I DON’T AGREE WITH THE STATEMENT “DON’T GET MAD.” – My Thoughts About The Upside of Feeling Down & Currently Playing Movies About Spectacular Achievements That Resulted from Hard Work Motivated by Getting Mad – by Gary S. Smolker
I DON’T AGREE WITH THE STATEMENT, “DON’T GET MAD.”
On Valentine’s day (February 14, 2015) a friend sent me (via e-mail) the following quote:
“Don’t get mad. Don’t get even. Get stronger and faster and more powerful. Fill yourself with knowledge and empathy and an indomitable spirit. Because no one else can do that for you. In the end, its your life, your choice and your world. Give 110% always.” – Apolo Ohno, American Speed skater
Thanks for sending me the quote.
That quote (copy above) is quite stimulating.
I disagree with the statement, “Don’t get mad.”
I am currently writing an article currently called something like THOUGHT ABOUT THE UPSIDE OF NEGATIVE EMOTIONS.
In that article I will mention that Martin Luther King, Jr. was so mad at the way black people were treated that he changed the world as a result of his actions as a civil rights leader.
Getting mad at injustice is a very natural thing that can have tremendous beneficial results for you personally, the rest of your country, and the rest of the world – – especially when getting mad motivates you (or someone else) to take action that results in bringing about positive change.
Why do you think President Harry Truman signed the order integrating the U.S. military forces in 1948?
President Truman integrated the military forces of the United States because President Truman was appalled at the way black soldiers who had fought for their country in World War II were being treated when they returned home to the United States.
He was mad.
Anger Motivates A Person to Take Action
Anger fuels social progress.
When you are mad you get a boost of energy – you are like a volcano ready to erupt.
Negative Emotions Are Critical to Success
To make their own lives more satisfying and to make this a better and more just world and to endure its challenges leaders have found it necessary to wisely engage their full range of negative emotions.
For example, anger stimulated and has sustained leaders of the civil rights and gender equality movements.
President Harry Truman’s Moral Clarity
When Harry Truman became president in April 1945, African-Americans might have had reason to fear setbacks because President Truman had grown up knowing few black people in Missouri, where all of his grandparents had owned slaves.
But, having been an officer in World War I, President Truman had respect for anyone who served his country in uniform.
During the demobilization of the military after World War II, President Truman was appalled to hear that African-American veterans were being brutally treated when they returned.
That made him angry.
That made President Truman so angry that in 1947, President Truman gave the first address by a president to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People since its founding in 1909.
In his speech, President Truman proposed anti-lynching legislation, the abolition of poll taxes that discouraged voting and an end to job discrimination.
At that time the lynching of black Americans in the South was widespread and very few, if any, black Americans were allowed to vote in the South.
In his speech President Truman linked the battle to advance those rights at home to the Cold War.
In his speech President Truman said, “Our case for democracy should be as strong as we can make it. It should rest on practical evidence that we have been able to put our own house in order.”
President Truman then turned to the president of the NAACP and told him, “I mean every word of it [the speech he had just given], and I’m going to prove it.”
Thereafter, President Truman sent a series of measures to Congress to combat this, and when they didn’t pass, he, in his capacity as commander-in-chief, in 1948 issued orders which desegregated the armed forces and the civil service and another order in 1951 that banned discrimination in defense contracting.
Truman’s legislative initiatives to improve civil rights did not get through Congress, but he ignited a national debate that brought minority protection closer to reality.
Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Audacity of Hope, Dr. King’s Dream, the Spectacle of Bloody Sunday and the Birth of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
Selma, Alabama, is the county seat of Dallas County.
The region was one of the capitals of American slavery, and long after the Civil War the area retained a black majority.
However, in 1964 only a handful of the county’s black residents could vote. Whites controlled all 10 county commissions, 11 boards of education and 34 town governments. Every judge was white, there were few black lawyers, and black residents were generally not allowed into the courthouse except to pay taxes.
White terrorists operated with the implicit sanction of both private and public authority.
In 1964 a locally grounded voting rights campaign began.
Dr. King decided to participate. Soon after he arrived in Selma, he was arrested along with several thousand other protestors for parading without a permit and unlawful assembly.
While in jail in February 1965, King wrote a letter to the New York Times stating, “This is Selma, Alabama. There are more Negroes in jail with me than there are on the voting rolls.”
After a 27-year-old black pulpwood cutter, was shot by troopers when he tried to protect his mother from the clubs of troopers breaking up a night vigil, young activists threatened to carry his dead body to Montgomery and present it to Governor George Wallace.
