Check yourself.

Ask yourself this one question and then take a moment to really think about your answer.

Are you getting mad about the right things?

Then take it two steps deeper with these follow-on questions.

  • Are you getting mad about things that you have control over?
  • Are you getting mad about things you don’t have control over?

These two questions are critical for determining whether you are getting mad about the right things.

Why does this matter?

Because, if you’re getting mad about things that you can control then you can actually do something about it.

  • For example, if you are constantly late you can control that
  • If you are regularly forgetting things you can control that
  • If you find yourself starting every sentence with “sorry” you can control that too.

Why bother?

Because these are soft skills that will determine your life and career trajectory. Whether we are willing to admit it or not these are skills other people measure us on. These are skills we ultimately measure ourselves upon too.

Anger Management + Excuse Management ≠ Life Management

I decided to write this post because far too often I find myself both saying and hearing “sorry” before too many conversations. I’m not saying you should never say you are sorry. I’m suggesting that we collectively can work on the soft skill that that means we don’t need to start every conversation with an apology… with an excuse.

The underlying logic is this… if you are starting every conversation with an apology you might be doing something wrong.

Along this same line of thinking… if you are consistently late this will be noticed by your peers, your partners, and your customers. You have the power to fix this. Some say it’s a passive-aggressive behavior to always be late. Perhaps there is some truth to this. But, trust me, you don’t want to be the person that people know will ALWAYS be late. You might think it’s fashionable, but it’s just plain rude and something YOU can control.

“If you aren’t 10 minutes early … you are late”
an old military saying and what the best sales rep I ever met lives by

What does this have to do with getting mad about the right things?

This post runs in parallel to another one I wrote about Avoiding Self Sabotage. Self-Sabotage can often be traced back to getting mad at yourself.

Back to questions 2 and 3… If you can control the situation then you can change the situation. If you can’t control it… then you should address it to the best of your abilities and move on. With the goal of not having to provide an excuse for not delivering what you committed and for not being angry with yourself.

This boils down to the age old adage of controlling what you can control and not spending energy on the things that you cannot.

Then, if and when you need to get mad about something… you’ll know you are getting mad about the right things.