It’s great to be able to stop
When you’ve planned a thing that’s wrong,
And be able to do something else instead
And think this song.
— Mr. Rogers
As silly as those lyrics might seem to us in the moment, as our temper is boiling over, are they any worse than a grown adult losing their cool over some minor slight? Are they worse than saying or doing something that will haunt us, possibly forever? Not that regret minimization is the point of managing our temper, although it is an important factor. The point is that people who are driven by anger are not happy. They are not still. They get in their own way. They shorten legacies and short-circuit their goals.
The Buddhists believed that anger was a kind of tiger within us, one whose claws tear at the body that houses it. To have a chance at stillness — and the clear thinking and big-picture view that defines it — we need to tame the tiger before it kills us. We have to beware of desire, but conquer anger, because anger hurts not just ourselves but many people as well. Although the Stoics are often criticized for their rigid rules and discipline, that is really what they are after: an inner dignity and propriety that protects them and their loved ones from dangerous passions…
[W]e must choose to drive our anger and replace it with love and gratitude — and purpose. Our stillness depends on our ability to slow down and choose not to be angry, to run on different fuel. Fuel that helps us to win and build, and doesn’t hurt other people, our cause, or our chance at peace.
Stillness Is The Key