We all go through challenges and crises in our lives, and we never truly know when life may throw a curveball at us. Someone might be rude and disrespectful, your spouse might wreck your newly bought car, a business partner might make a huge mistake, or your kid might intrude on a very important business video call.
As a human, your natural instinct would be to get angry and yell at the top of your voice. Even if yelling and letting your rage out might make you feel better in the moment, do you think it actually brings you closer to a solution? Of course not. In fact, anger, on the contrary, adds fuel to the fire and makes an already bad situation worse.
Keeping your cool in challenging moments can be a useful strategy and save you months or even years of pain, guilt and anguish. As Marcus Aurelius observed, “How much more harmful are the consequences of anger and grief than the circumstances that aroused them in us!”
There’s an effective technique called the “Three Gate Test” that might help you control your temper in trying times. The ancient sages and saints would only speak if the words they were about to utter passed three gates.
At the first gate, they asked themselves: Are these words truthful? If yes, the words could then proceed to the second gate, where the wise men and women asked: Are these words necessary? If so, these words would pass on to the third gate: Are these words kind? If yes, then only would the words be permitted to leave their lips and be sent out into the world for others to hear.
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