Local leaders converted the angry sentiments into a plan to walk to Montgomery from Selma to petition Wallace for the right to vote.
On a Sunday, in full view of TV cameras, those marchers (600 demonstrators demanding equal access to the voting booth) assembled on the outskirts of Selma.
As they approached the Edmund Pettus Bridge, which had been blocked by Alabama state troopers and white civilian volunteers deputized by Sheriff Clark, they were clubbed and whipped and tear gassed and chased off the bridge by State troopers and local police using electric cattle prods and bull whips.
Widespread public outrage erupted after video clips were shown on national TV.
What happened next?
President Johnson told a joint session of Congress:
“What happened in Selma is part of a far larger movement which reaches into every section and state of America.
“It is the effort of American Negroes to secure for themselves the full blessings of American life. Their cause must be our cause too, because it is not just Negroes but really all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”
President Johnson immediately proceeded to introduce voting legislation that King had pleaded for privately, and announced his plan of action in a joint session of Congress.
President Johnson placed Selma alongside Lexington and Concord and Appomattox as turning points where “history and fate meet at a single time in a single place” to shape our “unending search for freedom.”
Speaking “as a man whose roots go deeply into Southern soil,” Johnson told Congress: “There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem.”
Johnson told Congress that “the real hero of this struggle is the American Negro.” “There cause must be our cause too. Because it is not just Negroes, but really all of us who must overcome the crippling legacy of bigotry and injustice. And we shall overcome.”
On August 6, Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act of 1965, providing for the registration by federal examiners in any state or county where fewer than half the adults were registered to vote.
All of the above is dramatized in the recently released movie “Selma.”
“Selma” is a reminder and wake-up call about what hatred, intolerance and oppression lead to and that the United States has gone through more than one “War of Morals.”
The movie “Selma” reminds us there is a future beyond lynchings, shootings, blood and bombs – a future that is far closer to reality now than appeared even remotely possible when 600 demonstrators demanding equal access to the voting booth assembled on the outskirts of Selma, Alabama and were clubbed and tear gassed by State troopers and local police when they tried to march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
For all of the above reasons, “Selma” is a must see movie.
If you are wondering if recent events might be a signal of the dawn of a new baptism of liberty, equality and freedom and of the end of human bondage, consider the following historical events.
- On June 11, 1963, after Alabama Governor George Wallace attempt to keep two black students from enrolling at the University of Alabama was televised, that night President John F. Kennedy went immediately on the air with an improvised speech to rally support for a civil rights bill that had yet to be written. “Those who do nothing,” the president told his audience, “are inviting shame, as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right, as well as reality.”
- Around 9:30 p.m. on April 3, 1968 (shortly before he was murdered), Martin Luther King, Jr., in a speech he gave at Mason Temple, a Pentecostal church where at least 1000 people had gathered to hear him speak, said:
- “If I were standing at the beginning of time – and [I] could choose my lifetime – I would consider the glories of ancient Greece, Egypt and Rome.
- “But I wouldn’t stop there. If you would allow me to live just a few years in the second half of the 20th century, I will be happy.”
King chose above all to see, and did see, the stirrings of a human-rights revolution for freedom worldwide.
Alan Turing’s Frustration
Winston Churchill said Alan Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory in World War II against Nazi Germany.
Turing devised a number of techniques for breaking secret encoded German Navy messages to German U-boats.
It is estimated that Turning’s work shortened the word in Europe by as many as two to four years and saved ten million lives.
Turing was able to do this because he got mad at his boss and took the unprecedented step of going above his boss’ head to get support for his work.
Turning’s boss at the Britain’s codebreaking center thought Turing was nuts and Turing’s work was worthless, took steps to destroy a computer Turing had built (Turning is considered the father of computer science) and proceeded to try to “fire” Turing.
Breaking all rules, on October 28, 1941 Turing and his crew of codebreakers wrote directly to Churchill spelling out their difficulties.
The effect was electric. Churchill wrote a memo to General Ismael – the military man in charge of the codebreaking center – which read: “ACTION TODAY. Make sure they have all they want on extreme priority and report to me this has been done.”
On November 18, 1941, the chief of the British Secret Service reported to Churchill every possible measure was being taken.
All of the above is dramatically portrayed in Norwegian Director Morten Tyldum’s film “The Imitation Game.”
“The Imitation Game” is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including best picture.
“The Imitation Game” is a must see movie.
