King Solomon said in Proverbs 14:29:
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly
The emotion I have, most of the time is anger. I had come to realize that it is because I practice getting angry.
It may sounds funny but it is the truth.
When things don’t go my way, I get angry. When my kids don’t obey me, I get angry. When I can’t complete the tasks I set for myself, I get angry. When I don’t accomplish my goals, I get angry.
In summary, when something happens that is not to my expectations, I get angry.
Getting angry seemed to be the only response I know.
Surprisingly, to me, there are people who do not get angry whenever something bad happens. Instead of getting angry, they’d laugh or say “that’s funny”.
The late W. Clement Stone trained himself to respond in a unique way whenever something bad happens. Here’s what he would say according to the book, Make Yourself Unforgettable:
As a matter of personal discipline, he trained himself to exclaim, “Excellent!” no matter who dire the information might seem.
But that’s not all.
How to find positive opportunity hidden in every disaster
The book explained further:
Stone was determined to find the positive opportunity hidden in every disaster. If there was no hidden opportunity he would create one.
Let’s de-construct this so we can not only learn how to apply it, but also understand the principles behind it.
We start by looking at what the great philosopher William James said:
Actions seems to follow feeling, but really actions and feeling go together; and by regulating the action, which is under the more direct control of the will, we can indirectly regulate the feeling, which is not.
As William James suggested, we cannot directly control how we feel. However, we can control the way we act, which in turn affect the way we feel. In other words, whenever you are faced with an adverse situation, learn from the late W. Clement Stone and say, “Excellent!” or something to that effect.
But do not stop at that. Find, no create, a positive opportunity within that adverse situation.
How changing your vocabulary can change how you feel
In one of Tony Robbins’ Personal Talk series called “Watch Your TV“, where TV = transformational vocabulary, Tony shared four steps to change your vocabulary, which in turn will change the way you feel.
But why do we want to change the way we feel? Because, isn’t it true that:
Ultimately the way we feel determines the quality of your life. ~Tony Robbins
In other words, if you’re like me, who feels angry almost all the time, even if you have most accomplishments by society’s standards, you can still feel depressed. Which pretty much describe the state I was in back in 2013/2014.
How 4 questions can transform the quality of your life
I’ve adapted these four steps into four questions. The main reason for this decision is that, while stating these sequences as steps is good, it may not has trigger the necessary actions needed to make that change. However, by presenting it as a question, it implies a “need or want to know” premise.
Question 1: Are you aware of the habitual words you use to describe how you feel?
What are the words you use on a regular basis to describe how you feel? For instance, are you saying to yourself, “I am feeling frustrated about what’s going on”, on a regular basis? Become aware of these habitual words.
Question 2: What are the three most common words you use on a regular basis?
When you become aware, you have a heighten acuity to the choice of words. Write down three of the most common words you use on a regular basis.
Question 3: What are the feelings you’d experience more consistently?
Angry people tend to get angry. Sad people tend to become sad. Happy people tend to be, wait for this, happy! What are the feelings you’d like to experience more consistently? It could be feeling happy. Or it could be confident. Or it could be more hopeful.
Question 4: What are three words you can use to describe those feelings?
Based on your answers to Question 3, you then need to find three words to describe those feelings. For instance, I want to be happier. So, the choice of words for me are: I’m delighted, I’m grateful, I’m cheerful.
Share your choice of words in the comments below.