Are You Still Angry?

In a recent photo posted on NASA’s website, we’re treated to an image of a solar Canyon of Fire. The image has been colorized so that we can see the remarkable details of the eruption that was captured on September 29; just days before the 2013 Government Shutdown. The red-hot slash of the Canyon of Fire in the sun’s corona, or atmosphere, simply looks angry. Interesting, perhaps, because the color is the result of human design.

That’s a nice point of reference for anger in general. Want to know what I mean? Keep reading.

In last week’s Tribal Rainmakers call, Dave Logan shared some of the content for his forthcoming leadership book. As part of the exploration, he dug into the power of anger and how it is defeated by an evolutionary response in our brains. In one moment, we see red hot anger over an injustice, a poor business practice, or a rogue tribe. In the very next moment, the anger begins to dissipate. As it becomes less intense, so does the opportunity to use that anger, or outrage, to have an impact.

In the remaining Tribal Rainmakers call, we went onto explore how to “keep the anger alive.”

Are you following? We can use anger, by design, to change what angers us. The trick is that we need to get up out of petty personal interests. To keep your anger alive and use it to change something, find the core of what was violated in the situation. That’s where we can use anger to transcend personal affronts to impact societal, business, and tribal good.

Here’s the next question, are you still angry about the 2013 Government Shutdown or has your brain made it all a little fuzzy?

Just a few weeks later and it’s becoming a distant and hazy memory for most of us. Our brains are lulling us into a false sense of serenity. Why is that a bad thing?

It’s a bad thing because unless you weren’t paying attention, chances are there was something in the shutdown that angered you. It might have been the pre-planned actions of the Tea Party Republicans that led to the shut down, the details of the Affordable Care Act that you didn’t like, the refusal of President Obama to submit to the shutdown, the federal resources you couldn’t access, the way that your least favorite media entity covered the 16-day period of time, or countless other actions or inactions that set your teeth on edge. 

If we had dug into our anger to discover what was at the heart of it we might have found what core value or principle was violated. We would have had the opportunity to determine how that core value or principle extends beyond our own self-interests to our larger tribe. And perhaps, we might have discovered that we have more in common than what appears to divide us. If that had happened, we might even have begun healing the rift that has the U.S. primed for the next government shutdown.

Next time, let’s commit to stay angry long enough to determine which of our values have been violated. When we do, perhaps we’ll find a way for those values to unite us.

If you’re looking for a tribe where your anger and outrage is honored and where you can practice keeping the anger alive, join us for Tribal Rainmakers.

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