Never Reply When You Are Angry – False!

Never Reply When You Are Angry – False!

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to discuss the meme “Never reply when you are angry” and reveal when that is actually bad advice.

First a quick update:

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Now, let’s talk about the meme “Never reply when you are angry” and reveal when that is actually bad advice.

You might have seen the meme on social media:

“Never reply when you are angry. Never make a promise when you are happy. Never make a decision when you are sad.” – Anonymous

All three suggestions have one thing in common: do not respond when you are in a highly emotional state.

Making a decision or making a promise are actually the same things; when you make a promise you’ve made a decision. So again the admonition here is that if you’re in a high state such as happiness or if you’re in a low state such as sadness, never make a decision or a commitment.

Although this teaching sounds wise and profound, it is not.

“Never” is the wrong word.

Let me explain.

Intense emotions can be a mirror or spark to drive you forward.

There are times that you truly need to respond and make decisions when your emotions are high.

Sometimes an intense emotion is the only way to push you to jump out of your comfort zone.

Let me share a couple of examples.

I was working in Australian radio as a talk show host. The radio station was sold and every single person was laid off and paid out.

I came home and my then roommates we’re all quite reticent about even speaking to me because they’d seen the story on television and were concerned that I would be deeply depressed, unhappy or even really angry.

However, right in that moment when I received the news and a small settlement I felt quite high and happy, and I made the immediate decision that I would travel the world for at least 3 months. I saw this as an opportunity to do something new, even though radio was a passion of mine.

That decision and ‘holiday’ changed my life.

I had made a decision and a promise to myself right in the moment when I was really happy. And it’s a decision that I do not regret because it pushed me out of my comfort zone and I ended up living around the world and changing my career and profession numerous times. If I had waited to make a decision, I might have given into the offer by the new radio station owner to stay on and keep working on radio. In other words, I would never have stepped out of my comfort zone. I would never have done anything different.

Here is another example.

I was working in the island of Cozumel as an entertainment manager, overseeing a large team. I had already experienced a lot of frustration because the general manager had failed to keep his many promises of performance-based rewards and benefits for my team. One day he had intervened in my team and I do not even recall the details; what I do recall is that I was sufficiently angry and frustrated and fed up. In that moment, I made another decision – to quit.

The head office of the company made me many offers to stay on or to work somewhere else for the company but I already made up my mind and I said, “No.”

If I had not made the decision in that heated moment I might have again stayed inside my comfort zone.

And here is one more example.

I was working in West Africa. The then owner of the resort decided to slash the size of my team and lay off people in my team without even consulting with me.

I was so angry that I went straight to the corporate office, walked into the owner’s office and announced my resignation effective immediately.

He was shocked.

I had responded and replied with anger: I stated clearly to him that I refuse to accept his meddling in my team.

What was the outcome?

He withdrew his decision and agreed to never again intervene in my team.

So again, what would have happened if I had waited until I had calmed down?

Most likely I would have done nothing. I might have responded with a calm, cool, logical approach with him, and I know that that would not have worked with him.

Today, I teach and present corporate training programs and workshops where I specifically teach that it is critical to wait 24 hours before replying in person or to emails where there is an intense emotional situation or conflict. And that is generally good advice. The exception is when you know that the right thing to do is to act now and use your intense emotion to drive you forward rather than sitting, waiting, analyzing, and then being controlled by the fear of taking action or rocking the boat. You need to have self-awareness to know when it is time to use your intense emotions to help you break down the walls of your comfort zone & your prison, and make that tough decision.

There are also times, when I consciously know that I must wait and allow my anger to calm down in order to decide what it is that I actually want to achieve and what is the best way to achieve that objective.

Notice, too, in the examples above that when I made a decision, I stuck to it, and I didn’t even consider questioning, doubting or second-guessing myself or my decision.

Remember, there will be times that you will need use anger to right an injustice; there will be times that you will need sadness or anger to push you to get out of an unhealthy relationship.

What comfort zone have you created that has turned into a prison?

If you need personal help to gain confidence and take action, make a tough decision and close an old door to open a new one – book a one-on-one session with me.

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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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