Going berserk is not productive

John Cousins

John Cousins

3 mins read

Answer what is one piece of advice is that they would give to a room full of people (and one time in their own life that they've had difficulty implementing that advice). 

My advice would boil down to the following assertion:

Going berserk rarely makes any situation better.  

Being prepared to deal with problems by anticipating them sounds good. It is rational and a best practice in theory.  

But in practice, when a surprise setback ambushes me, I am vulnerable to erupting even though I am acutely aware that overreacting is seldom attractive and rarely productive.  

I was driving along the freeway a while back.  I was tired and on my way home. Suddenly my car started making grinding noises.  I pulled over on the shoulder and, on inspection, found that my front wheel well plastic had come loose and jammed against the wheel.  

After hopping around swearing and cursing my bad fortune, my wife bent down and pulled on the broken piece.  I ended up pulling it out, and we drove home. It was a simple remedy. I had preferred creative cursing and shouting and stomping around to calmly addressing the task at hand.  

It disturbs me that a small event can trigger me and send me off like a volcanic eruption spewing forth profanity.

It is not a proportional response. I know better. Between knowing and doing falls the shadow.  

I don’t think that my foul mantra is going to solve the problem or task in front of me.  And it certainly doesn’t make me look capable or in control, for, in fact, I am not. I am like Orlando Furioso, destroying stuff in my path as I express my frustration, anger, and rage. 

I haven’t forgotten that moment, and I have vowed to do my very best not to repeat it. The older I get, the better at dealing I have become.  But I know deep down I am still capable of throwing a tantrum at some seemingly trivial entropy. 

It is essential to control our temper and anger.   You can’t un-ring a bell and words said in anger will hurt. 

Ambrose Bierce said, “Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”

How to cope when feeling ambushed by problems

Few situations—no matter how greatly they appear to demand it—can be bettered by us going berserk. 

- Melody Beattie

All I can do is my best to be aware and disciplined.  I am grateful to Melody Beattie for pointing out to me the apparent futility of my eruptions.  Instead of waiting until I have exhausted myself in rage before addressing a situation, I will try to skip that step and get right down to constructive, creative problem-solving.  

And when I come up short, I will redouble my efforts. I won’t let temporary setbacks become permanent excuses. That is my pledge to myself and to those around me that have to endure my poor behavior.