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The other day, a colleague emailed me and I felt offended. I felt like the person was trying to tell me how to do my job, and I didn’t appreciate the criticism. I started to get angry and upset. My blood pressure started to rise, and I began to think of all the snarky things I could write back.

Press the Pause Button

Then I stopped. When I took a step back from the situation and thought about it rationally, nothing bad had actually happened. I wasn’t physically hurt, and none of my resources or money were taken away. Nothing actually happened in reality that negatively impacted my life. This wasn’t REALLY a problem. I just got offended by some criticism.

Angry and Upset… Over What?

This kind of thing happens all the time. Someone says something we disagree with, and we get all bent out of shape. We replay the situation in our mind over and over again, thinking about what we could say or do to get back at the person. We get angry and upset… but over what? What actually happened in reality? Are you hurt? Did you lose money or resources? Are you blocked from moving forward in your life toward your goals?

Is This a Problem in Reality?

When you find yourself getting angry or upset, check in with yourself. Is this a problem in reality? Did something actually happen that made your life worse? Or is the “problem” actually inside you—your reaction, taking offense?

Yes? Solve the Problem

If it’s a real problem, roll up your sleeves and get going solving it. Come to the negotiating table and get what you want. Apply your energy, discipline, and motivation to the problem and make something happen.

No? Move on with Your Life

But if it’s not a real problem, move on with your life. Life is too short to get thrown off course by every ignorant person with an opinion and a loud voice. If you make the determination that this isn’t a problem in reality, let it go. Don’t let it drag you down. Apply your energy and motivation where you need it most—going hard after your most important goals.

Discussion

What is one thing you are struggling with right now? Is it a problem in reality? Or does the real problem have more to do with your thoughts and reactions? Could you let it go and move forward toward your goals?