He is happy whose circumstances suit his temper; but he is more excellent who can suit his temper to any circumstances. David Hume
Everyone would like things to go the way they want it, visualize it and plan it. When most times things do fall in place as per our desires, we are elated and more often than not swagger around with a triumphant air. Good planning, reasonable expectations and a pragmatic approach invariably ensures that our plans are executed to perfection and definitely one can take pride in the effort. The trouble is when our efforts are not duly rewarded and things unexpectedly go wrong. It is here that the true temperament of a person is revealed, his/ her character tested and the ability to handle pressures and stress displayed. In short the mettle of a person is tried, tested and trusted when he/ she can gracefully tackle the crisis and relieve the pressures that would have built up.
Road rage is a perhaps one of the most explicit examples of people not being able to adjust their temper to suit the circumstances. In daily living there are umpteen numbers of times when we find our temper rising, our blood pressure shooting up and our normal personality acquiring a demonic transfiguration. Most parent’s complaint about their unruly children, complete forgetting that the children have the parents genes and a little probe into history would probably reveal that the parents were much more terrible brats. Most citizens revel in the armchair luxury of criticizing the government in general and the living conditions in particular while spouting umpteen reasons for not exercising their franchise. Our health, the weather, inflation and politics are but a few of the millions of topics on which we fail to reach any positive conclusion and prefer to wallow in the woes both real and imagined.
Reactions of people when circumstances let them down provides a very dramatic study in human psychology. The most commonly seen behavior when stressed is to use expletives to relive themselves of this uncontrollable rage that wells up within us. It might sound strange that people react so dramatically differently to the same situation. Some people go into panic and rage when they are unable to find their valuables, while others would calmly conjure up improbable theories to rationalize the location of the missing valuables. There are people who sulk, while others would rave and rant. There are still others who would wail and scream hoping to get both attention and sympathy while others would soak it all in and possibly be heart broken in the end. Of course there are some who are so petrified that they simply remain rooted to the spot unable to think, act or react. Sudden death of a loved one often brings forth such a reaction for the pain of loss is searing and benumbing .
Ideally though, the most composed people are those who may panic briefly but quickly regain their bearings and take proactive action. Those who display a sense of equanimity and are able to keep their cool despite suffering extreme pain, anxiety or frustration are the people who can be relied upon when the chips are down. If these people can have a calming influence on others as would be required in case of emergencies or disasters then they would rated as the people who have not just the best leadership qualities but perhaps the most balanced persona too.
Remember: The art of life is a constant readjustment to our surroundings. Kakuzo Okakaura
- Think of 3 instances when you lost your temper. Do you think that on hindsight you could have controlled your temper and thereby become more effective? Also think of 3 people you know / knew who just cannot /could not take pressure of any kind. Recollect their reactions when stressed. What was your reaction their inability to cope with stress?
- Read up on the Suffering and rescue of the Chilean miners who were trapped for over 33 days in a collapsed mine. Here is one link for you. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/14/world/americas/14chile.html You are encouraged to search for other links including video links to get a better insight into how circumstances did not overwhelm the brave.
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