Daily Stretch #15: don’t become a victim of other’s anger
My bike ride ended amazingly today. But it was this close of going south.
Biking long distances, on the road, is a journey full of surprises.
A truck driver assumed the light was green when he started a left turn. Fortunately, he stopped looking at his smartphone screen right on time. The driver pulled the break when I was about to jump off my bike.
A group of kids was riding in the opposite lane of a bike path. One of them decided to overpass the rest. He didn’t look ahead when switching lanes. I was approaching him at 24 MPH. I took my chances and headed to the grass. And I avoided the crash.
There are two safety rules I follow when riding on the road. Be predictable to others. Anticipate -and react to- other’s people unpredictable behavior.
I always talk about how our ability to adapt is critical to growing in our personal and professional lives.
Well, it’s also critical to surviving the road. Not just to elude accidents, but not to allow anger ruin your ride.
Today’s Stretch: don’t become a victim of other’s anger
“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
Situations like the ones I described earlier are more common than not. As a biker, I’m used to being a constant victim of other people’s distractions.
That’s also true of drivers and pedestrians. But cyclists are an easier target. Especially when it comes to people’s anger.
We all have a hard time accepting our mistakes. And we all make mistakes on the road. When accidents happen, most people don’t check how the other party is feeling. The immediate reaction is to blame the other side.
Who wasn’t paying attention? Who was wrong?
Remember my safety rules? Being in a constant state of defense and anticipation puts us on the brink. Any small mistake releases our anger.
I cannot control how other people will react. If they want to blame me for their mistakes, they are free to do so. They can choose that path. Even if it’s not fair.
I can control my reaction. If I made a mistake, I must be accountable, not blame it on the other side. If it wasn’t mine, and I didn’t get hurt, there’s no reason to worry. I feel good about being safe and continue my ride.
People will blame me even if I’m innocent. Some folks have a hard time accepting their own mistakes. I won’t let their anger ruin my ride. Or my day.
It’s not fair. But life is not.
Don’t get stuck. Give them a smile, not the finger.
Today’s stretch: don’t become a victim of other’s anger.
“A quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough.” — Bruce Lee
A smile is the best way to neutralize anger. People don’t know how to react to it. Angry people get caught by surprise when I smile back at their blame. It’s like disarming an anger bomb.
My wife taught me this trick. I’ve witnessed it’s effectivity over and over. Her smile has a more powerful effect than mine though.
Don’t get caught in a battle. No need to tell them to f@%k o##. Anger spreads like wildfire. Don’t become a victim of it. Avoid becoming angry too.
Anger only drives more anger. A smile neutralizes it.
I make mistakes sometimes. And I smile. I run into many car drivers that I wonder how they’ve got their licenses. And I smile and wave.
Believe me; it’s not only useful to neutralize angry people. It will also make you feel good.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer to smile back. The only thing I want is to continue enjoying my ride 🙂
Before You Go
Change happens one stretch at a time. Each day I post one exercise to help you grow beyond your comfort zone.
Improve your change fitness: