Photo credit: Tofunmi Aworinde
As I grow older, I notice that I’m becoming forgetful. This is a scary observation, given my young age. (I reject it IJN).
What we’re about to discuss isn’t an original thought but merely a reminder for you and I, in regards to that which we already know. That is certain emotions such as “anger, frustration, stress and happiness are all a choice”.
I think we can all agree that by in large, these emotions are often triggered by events that occur in our lives (or perhaps, by those that didn’t). For example, a lack of direction, the feeling of being stagnant or the “failure to make real tangible progress” in comparison to your peers or everyone else is a fertile ground for frustration and other synonymous feelings associated with it.
I currently work in the service industry and my role requires me to exercise a certain level of finesse when dealing with my boss. No, I’m not referring to the figureheads (for a lack of better word) such as the managers, business leaders or directors but instead, the one who helps us to pay our bills and the expenses of our big ass office situated in the heart of the city centre: The Customer.
As you can probably imagine, I encounter different types of interesting personalities in my line of work regularly, but, there was an interaction with a customer yesterday which stood out to me and triggered this article:-
The customer after an unsuccessful attempt to self-serve online rang me out of irritation to address her needs. She began by expressing her frustrations, needless to say, that her failure to resolve her own issue had absolutely nothing to do with my company. While her requests were not particularly challenging, it did, however, require a lengthy process on my end- something which I explained to her from the inception of the call. As part of the process, I then proceeded to ask her some simple qualifying questions but she struggled to answer them. To no surprise, she became reactive and lashed out.
She went on a rant and criticised our process. She also kept stressing the length of time it’s taking to revolve her query. Keeping in mind that, it was HER who made the conscious decision to call and ask for my help. And lets not forget about the fact that she was informed about the duration of the process at the start of the call but I digress.
In that heated moment, I simply apologised to the customer for how she felt, empathised with the fact that she’s been working on resolving the issue for the most part of her day and thanked her for exercising patience. I then reassured her that we were near the end of the process and I would try my best to make the rest of the journey as painless as possible (and I did). She was relieved!
Upon review, it’s amazing what I had achieved with these six simple steps: Apologising, showing empathy, providing some reassurance, thanking her, making and delivering on a promise completely disarmed this woman, who in hindsight was probably not very tech savvy to fulfil her needs online.
Please understand that I’m not sharing this experience to seek empty glory from men- I already know how good I am at my job. Rather, take it as a teachable moment from which we can all draw from.
The funny part is (or sad, depending on how you choose to look at it): it was literally during my sleep this morning that I connected the dots and started thinking about this experience all over again. It got me thinking:
What if I had responded completely differently with a similar energy to her when she lashed out? What if I became emotional? What outcome would I have manifested and achieved? After all, I owed this woman, who was ready to become Nitroglycerine zero apologies, but, I apologised to her nonetheless. (Note: I wasn’t sorry because me or my company have done anything wrong; I was sorry for how she felt about the ordeal).
I could have easily chosen to become reactive because this woman’s initial attitude was sufficient to anger the average person. Instead, I chose to control and diffuse the situation and as a result, I managed to bring the customer to my level and convince her that she was in good hands.
Create, control, (re)solve
Look listen, I want you to start taking a more holistic approach towards solving your problems. Why don’t you take more time to consider the bigger picture when you’re going through a tough time? This could be a defining moment for you, you know.
I didn’t share the story above just to tell you not to be “reactive”. There’s always a time and a place for everything.
For example: I know Michelle Obama told us that when they go low, we go high but, sometimes when they go low, we might need to take it to the damn floor with them so, trust me when I say that there are ways to handle ‘special’ circumstances. I’m also an advocate of “doing what you want” (as long as you’re prepared to deal with the consequences) so quite frankly, feel free to act in the way that best suits you.
However, for those of you that care about personal development, there’s only one simple truth I want you to take away from my story:
You are always in control of how you feel and how you choose to deal with a problem is entirely your choice.
In my story, there was a lot of things I could have said and done to create a much more negative experience for myself and that customer.
By refusing to react to her initial attitude towards me, I have prevented any negative energy to trick me out of my position.
In a similar way, you can also adopt this philosophy to various aspects of your life.
Never allow words, actions or events trick you out of your position. And, if you’re stressed, frustrated or angry for any reason whatsoever then you need to find a very effective way to change your mental attitude. You alone are solely responsible for how you feel and it’s your job to make sure that nobody trespass upon it.
I say that to say this:
In this life, there’s a beginning, a middle and an end.
We are all running a similar race, after all, we all want to be ‘successful’ but the thing is, only a few of us will make it to the finish line, triumphantly.
“Out of a 100 people who started out evenly at the age of 25 who believed they will be successful in life, only 1 of them will be wealthy, 4 will achieve a lifetime of financial independence, 5 will still be working, 36 will be dead and 54 will be dependent on others or an agency for support by the time they’re 65 years old. Therefore, only 5% makes the grade in life”~BOB PROCTOR
^ Sounds morbid/unpleasant right? Tough shit- that’s life.
We live in a world where the world’s wealth is controlled by an extremely small amount of its entire population so, is Bob Proctor’s ideology above so far fetched? I think the important question here is: which part of that statistic will YOU belong to in the next 25 years?
Why do we fail so much?
Our ‘mental attitude’ is the number one reason why people fail in my opinion.
If you’re alive and striving to belong to the top 5% then you need to understand that you’re in control.
No, seriously, YOU are in control.
You can’t afford to expend too much energy towards emotions that will not serve you. You’re on a mission and you must not get distracted.
Let me remind you once again: YOU are in control. But just to be clear, I mean that you’re in control in the sense of how you react to situations and or when ‘life’ tries to fuck you up (as it often tries to do).
One of my mentors taught me that I get to choose how I view, approach and respond to the events that happen in my life and it’s my attitude towards life itself that will determine my level of happiness: It isn’t a crime to get knocked down in life. However, it’s a SIN not to get back up.
I must say: I wholeheartedly subscribe to this teaching and as such, I can’t afford to wallow in self-pity for too long or pontificate on minor details that will not assist me to realise my worthy ideals. Guess what? Neither should you!
Anger, frustration, stress and happiness are all YOUR choice. Evolve or DIE.
As always, don’t forget where you found this article. Remember to like, comment and share it! #BeSafeTho1941