Every year there is a strange event in Pamplona, Spain, it is called “The Running of the Bulls”.
First they dump the bulls into a river which really ticks them off, then the crowds of people prod and chase them down a long crowded street, and as the bulls run down the street the people throw rocks and hit them with sticks, and basically do everything in their power to torture and aggravate these poor animals. The bulls arrive at the stadium where they are caged and continue to be antagonized. Finally a bull is released into the stadium, and before he has a chance to calm down the Matador comes out waiving his RED cape. For some reason this brings the bull into a total rage and he charges the Matador. Unfortunately for the bull the Matador also has a sword, and he uses it to slowly kill the bull, a stab here a slash there and the bull eventually collapses from exhaustion, and blood loss. With a flair of showmanship the Matador runs the sword through the bulls heart. If the bull where to have a thought in that last moment, it might have been “I really shouldn’t have gotten worked up over a silly red cape!”
You get up in the morning ready for a fine day, just as you are getting up from the table you knock your coffee over and it spills on your crisp white shirt and freshly pressed pants (argh). You change in to yesterday’s suit because the rest are at the drycleaners. Now you are late and in a bad mood. You get on the packed subway, and a woman in stiletto heals backs up onto your foot, a kid with an overstuffed knapsack knocks into your briefcase and it pops open causing your reports for the boss, to fall to the ground, oh yeah I forgot it was raining and the ground was wet. Wrinkled sore and irritated you get to your office to find a teenage boy in a RED shirt sitting at your desk playing with your computer. You loose it you verbally blast the boy and harshly send him crying from your office. Ends up it’s the boss son (the sword). I hear McDonalds is hiring.
If in a calm and objective state of mind we reflect on the times were we have lost our cool, and we evaluate the triggers, the red capes as it were, that set us off, we would realize that they were quite silly things that never should have gotten us going.
Why do we get angry in the first place, and how can we control ourselves in these situations?