What is anger and how do you get rid of it?

What is anger and how do you get rid of it?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Ever get angry?

There are three types of anger:

  1. Angry at yourself — the easiest of all angers to overcome.
  2. Angry at others — based on their words or deeds.
  3. Angry at the world — seek professional help.

Anger is disguised with other words and in other forms — vendetta, vengeance, argument, retaliation, tick off, irritate, lose temper, road rage, yelling, incensed, rub the wrong way, piss off, and the dumbest — get even.

There are two reasons I’m writing about anger — one, I heard some idiot give a wrong explanation of it the other day, and two, because it completely destroys your attitude, your energy, and blocks your creative thought (and now is the worst time to lose your attitude — it is at the core of your recovery).

Unfortunately, anger is often involuntary. Something happens, or someone says something, and you get angry. Then you react or respond in-kind, and things get worse. And sometimes anger is pent up from five other things you suppressed, and the least little incident makes you snap or blow up.

Anger is something you bring on yourself. It’s a deep-rooted emotion, and a dark-rooted emotion that takes a lot of energy, and robs you of your mental strength.

Salespeople get angry when: their call goes unreturned, they lose a sale to price, a “sure sale” evaporates, the prospect does not show for a meeting, service or accounting screws up, or their commission check is wrong.

  • UNDERSTAND: Anger is a RESPONSE to some thing that happened, or some one who has said something or done something that upset your emotional equilibrium. Cause and effect.
  • GREAT RESPONSE: The guy who had his guitar broken on United Airlines got creative instead of angry. Wrote a song about it, got five million views on YouTube, got a new guitar, got an apology from United, and got a training contract to help the moron that abused him.


What are you angry about?

  • Job?
  • Boss?
  • Economy?
  • Bad decision?
  • The current value of your home?
  • The government?
  • Your wages?
  • Someone you hate?
  • Your spouse?
  • Your health?
  • A car accident that was someone else’s fault?
  • A car accident that was your fault?
  • A parking ticket?
  • A speeding ticket?
  • A bad golf shot?
  • Your team lost?
  • You lost a bet?
  • Something that broke?
  • Someone broke something?
  • Lost something?
  • A bad luck break?
  • Kids do something wrong?
  • You’re broke?
  • Life?

Whatever it is or was, you got angry. What do you normally do when you’re angry? Yell, scream, swear, punch, stomp, slam doors, get silent, scheme to get back, cry, clinch your fist? Or something more calm and civilized?

How long did it take to ‘recover,’ or are you still angry about it? Even holding a grudge?

Whatever it is, there are better ways to deal with it that can reduce the anger to a point of neutral, and then to a point of positive.

  • THINK: Were you angry just before the situation started? No, you reacted angrily. Act vs. react is one of the key components in understanding where anger comes from and how to get over it faster — even prevent it.
  • First neutralize: Also known as “calm down,” “count to ten,” or “take a deep breath.”
    Vent your thoughts, frustrations, and anger by yourself. Walk away. Get yourself back to mentally neutral. Ask yourself questions. What really happened? What is my best resolve right now?
  • Then ask yourself: What can I do RIGHT NOW to change my frame-of-mind?
    Can I call someone? Buy myself something? Jog? Read? Take a walk in the woods? Watch a (funny) movie?

The longer anger festers, or goes unresponded to, the worse it becomes — for you.

Ask yourself questions. Can I prevent this next time? What have I learned?

The interesting part of anger is that after a period of time, you look back and wonder why you acted or reacted the way you did. Or even forget why you were angry in the first place.

Recovery must be complete.

Make up. Apologize. Make amends. Make peace. Kiss. Hug. Be personal, sincere, and mean it for yourself, not just for the other person. The key is: Forgive. Until you forgive the past, you are destined to repeat it.

Shake hands. Look the other person in the eye. Try substituting the words, “I apologize” for the words, “I’m sorry.”

And this article would not be complete unless I addressed myself. My personal experience with anger response has been one of the most difficult for me. Reacting angrily to poor service and airline crap is my Achilles heel. And I believe part of it stems from a big city (New York and Philadelphia upbringing) environment, where anger is part of the societal fabric, and from my dad, who liked to brag, “I give ulcers, not get them.” I never realized it affected me as much as I affected it, or them.

On my bright side, I have never yelled at nor struck my children (45 years of prudence and patience). And the past few years have brought a huge self-awareness. I’m not there yet, but there’s hope. Steady awareness, and solid partner support, has created a new sense of calm — almost rising above it.

For a few more anger insights go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first-time user and enter ANGRY in the GitBit box.