I worked with a professional athlete recently and he told me he gets very frustrated, angry, and mad when things do not go well. And then it’s downhill from there. I asked him how much “quality thinking” he does when he is frustrated, angry and mad. “Not much,” he replied.
He agreed with me when I suggested that being frustrated, angry, and mad impacts himself first, and then exacerbates the situation by limiting logical and rational thinking which he needs to recover from a bad situation. So, the first thing we did was to eliminate the words “frustrated, angry, and mad” from his vocabulary entirely. These are archaic labels that don’t that merely describe observable behavior.
What is really happening is that “he is allowing his brain to shut down.” And it is his brain where the necessary memories and rational thought required to perform better reside. So, when he feels like describing himself as being frustrated, angry and mad, he instead needs to properly identify his state and say to himself that he has allowed his brain to shut down. This is an important distinction and first step to getting out of the state.
I can’t tell you how many people at work today are frustrated, angry, and mad. It might be at their spouse, family member, boss, peer, paycheck, weather, or whatever. If you are one of them, or maybe your are not but life gives you legitimate reasons to feel these emotions, then I want you to say the same thing to yourself: I am allowing my brain to shut down.
This is the new term you need to use because it is in fact what is happening to YOU–and YOU happen to be the only one who can change YOUR state of being, your perspective, your sense of optimism, or creativity to effectively address the experience life has so illegitimately thrown your way. Most of you reading this weekly blog are smart enough to conjure up the right response to almost all situations but you, like so many of us, let frustration, anger, and madness get in the way of allowing yourself to go through the process to get to the right response.
Like me, and most humans at work, you will get frustrated this week by something. Some of you might get angry and others might even get mad. It will happen. This week, use the new term to better label your state and see how much more effective you can be.