“Keep this thought handy when you feel a fit of rage coming on – it isn’t manly to be enraged. Rather, gentleness and civility are more human, and therefore manlier. A real man doesn’t give way to anger and discontent, and such a person has strength, courage and endurance – unlike the angry and complaining. The nearer a man comes to a calm mind, the closer he is to strength.”
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations.
Bearing in mind that Marcus Aurelius’ wrote his Meditations between 161-180 AD as a memoire to himself, one can put into context the male gender bias in the quotation above. The key point to note from this extract is that the person who does not succumb to the emotion of anger is strong, courageous and can endure.
The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz remarked in his book ‘On War’, that ‘the only way to maximise potential for performance is to remain calm in the mind’. Getting angry is an emotional reaction to something that might prevent you from satisfying your needs. Even if the situation is not in your control, getting angry about it and losing your cool can only reduce your potential to deal with it – making you weaker, more scared, less resilient. What are you expecting?