Get Irritated And Change The World!

Do you remember that movie where the guy told everyone to throw open their 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 it!

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 policy change.

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.

This article has been adapted from his new book "The 7 Secrets to a Life of Meaning." Contact him through

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"Copyright The Ian Percy Corporation".
Ian Percy is one of North America's most inspirational speakers.


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