A gentle answer turns away wrath

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For every minute of anger, you give up 60 seconds of peace of mind.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

The title of this column comes from an old proverb. And it seemed such an appropriate reminder for the current state of the world we are living in today, that I wanted to share it with you. I also wanted to share something else with you. I believe in the awesome power of hope. I believe that there is more goodness in the world than bad. And I believe there are more people doing good things than bad people doing bad things. And I believe that there are far more kind and gentle people in the world than there are angry people.

Yet what seems to make the news and find its way to our social media feed and stories are the angry, violent, and hateful events that are taking place. So, it could easily make us all wonder if what I said I believe in, in the paragraph above, is true.

I was fascinated by an article I read last week about a young woman who decided to go back to a phone that can only make and receive calls and send and receive text messages. Her reasons resonated with me and mirrored some of what I wrote about in a previous column last month. The need to stop scrolling and being so preoccupied with what’s happening on our phones and being more involved with the people right in front of us.

Although I agree with her reasons about being more present in the moment and involved in life, I also think that we are being fed so much negative information that we can’t help but fall into the trap of becoming angry, lashing out at others and saying things we normally wouldn’t say. Or we spend hours being angry and depriving ourselves of hours of finding peace of mind.

I started using this made-up word to describe what I see as the problem, attackusation. When I do watch the news or read online stories it is no longer about someone just attacking someone else physically or verbally, they feel compelled to attack their opinion, decision, or action and then go after them on a personal level making accusations that are most often false. And they aren’t satisfied with attacking or accusing just that person, they attack and accuse their family and friends.

Is this really what has become of our society? Let’s go back to what I said earlier that there is more goodness in the world than bad. Andrew Carnegie said, “You expect to move tons of dirt to find an ounce of gold, but you don’t go into the mine looking for the dirt, you go in looking for the gold.” If we want to find the bad, we can find it for sure. The question is do we want to? And if we do, why? I mean some people go around looking for the bad like there is some kind of prize or reward for finding the bad.

None of us has all the answers, but I do know that I can pass along a few simple suggestions. First, turn off the sources where we are being fed the negative fuel that drives our anger. Second, focus on the good, the goodness, and the good people that are all around us. And lastly, change our vocabulary to avoid words of anger and hate to words of love, gentleness, kindness, compassion, and forgiveness. Will these three little suggestions work? They will work if you apply them.

How about you? Is it time to change your input so you can change your output? Are you searching for the bad or are you looking for the good? And is it time to change your vocabulary and focus on words of hope and encouragement? I would love to hear your story at mnorton@tramazing.com, and when we can turn away the wrath and anger for the good and kind, it really will be a better than good year.

Michael Norton is the grateful CEO of Tramazing.com, a personal and professional coach, and a consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator to businesses of all sizes.

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