Note from Matt Aaron: Easier said than done due to the chemicals in our brain, but well worth the reward...
"Remember that a man, a true man, never hates. His rages and his bad moods never last beyond the present moment-like electric shocks." --Napoleon Bonaparte
You've hated before, right?
C'mon now, don't be shy. Of course you have.
Everyone gets angry at times, even furious. The problem with letting it devolve into lasting hate is that it twists your perception. When you hate, you lose sight of the virtues and counterbalancing points of the other side.
This could mean you fail to bridge a gap or heal a rift when the opportunity comes to do so. Or, even if you stay adversaries, hatred means you'll tend to miss important evolutions in character and methods of your adversary, whether that be a person or an organization.
Hate means you keep fighting long-past whatever cause you had fought for, long past whatever interest you stood to gain, long after principle has eroded away from your side and you've instead fallen into the wrong.
Hate? Hate is worth discarding. Even for people who are legitimately and truly bad by your ethical standards, or perhaps even by universal standards. Hate makes you stood, hate takes you off your game, hate alienates the very most talented and dedicated people you could connect with, hate fills your own body with toxins and stress hormones that lead to less joy and less thriving in life... and thus, hate makes you more likely to be less successful.
Perhaps you're nodding in the abstract? Yes, of course you are. Yes, of course, hate is counterproductive in the abstract. You already know that. And yet--!
I would imagine that 99 people out of 100 reading have someone or something, somewhere, that makes their temperature rise and venom course through their veins when they think of it. Come, I won't name all the possibilities -- whether it be someone you were once intimate with, or some adversary perhaps that used an unfair position against you, or whether it be some cause that's hostile to everything you believe is right...
...whatever that is, whatever it is that gets your hackles up, your temperature up, and makes those stress toxins start flowing...
...can you bring it to mind?
...and could you realize that, if you can dismiss it, you'll be better served? Even if you choose to continue to fight?
I'm not saying forgive them! But dispense with that most useless and counterproductive of emotions, for your own good and for your success. Come, meditate on it for a moment and think of what you hate, then consider dispensing with it. A true man never hates, his rages and bad moods move like a passing electrical shock.
A useful exercise:
Sit, think, and consider this: when you go off a desired habit of yours, when do you usually do it?
Is it during high moods -- celebrations, victories, birthdays, holidays, parties, festivities, and happy moods?
Or is it during low moods -- anxieties, fears, doubts, losses, boredom, setbacks, and negative moods?
It's worth sitting and thinking this through. That way, you can be more vigilant during these times. If you know you tend to act stupidly, drink too much, spend money in ways you don't like, eat horribly, and treat people badly when you go to a bar when you're having a bad day... then stop going to bars when you're having bad days!
It didn't take long for me to finish The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday.
Before starting it, I was concerned. Having read many of the works Ryan leaned on to write the book, thanks to being on his reading list for a few years now, perhaps there would be repetition of concepts I have already covered?
It turned out to be a fresh perspective. It centers on actionable lessons and tactics from stoicism.
"It’s simple: a method and a framework for understanding, appreciating, and acting upon the obstacles life throws at us. "
Telling someone to "keep your cool" and "control your emotions" isn't bad advice. Yet, without context, it is hard to act upon. Ryan elaborates on the concept, providing examples of success stories throughout history.