I’ve noticed something about people who day in and day out practice PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY:
They’re in control.
They don’t fly off the handle or overreact. They don’t allow anger to take root, shaping their behaviors.
Being human, though, we can have anger that prevents us from being accountable. Here are three anecdotes:
- As I entered the reptile store, a twentysomething stormed out. As we nearly collided, he yelled back at Rich, the store owner, “You knew I wanted that snake, man. I’m never coming here again!” Rich, a nice guy I’ve known for years, saw me and said, “He’s been in and out for weeks looking at a real pretty female Ball Python, but wouldn’t put any money down. I sold her to another customer an hour ago.”
Rich was right. The young man was wrong.
- A small dog from the neighborhood raced into our street, attacking a jogger’s husky. The runner desperately fought to separate the biting canines, finally succeeding. When the owner of the small animal arrived and saw his injured dog, he yelled, “You need to keep your dog under control!” The jogger responded, “But your dog attacked mine.” The man with the offending dog, now carrying his wounded pet, huffed off leaving the shaken stranger behind.
The jogger was right. The owner of the aggressive dog was wrong.
- I sprinted to the Delta gate to catch my connecting flight from Atlanta to Athens, Georgia. Arriving just in time to watch the gate agent shut the jetway door, I pleaded, “But I made it!?” She said, “Sorry. FAA rules. I can’t reopen the door.” Boy, was I angry as I marched off to rent a car to make the 90-minute drive to Athens!
The Delta rep was right. I was wrong.
Here’s the deal:
When we allow our emotions to flare, it’s difficult to see what’s right.
And when we can’t—at the moment—see right versus wrong, we blame, whine, accuse, justify, complain, make excuses, and seek culprits. We ask Incorrect Questions (IQs) like, “Why did they do this to me?” “When will others treat me right?” and “Who made the mistake?”
Instead, we should ask QBQs (IQ/QBQ tutorial here) such as, “How was I responsible for what happened?” and “What can I do to swallow my pride?”
Bottom line, when we allow our anger to rule us, it’s virtually impossible to practice PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY. Sure, it’s “human nature,” but thankfully there’s a solution:
As children, we make demands, pout, throw stuff, scream and yell, and try to tantrum our way through life. Hopefully, we have strong parents with outstanding parenting skills who help us grow out of these childish ways.
But “raised right” or not, accountable adults have learned to keep their emotions (especially anger) in check. Only then are we able to embrace the truth that sometimes we are wrong and others are right.
Simply put, possessing the maturity to say “My bad!” makes everything better.
How are you doing keeping your emotions under control? When does anger rule you most? What techniques help you keep anger in check? Share below!
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