Since missing boats seems to be the story of my life, I shouldn’t be surprised that yet another one apparently sailed without me. To be more specific, I’m having trouble understanding what the big deal is about Harvard Business Review. (“Oh, my Gawd, Edna! Do you see what he just wrote?!”)

Case in point: I recently told a friend I was righteously torqued about something, to which he responded by sending me “What to Do When Anger Takes Hold“ from HBR. Since you have to believe (or hope) HBR’s readership is pretty much crawling with adults, the title struck me as curious. But … whatever.

The post posits — and I’m paraphrasing — that we can enable ourselves to act powerfully under the influence of high emotion while still achieving favorable outcomes. We can do so by employing informal techniques such as not blowing our stacks, not threatening, not swearing, not telling the object of our ire that his grandmother wears combat boots, and not inflicting bodily harm on said object. (Okay. I made up the last one.) Then it goes on to offer three formal techniques:

  1. Feel the emotion fully. If you’ve never been an adult, this just might come in handy. And if you’ve never been angry, you just might enjoy it. Besides, letting it rip may be your best bet for getting over it. As Marcel Proust, a French adult, once said: “We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” Hmm … they might have something there.
  2. Meditate. If you’ve never been a Buddhist monk, you’ll find this tip to be just the ticket to peace and inner harmony, as well as the next best thing to asbestos mittens. As Buddha once said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” I’ll tell you this for free: Meditation is much safer than playing catch with hot coals: You don’t have to listen to all that screaming, and you won’t even incur a co-pay for your emergency-room visit.
  3. Practice martial arts. If you’ve never inflicted bodily harm on anyone, this technique is doubly useful — especially if you do it with the person with whom you’re angry — because it combines blowing off some steam with (or by) inflicting bodily harm. As martial-arts master Bruce Lee instructed: “Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones.” Since Bruce isn’t around anymore, we can’t ask him. But we’re pretty sure he was pissed when he said that.

It’s entirely possible I missed the boat when HBR started targeting a younger audience. On the other hand, it’s equally possible common denominators have gotten a little lower since the last census.

Either way, be sure to watch HBR for my upcoming post: “How to Shatter the Class Bully’s Nasal Bone When He Steals Your Lollipop”.

By Smurfy (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.