I got angry at work today.
After arriving I discovered that I had no classes today. Sports Day practice was going on. That’s fine. Then I’m asked to “join” and “help”. Which meant I stood outside for a couple of hours watching kids run in circles.
This was boring.
Yet, I was also angry. “Now Eric,” you say because I have put the words into your head through the use of my own, “Why be angry? You have no control over this, it is your job, and you are getting paid to stand around!” You are wise, person whose mouth I am putting words into. Why get angry?
Last night I was playing Magic. Standard. On Arena. One match win away from ranking up to Diamond. It’s game three. I look at my opening hand. Can’t keep this garbage. I end up taking a mulligan down to five and enjoy that. My opponent wins while I am an emasculated little boy holding his toy truck that his friends called dumb. But that boy sure wanted his friends to like the truck as much as he did.
So I’m reading an article today about Magic. It’s a good one, I’d recommend it. Anyway, this quote comes up. If you have done any self-help reading, you've heard it, but here it is anyway
“Any time and energy you spend stressing about the things you can’t control is time and energy you’re not spending on the things you can.”
Does this quote make you angry? It makes me angry. You know why? Stressing does not feel like an option. It is not a choice . I do it like my father before me, and my grandmother before him, and some of her relatives that I never met. They were likely fine people, but are quite dead now, I’d imagine.
So what do these two events have in common?
Both of them are situations where I feel completely out of control. Standing in the sporting yard, bored out of my mind. Taking mulligans and locked out by my opponent’s play. Okay, sure but that's exactly what the quote says, right? Don’t stress about those things.
I already said I am bad at controlling stress, okay, sure, but let’s dig into it. I felt out of control. Deeper. I felt helpless. Keep digging. I felt vulnerable. Vulnerable? I at work and at home in those situations, but in both I felt vulnerable. Why?
I want control. Without control of what I can do, be it at work or playing Magic, I feel vulnerable. Weak. Worthless. That's something to explore. I’m going to try exploring it through some writing over the next few days. Let me know what you think or if you have any similar situations and revelations you think would be helpful.