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A great many of us go around angry all day. Sometimes we realize it, sometimes not. Anger takes over our talent, it debilitates us, and turns potentially productive energy into a self-undermining fire.

The way to escape anger is to forgive. I admit I’m far from perfect at this, but I do try to exercise the principle. If someone cut you off, so what? it’s over, no one is hurt, you really can’t seek retribution outside of road rage, which is destructive. (The trouble is that some people walk around in “life rage.”) So you didn’t get a good deal, or the best table, or credit for your contributions. So what? You learned a lesson for next time.

Most anger is really self-anger directed outwards to protect one’s sense of self-worth. It was you who didn’t prepare (I wasn’t given enough time), you who misunderstood the instructions (I thought 9 am was coffee, not the start of the program), you who failed to send the gift (why didn’t you remind me).

So, maybe the first element in avoiding undermining yourself in a fury of anger is to admit your mistakes and then forgive yourself. Like I said, I’m far from perfect, but I’m pretty damn good. I make mistakes. I apologize if appropriate. Then I move on.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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