Don’t Get Pissed. Get Better.

Let’s face it, we’re not robots and we’re not the Buddha.

As much as we might wish that we were in control of our emotions, we’re not. It doesn’t matter how heartless or enlightened you are, we all have those things (both big and small) that push our buttons and piss us off.

Even when we realize that our buttons are being pushed, it’s super tough to prevent our blood from boiling – my skin crawls just THINKING about some of the shit that annoys me. #traderjoes7pm

Most people hate the sound of fingernails on a chalkboard. Our reaction to that trigger is instant, and we assume unchangeable. Whenever I hear that sound, it’s like a reflex. I cringe and instantly want to punch the person who’s doing it right in the f*cking face. The trigger is obvious and my reaction is always the same.

However, having our buttons pushed is sometimes not that obvious. Did you ever say, “I don’t know what it is, but every time I’m around that person I get so annoyed” or, “I’m not sure why, but everything that comes out of his/her mouth just pisses me off”?

In these cases we’re not even sure what is triggering our anger or frustration, we just know that something isn’t right. And in most cases we assume that there must be something terribly WRONG with the person who triggers us. We might not outwardly blame that person, but we can tell if we are by the words we choose to describe our feelings – “everything that comes out of his/her mouth just pisses me off.”

We are convinced that the cause of the problem is the other person’s actions, NOT our reaction.

Let’s take a few common button-pushing scenarios and consider the underlying assumptions we often make about the cause of our anger and frustration:

People walking really slowly in front of you on the sidewalk

We assume his/her slow walking is the reason we’re grinding our teeth and wanting them to just f*cking walk faster! “They must be trying to ruin my day!”

That friend who is always late for lunch dates

We assume that his/her lateness has directly caused us irreversible stress and possibly cost us our friendship. “Does she think I just wanna sit here waiting all day?!”  

Your coworker who doesn’t seem to take responsibility for his/her actions

We assume that his/her actions (or lack thereof) have caused our work life to go to shit. “That person is one of the BIG reasons I hate my job.”

First, these reactions make total sense. In fact, most people reading this will be nodding their heads thinking of a much longer list of button-pushing scenarios. The list can go on and on and on.

Our assumptions about these scenarios are understandable because anyone in these positions would feel the same way. The equation is simple right?

Someone does something + I feel angry or frustrated


What the hell is wrong with them? They need to change.

Can you see how this equation is busted?

If we spend our whole lives believing our emotions are governed by other people, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride. If we allow our anger and frustration to be driven by other people’s actions, how do we expect to ever be happy? When you believe that you are simply at the affect of the people and circumstances around you, you will be exactly that – a victim to a million and one things that are out of your control. Sounds kinda crummy my friend – you deserve better.

Don’t worry my dear Ninja, a better equation doesn’t take a Masters Degree in mathematics.  It’s simple:

Someone does something + I feel angry or frustrated


What does that say about me?

Ohhhh snap! <A light bulbs turns on>

Now there is something you can control – yourself.

When you can take ownership of your reaction to the world around you, you then start to have a fighting chance of making a real change. It’s the difference between powerful and powerless. While there are certainly some situations when working to change someone else’s behavior is essential, we are always best served by starting that journey at home. It all starts and ends with you my Ninja. Gandhi said it best, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Taking the First Step

Your button is getting pushed – that person, situation, or thing is just frustrating you to NO END and you’re ready to tear someone’s head off. What do you do?

First, pause and take a breath. Seriously, this isn’t some new age bullshit – breathing will force you to chillax for one second and consider step number two, which is…

Ask yourself: What does it say about me that I’m so effin’ pissed right now?

When answering this question consider what values and beliefs you have that support your reason for being upset. I’ll give you a few examples using the scenarios from earlier…

People walking really slowly in front of you on the sidewalk

You value being on time and walking fast is necessary to get you where you want to go.

That friend who is always late for lunch dates

You believe that your time is valuable. You believe that when friends are on time they demonstrate that they also value your time.

Your coworker who doesn’t seem to take responsibility for his/her actions

You take great pride in your work and value integrity in the workplace.

Do you see what happens here?

By shifting the focus from what other people are doing wrong to what makes this important to you, you begin to have a foundation on which to make real, sustainable change. The conversation changes immediately. I promise, this is the first step to removing those buttons so they can never be pushed again.

When someone is walking super slow in front of you on the sidewalk, the old thought was “what the f*ck is wrong with you, get out da way bitch.” With some practice you can focus on yourself with a new thought, “I really value being on time, so maybe I should leave earlier so I don’t have to rush” or, “I know I live in a busy city, so I should plan time in my schedule for travel.”

As soon as you shift focus onto yourself and what you can do differently, it becomes clear that your source of frustration was never really about someone else. You created the button – you can remove it.

Now give yourself some time. In many cases our buttons have been built over many years and reinforced by countless cycles of frustration and strife. Our relationships at home and work have also been constructed over multiple years, forming superhuman perceptions of how other people affect you. Those are some serious connections that are literally wired into our brains. Changing the nature of how we perceive other people starts with how we perceive ourselves and that shit can take time.

Keep it simple yo. Prioritize. What pisses you off the most? What pisses you off the most often?

What does that say about you? Start there.

We All Get Pissed

I wanna hear from you.

What really pushes your buttons? What does that anger and frustration cost you? How much does it cost you in time and energy?

Tell me in the comments below! We all get pissed, so let’s see just how much we have in common. Together we can start to make different choices, one button at a time.


Let’s get to know each other and see how we can help you!

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