our life, or when we ourselves create a conflict through our own
choices and behaviors. In other words, the more distant you are from
knowing the meaning and purpose of your life, the more likely it
is that you will experience
anger in your life.
What you are angry at are the forces that are
distracting and diverting you from your destiny. These "forces" are
usually found in the four major institutions of our lives - family,
school, religion and work. When any or all of these institutions
insist on you making choices that are not in keeping with your destiny,
the result is your anger.This is so important, let me put it a third way.I believe there is a specific and divine purpose for your life.
There is a reason why you are here!
As I have written before, most people never find what that purpose is - which
is precisely why we live in such an angry world. If we all knew the meaning
and purpose of our lives, we wouldn't have angry employees shooting other people
in office buildings, we wouldn't be in a constant struggle over diversity issues,
and we would never be concerned about performance improvement again. Deep inside us is a homing device, directing us toward our destiny.
If we live and make choices in a way that conflicts with that destiny,
the homing device sounds an alarm.
That alarm is called anger. Anger does not care whether you are consciously aware of this conflict
or not. But most of us know an angry E-mail when we read one. We can hear
our President's anger as he reviews the last quarter's revenue decline
at the management meeting in spite of his attempts to sound optimistic.
As managers we sense the irritation or anger of our employees over
the lack of balance between work and family or over some contrived
Outside the office it is no different. You are no sooner seated
in a restaurant and you can tell if it's an irritating place to work.
Ever gone to an expensive restaurant - the kind with white tablecloths
and wine with a cork - dropped $150 for two dinners, and had the
distinct impression that you were annoying the staff by being there? In our marriages, without a word being spoken, we know that something
is upsetting our spouse. As a professional speaker, I can tell you if I have an angry audience
before anyone sits down. If we know anything - we know anger. We know we are irritated because we have not yet experienced a life
of meaning.If we know anything, we know anger. And thank goodness we do because
anger is an essential ingredient in our growth and the significant
impact we can make on our world.
My intention here is to encourage the use of anger to gain insight
about our life's direction. What makes you angry is calling you. So much of the world is not fair. So much of it is not right. There
are so many places where there is no justice or peace. There is far
too much suffering and violence. These are the situations in which
anger is the absolutely right response.Nothing worthwhile has happened in this world without someone getting
irritated or angry about something.
Edison got irritated about working
in the dark. MADD was created by a mother angry that her child died
so needlessly. Baby cribs were redesigned because someone was angry
that children were getting caught between the bars and suffocating.
Vaccine's have been formulated by scientists who went to war against
a disease. I speak and write the way I do because I think it is sad
that people spend their lives in meaningless work, when work should
really be a wonderful calling to fulfillment. Anger is the soul calling to the Self. When the Self does not answer,
the tragedy of meaninglessness is the result.
Ahhh - but when the
Self does answer - the world begins to change and our hope and faith
in each other and in the value of our work begins to exceed our wildest
imaginations. So go to that window. Throw it open. And declare to the universe
in your loudest voice that you are here to change things! Ian Percy speaks to corporations worldwide.
article has been adapted from his new book "The 7 Secrets to a Life of Meaning." Contact
him through www.IanPercy.com
The following quotation must be printed
at the conclusion of each reprinted article:
"Copyright The Ian Percy Corporation".
Ian Percy is one of North America's most inspirational speakers.