In 1993, I had been the Human Resources Director for a few years. It was a career path I had chosen and I wanted to get better at my trade. Labor Relations was a large part of what I did and conflict and confrontation were built in to this. That year, 1993, I started a new life philosophy. These exact words were written in my journal; “In order for you to piss me off, I must grant you permission. Effective today, I will no longer grant this permission.” A few months later, I saw these words on a church sign; “He who angers you, owns you.” These words also went in my journal.
Friends, this new life philosophy changed my life. Before this, I allowed my anger and emotions to control too many of my actions and decisions. I became a better HR guy. Although I don’t remember much anger outside of work, I’m sure this new belief carried over to my roles as a husband, dad, and friend.
I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER seen two angry people solve ANYTHING! I have NEVER, NEVER, NEVER seen a win-win solution come from two angry people. It rarely occurs if even one is angry.
I remember conducting a grievance a few years later. It was obvious the union president was trying to push my buttons. It was a ploy that had probably worked in the past. After a few failed attempts of him attempting to tick me off, I stopped the meeting. I said, “Hold on. Let me check my calendar.” I flipped open my Franklin Planner to that day’s date. I said, “I’m sorry. I must RSVP and let you know that I will be unable to attend.” He responded with some profanity and asked what the ##** I was talking about?” I responded; “It is obvious that you are inviting me to an argument and looking at my schedule, I have a grievance scheduled in this time slot and I will be unable to attend your argument.” Finally, he began laughing. When the mood changed from conflict and confrontation, we came to a win-win solution. Angry people don’t resolve anything.
Since this journal entry in 1993, I have failed and granted permission a few times. When I say a few times, I mean they could fit on the fingers of one hand with a finger or two going unused. Many cannot even look at social media without granting permission and immediately attending an argument. I choose to not be these people OR be around these people. If it doesn’t improve my faith, family, finances or friendships, I choose to not invest any of my most precious commodity, my time.
One of my weekly devotionals contained the story below. I have seen this before but it is a great reminder. For me, it was a reminder of a journal entry and a philosophy that changed my life in 1993. As we all wake up every day “Battling Average,” this would be a great life philosophy for any person that has committed to becoming UnAverage. Is that you? Do you know an average person that needs this e-mail? Feel free to forward.
Nails in the Fence –
There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence. Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence.
Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.
The days passed… and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails had been removed. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It won’t matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”