I have a cousin ( mom’s brother’s son). I recall an incident once as kids when we were playing the game of checkers. I wasn’t faring so well in the game ( translated, I was loosing badly). To make matters worse, my cousin was teasing me and I didn’t like it. I was losing pieces and he was gaining kings. I was losing more pieces each time he gained a another king. And the teasing continued. I wasn’t making wise moves and became frustrated, then angry, then mad. And then I knocked the game over, at which time my cousin and I got in a fight. I lost the fight as well. My grand father broke us apart and later told me I lost the game principally because I let my cousin’s teasing get in my head, taking my attention away from the game.
Many years later the world met Cassius Clay, better known as Muhammad Ali — an extremely good and skillful fighter. I believe his greatest skill in boxing took place before he ever set foot in the ring. It was in the pre-fight promotions. From Sonny Liston to Floyd Patterson to George Foreman and all in-between, they lost the fight before they ever entered the ring. Muhammad Ali got into their heads. He frustrated them and angered them and made them mad. They forgot their strategy, their boxing skills and their mental discipline. By so doing, they defeated themselves before he lifted his gloves at the first round bell.
That is the nature of anger. If you succumb to it, it takes control and you can’t think clearly. Anger strips away logic, self discipline and forces you to give your personal power to another.
When you feel anger begin to rise within you, remind yourself of my game of checkers…and Muhammad Ali.