It might be my Midwestern upbringing, but I’ve always seen losing your temper as a sign of weakness. The inability to control one’s emotions seems like an unprofessional move that I would feel embarrassed to display. So I’ve always found it amazing when people were respected and complimented for flipping their lid with the unsuspecting public.
Lately, however, extreme anger seems to be a sign that someone is “honest” and “courageous.” We just aren’t offended by uncontrollable attitudes like we used to be. Look at Alec Baldwin and his serious anger issues. You don’t see 30 Rock suffering for it, do you?
No exemplifies this cultural shift more than New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. We’re talking about a gubernatorial politician who routinely curses the press, tells off random citizens and bloviates in interviews. While some have called him out on bullying, plenty seem to appreciate his frank and brash nature. Christie is thought to be a leading candidate for the Vice Presidency.
So how did Mr. Christie manage to turn his lack of restraint into a professional strength? Well here’s a few tips we can take from the politician on how to use our anger to our advantage. I can’t promise that I’ll try any of this tips, because it’s just not my style. But I won’t begrudge you a little self-righteous indignation.
- Pick an unsympathetic target. Chris Christie seems to enjoy picking on reporters. People rarely feel sorry for reporters. He has to pick a target that people aren’t likely to sympathize with. It’s a lesson he should’ve taught to the Catholic Church before they decided to pick on the nuns. Pushing around the ladies who live in poverty to serve the needy looks cruel. Pushing around a nosy journalist looks confident.
- Don’t keep talking about it. If you get angry in the moment, it’s because you’re passionate. If you keep whining about it, it’s because you enjoy being the victim. Or so the conventional wisdom goes. So you need to time your outburst and then drop the incident once it’s over.
- Share the anger around. You need to lose your temper with a variety of people. It’s recently been noticed that Christie seems to get the most frustrated with females, which could turn into a serious issue for him. He needs to make sure that he yells at a couple men as well, showing that it’s a general character trait and not a prejudice against one group.
- Know when to calm down. Christie has lost his cool plenty of times, but he knows when it’s important to keep a level head. Interviews with national media, on the campaign trail with Mitt Romney, these are times when the outspoken governor will be keeping a lid on it. If you can’t show even a modicum of self-control, it’ll begin to be a problem.