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Anger Is a Choice Booster

Anger Is a Choice


Nelson Mandela Story

When Nelson Mandela was released after decades of political imprisonment, he described his walk past his prison guards into life as a free man. Upon seeing the guards, anger flared in his mind. At that moment, he made a choice. He realized that these people had imprisoned him for over twenty years and that becoming angry with them would simply delay his freedom further. He was not going to give the guards one more day of his life by becoming a prisoner of anger. Leaving prison behind, he walked into the life ahead, a truly free man. This is the way to be wisely selfish. If we care for ourselves and want to be free, we will protect ourselves from the consuming flames of our anger.

What do you think?

  • What choice did Nelson Mandela make?
  • What does it mean to be “wisely selfish?”
  • How is anger a choice we make?
  • Is your anger getting you in trouble?
  • How can you turn your anger into a motivator instead?


What can you do?

  • Know your body! We all know what it feels like when our anger is coming to a boil. The key is to recognize when our bodies are sending us the signals.
  • Recognize the primary emotion! What event has triggered this anger? If you can pinpoint the primary emotion immediately, you can stay focused on what the dispute is really about.
  • Don’t take it personally! Not all disputes are personal, but even if they are, the key to controlling your own emotions is not allowing your ego to get the best of you.
  • Be an onlooker! Look at the dispute from a third-person point of view. You have identified the primary emotion, gotten your ego out of the way, and can now calmly and clearly decide on the best possible response.
  • Think long-term! Think about the end result.What action will lead to long-term success? Think of what kind of person you want to be known and remembered as, and decide if your response falls in line with that person.
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