This was tweeted by danaa @hanahopemurphy on 17/10/2014 and my first thought when I read her tweet was, when people refer to the WORLD where exactly are they meaning?
The fascinating thing about the term 'world' is that it represents lots of different segments (like pieces of a complex jigsaw) of people and cultures, environments and territories, and it's important to clarify which environment, culture and individual is being referred to when thinking about change. What kind of world change being looked for also tends to be a reflection of the segment of life most accorded to and with.
I think there is a lot of validity in danaa's tweet when thinking about the world of work because most of us can get caught up in what we think we are supposed to be doing, as opposed to what we could be doing to make the organisational world a better place to live in, and at work we do more than live there, we also perform to earn our living in an economic environment that constantly demands that the show must go on.
I think working in an environment that is dominated by stakeholder politics, making a difference is difficult if your organisation stakeholders have a more powerful voice than you do, in the pecking order of things. One of the biggest concerns change project managers report having, when coordinating organisational change, is stakeholder sabotage. It seems in the world of organisational politics, a sense of status and power doesn't always align with organisational goals, and more times than less, lone change project contractors find themselves being undermined by the management structure employed to uphold company policies, procedures and best practices.
Even though listening is healthy, I think being expressively opinionated is also healthy. Sixteen years ago, I was in my forties when I decided to join the opinionated and in the beginning I felt the sound I made was almost like an apology for daring to share my view of the world. But I had no choice but to change from being an attentive listener because my willingness to support the opinions of others had turned into a habit that was threatening to suffocate me if I didn't start asserting who I was as well as what I knew. All of those years of active listening to the many and varied opinions of others helped me to become a competent problem solver. It helped me to understand the limitations as well as the talents of others. It gave me the gift of emotional intelligence. It increased my ability to empathise and it taught me compassion but also turned me into a chameleon. The deficit to not being opinionated was that I had turned myself into a therapeutic mirror for others to reflect themselves in and one day, well, I realised that I’d been neglecting the opinion of the most important person in my life, me. So I decided to change and now I am also opinionated.
In my opinion, anger is the sense that someone or something has over stepped the mark into your heart felt territory of values and standards where, to retain what is rightfully yours, you must defend or suffer loss.
Being angry about the way the world works says there is a need to identify which world is being considered because everyone moves in a different world, that some might refer to as circles, and surprisingly, our circles tend to be not as big as we may originally feel they are. Somewhere in circles of reference is the heart of any contention and sometimes the first thing that comes to mind is generally the truth of the contentious issue and sometimes the truth is buried so deep within us, it's hard to see the forest for the trees, or the life in the seed because of the hard shell that has grown over it.
I think chilling out when aware of an anger brewing is a good strategy if it doesn't promote despondency. However feeling the need to learn how to chill and being able to chill are two entirely different things. If you don't know how to turn down the heat, then there must be a reason and if that reason is boiling point blindness, then let your whistle sing somewhere safe at home. If you have no one to share your innermost concerns with, which is something that I felt for most of my life, Dr. Michael J Mahoney, author of the psychological constructivism book, Human Change Processes (1991), suggests talking to a real mirror. I further this with my suggestion that you talk to your mirror with the sound or video recorder on. Listening or watching yourself, not into the web cam for internet uploading because that can come back to haunt you, but venting privately can help when seeking an answer from the person who is best qualified to resolve your discontent, you. Dr Mahoney calls this form of venting Mirror Therapy and he says it works best on people who feel worse than what they see when looking at themselves in the mirror.
"Everything is opinionated, you can't change the way others think" tweeted ThePrinceOfTheStout @terrymartin86 on 17/10/2014 and to a great extent I agree with the Prince, other than I’d like to add that every single person and event I have come into contact with during my life has influenced me in one way or another, whether I was aware of it at the time or not.
If the people that you are coming into contact with in your world are influencing you in a negative way, which I think feelings of anger suggests, asking yourself why they have power over you in such a way that just thinking about them results in heated emotion, might help. But hey, no one is asking my opinion. However that doesn't mean that I'm not going to continue offering it. People do get angry when the power of change is perceived to be in the jurisdiction of another who may or may not have your personal or professional interests in mind. It may well be that anger is the result of the lack of care, sense of entitlement, passive aggressiveness, dis-empowerment or loss coming from you or another. Should the anger be about social injustice, one way to assert yourself is to stop buying into the injustice. People who buy animal rights do not practice speciesism. People who buy human rights do not practice racism. People who buy fairness do not practice unfairness. Buying what you buy moves you in a world of others who also buy what you buy. When you change what you are buying from others, you also change your world. Chilling the heat when the kettle has already boiled makes for a cold cup of brew.
Caring about the world we live in is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. Caring about others is even more reasonable. One thing I did learn from social work studies is that inside the legal framework of a society, thinking is free, empowering yourself is free, happiness is free, respecting the rights of others is imperative and accepting the consequences of living in accordance to our own values is freeing. In public spaces there will be people that we do not agree with and we do not have to change them to suit our way of looking at the world, and they do not have to change us to suit their way of looking at the world. However people can imposition us if they do or don't have a legal right to do it, and even though mutual respect is the key to fairness, there is no guarantee that anyone will use it.
After a day full of opinions, I find the best way for me to turn down the heat is by easing that singing kettle into a relaxing hot cup of tea; But you don’t have to take my word for it because I also know that not all boiling kettles sing and not everyone appreciates reconstituting dried leaves with boiling hot water.
© Chris Tyne, 2014.