Getting Mad Does Not Get It Done

Today’s Lesson: Being mad is not the same as being effective.


It was all I could do to keep from slamming my fist on my laptop and shattering it. The anger welled in me and I realized I was clinching my fists.

I almost never find myself angry at people. I understand them. I can usually see where they are coming from and have empathy for their emotional distress. I do, however, find I have an absurdly short fuse for inanimate objects that refuse to do my bidding. When I am stuck on a technical computer problem or when my toaster oven does not make toast, I have to fight the urge not to throw it out a window.

After spending most of yesterday and today trying to fix a problem with one of our blogs (and creating more problems along the way), I realized I needed to do something I hate doing or I was going to lose my cool.

I had to ask for help.

I swallowed and took a few deep breaths, then picked up the phone and called my web hosting provider. A young man named Boston answered and asked how he could assist me. Exasperated, I explained the situation with far too many verbs in far too much detail, but Boston politely listened until I lost steam. Then he said, “Oh, right. The problem you’re having is due to an issue with our script-engine. We should have it up and running tonight but I will help you undo the unnecessary changes you made and get you back to where you started yesterday.”

Unfortunately, this affected all my sites and I lost two days’ worth of blog posts (including the back ups).

I realized no matter how mad I became at my Chromebook, there was nothing it (or I) could have done to make my websites magically work. I probably should have called Boston twelve hours earlier (but I still have not learned to like asking for help–maybe in a future lesson…). I could have saved several hours of bottling up frustration and pushing toxic emotions into myself and the world.

Being mad when life does not work as we think it should might make us momentarily feel justified (until we realize our anger made the situation worse) but in the end the world will remain unchanged and our anger will have been spent on nothing. Better to practice patience, pause until we feel calm, and then try another approach.