This goes out to both my dearest sons — especially to Jacob!
If both of you had inherited only one thing from me, that would be the temper — a fairly short one! But don’t let this bother you, study has shown short-tempered people are also usually smarter 😉
It is ok to be angry. And I know it is very hard to suppress anger. But guess what? You don’t need to control your anger, you just need to control how you react when you are angry.
For example, someone serves me a cup of very bad coffee, it pisses me off instantly, I can choose to smash the cup on the floor to show the person how bad the coffee is — and make a bloody mess while I do that.
Or, I can tell the person how the bad coffee upsets me, and let the person decide what is he going to do about it. If the person is nice and offers me another cup of coffee, I will let it rest and continue to enjoy my coffee. If the person decides not to be nice and refuses to replace my coffee, I will just walk away and tell myself not to come back to this store again.
You see my point? No one has to clean up any bloody mess!
I extracted the following story from Dale Carnegie’s book: “How To Win Friends and Influence People” — talks about how someone had decided to not fight anger with anger, and ended up winning more.
One morning years ago, an angry customer stormed into the office of Julian F. Detmer, founder of the Detmer Woolen Company, which later became the world’s largest distributor of woolens to the tailoring trade.
“This man owed us a small sum of money,” Mr. Detmer explained to me. “The customer denied it, but we knew he was wrong. So our credit department had insisted that he pay. After getting a number of letters from our credit department, he packed his grip, made a trip to Chicago, and hurried into my office to inform me not only that he was not going to pay that bill, but that he was never going to buy another dollar’s worth of goods from the Detmer Woolen Company.
“I listened patiently to all he had to say. I was tempted to interrupt, but I realized that would be bad policy. So I let him talk himself out. When he finally simmered down and got in a receptive mood, I said quietly: ‘I want to thank you for coming to Chicago to tell me about this. You have done me a great favor, for if our credit department has annoyed you, it may annoy other good customerjs, and that would be just too bad. Believe me, I am far more eager to hear this than you are to tell it.’
“That was the last thing in the world he expected me to say. I think he was a trifle disappointed, because he had come to Chicago to tell me a thing or two, but here I was thanking him instead of scrapping with him. I assured him we would wipe the charge off the books and forget it, because he was a very careful man with only one account to look after, while our clerks had to look after thousands. Therefore, he was less likely to be wrong than we were.
“I told him that I understood exactly how he felt and that, if I were in his shoes, I should undoubtedly feel precisely as he did. Since he wasn’t going to buy from us anymore, I recommended some other woolen houses.
“In the past, we had usually lunched together when he came to Chicago, so I invited him to have lunch with me this day. He accepted reluctantly, but when we came back to the office he placed a larger order than ever before. He returned home in a softened mood and, wanting to be just as fair with us as we had been with him, looked over his bills, found one that had been mislaid, and sent us a check with his apologies.
“Later, when his wife presented him with a baby boy, he gave his son the middle name of Detmer, and he remained a friend and customer of the house until his death twenty-two years afterwards.”