Final year it was. We were busily preparing to write our exams. One friend was teasing another. The one who was being teased coincidentally had just opened his tin of sardine for lunch. The mocking climaxed. He couldn’t contain it anymore.
Within a twinkling of an eye, he had gotten hold of the lid of his sardine tin and pounced on his friend, chopping him mercilessly. Before the two could be separated, the almost-dead victim was drenched in his blood. The same vehicle that rushed one to the hospital rushed the other to the police station. This thing called bad temper!
You see, having an uncontrollably bad temper is like driving a car with your TV license. You’ll one day send your victims to the mortuary while you head for prison!
An umpteen times, I have been a witness of how bad temper has ruined people. It has wrecked businesses and marriages. Some relationships looked all blossomy until someone’s uncontrolled anger messed it all up. As a matter of fact, the devil that keeps sitting on the opportunities of others has always been their bad temper!
Getting angry is a usual phenomenon. It’s normal to express your outburst when provoked. What really matters, however, is how we express such emotions. What matters most is how we respond to situations or people that get on our nerves. Fact is, how you react when angry is more important than what really got you angry!
What happens to us is “cause”. How we react to them is “effect”. Others have power over the cause. We have power over the effect. What matters in life is effect, not cause. The nonsense that gets in our way doesn’t matter because it is cause. What matters is how we treat such with sense because it is effect. The garbage that people hurl at us doesn’t really matter because it is cause. The most important thing is how we ignore such. Call it effect.
Effect determines how mature we are at handling issues. Effect tells whether we have lived beyond who and what is trying to taunt us. If you’d have to get into the mud to fight every pig that grunts at you, you’d make mud your home. Mind you, mud is the comfort zone of pigs!
If we’d have to react explosively to every situation that seems unpleasing to us, we’d leave our victims miserable while we even get more miserable. If our bad temper leads everywhere we go, it would eventually lead us to our death… if not the death of others. We have no idea how dangerous our temper is until we see its effects. Cause doesn’t matter. Effect does.
What others tell us doesn’t matter. What matters is what we admit. Instead of responding in an explosive temper, we can just walk away. Instead of barking at situations that threaten our peace of mind, we can simply smile… and walk away.
You may be right but the effect of your anger may prove you wrong. No one sees the cause of your anger. The effect is the evidence. The effect is the obvious. The effect is what matters so control your temper before it controls you. Tame that thing you call a bad temper before it ends you where you never imagined!
In my short stay on earth, I have seen people brag about how short-tempered they are. You see, bad temper makes you act without thinking. Unfortunately, it’s only a toddler whose actions are without thoughts. So speaking, it’s only bad temper that will reduce a fully grown adult to a toddler!
Many catastrophes would have been avoided if someone had just walked away from their bad temper. Some deaths would have been postponed indefinitely if another person could have just walked away when provoked. Prisons would have been less congested if others had not acted on the spur of a moment.
Sometimes, walking away is not an act of giving up. It’s an act of growing up. Sometimes, letting others get away with their nonsense is not a showmanship of cowardice… but a display of indescribable maturity. It may save you from a whole lot of unbudgeted-for drama.
Oftentimes, walking away from your bad temper actually means walking far away from jail. Managing your anger, sometimes, means managing your marriage. How we respond to some situations that provoke us will determine whether we’ll spend the rest of our lives in regret or not.
You can’t control what provokes you but you have all the control there can ever be on how you react to that provocation. You can’t control the ridicule but how you respond to such is in your hands. That response will define you. Cause never matters. Effect does.
Anger can be a weapon of defense or attack. You choose. Many have used it as a weapon of attack and are yet to get over their regret. It’s better to have peace than regrettably leave your victim in a half piece.
Bad situations happen to us all. However, what happens to us is not as important as how we react. When our temper gets in the way of our reaction all the time, we are bound to lose at the end of the day.
He who effected the cause doesn’t matter as much as he who caused the effect. Those who cause you to throw tantrums when angered, don’t matter as much as the effect of your tantrum. Don’t pay attention to the cause of your infuriation. Just walk away… because you care about its uncomfortable effects!
By Kobina Ansah
The writer is a playwright and Chief Scribe of Scribe Communications (www.scribecommltd.com), an Accra-based writing company which provides all writing services.