Boris Spassky’s and Bobby Fischer’s Need for Silence
Absolute concentration, mania for maintaining focus and fanatical devotion to craft are necessary if you want to achieve extraordinary success.
American Director Ed Zwick picture “Pawn Sacrifice” shows how that comes into play.
“Pawn Sacrifice” takes the audience into the minds of the USSR’s world chess champion Boris Spassky and the American challenger Bobby Fischer as it follows their actions at the 1972 World Chess Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland.
After one game, played before an audience in an auditorium, Bobby Fischer refused to play any more games against Boris Spassky in the contest for World Chess Champion unless the rest of games were played in a basement ping-pong room without a live audience and without live coverage before a multitude of motion picture and TV cameras present in the auditorium during the prior game.
Fischer explained that the noise made by the live audience coughing, etc. and cameras and cameramen filming the contest was too distracting. He was distracted by the noise of the cameras taking motion pictures.
The noise broke his concentration, destroyed his ability to focus on and think about his next move.
Rather than win the World Championship title by accepting Bobby Fischer’s forfeit as a result of Fischer’s refusal to play chess against him, Boris Spassky agreed to have the remaining games played in a basement.
After a next game was played in the basement, and won by Fischer, Spassky accused Fischer or someone else as having sabotaged the chair in which Spassky sat – made the chair “noisy” to break Spassky’s concentration while Spassky was playing.
Spassky’s chair was x-rayed.
Nothing was wrong with Spassky’s chair.
Later, after Fischer won the match and the World Championship, two dead flies were discovered in a light fixture above the chess set.
Spassky had been distracted by the sound of flies flying in that light fixture that only he could hear.
This movie is all about their lives, it is all about focus, concentration, mental preparation, planning.
Both men thought deeply, and planned and prepared mightily before they acted.
This movie is a peak into the minds of Grand Master Chess Players.
Stephen Hawking’s Disappointment
Dr. Stephen Hawking is and always has been an extrovert.
When Dr. Hawking was a young graduate student at Cambridge he was diagnosed as having motor neuron disease.
When he leaned he had motor neuron disease he was told he only had two years to live.
He told his girl-friend Jane Wilde to “go away.”
Stephen explained to Jane that he had only two more years to live and that he would lose his physical abilities over that time.
Jane replied: “Then lets enjoy all of those remaining moments of your life together. I can’t go away because I love you.”
After that, Stephen Hawking didn’t let the facts that he had been told he only had two years to live and that he would lose all motor function get him down.
- He (Stephen Hawking) married her (Jane Wilde) while he was still a young graduate student at Cambridge.
- He (Stephen Hawking) went on to earn and received a Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics and became a member of the world renown faculty at Cambridge University.
- While earning his Ph.D. degree and afterwards, Dr. Hawking formulated/created breath-taking theories about the universe.
- When he lost control of his vocal cords he learned how, through a teacher arranged for him by his wife Jane, to communicate by raising his eye brow when he was shown a letter of a word he wanted to speak on a board.
- Later, a machine was invented (designed and built by third persons though the efforts of his wife) which converted Dr. Hawking’s “spelling” into speech.
- Although Professor Hawking couldn’t speak (because he eventually couldn’t control his vocal cords) he dictated a book (“A Brief History of Time”), which sold over 10 million copies.
- Dr. Hawking and his wife Jane Wilde had three children together.
- When this movie was recently made, Professor Stephen Hawking was over 70 years old.
- Professor Stephen Hawking is still alive.
Norwegian Director Morten Tyldum’s film “The Theory of Everything” accurately and dramatically portrays all of the above.
“The Theory of Everything” is nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture.
“The Theory of Everything” is a must see movie.
Cheryl Strayed’s Self-Loathing
Cheryl Strayed hated herself for having destroyed her marriage by having random sex with strangers and being a heroine addict.
She decided to “clean” herself up by taking a solo 1,100-mile-hike along the Pacific Crest Trail.
It worked: She stopped being an addict, fell in love with a new man who became her husband and had children with him.
Chris Strayed’s life story is dramatically portrayed in Jean-Marc Vallee’s film “Wild” and is nominated for several Academy Awards.
“Wild” is a must see movie.
Chris Kyle’s Anger
Chris Kyle saw the Twin Towers in New York fall down on September 11 after terrorists fly hi-jacked airplanes into them.
That made Chris Kyle so mad that he joined the United States Navy.
Although he was 30 years old, he tried out for the Navy Seals.
The rest is history: Chris Kyle became the deadliest sniper in American history.
In that role Mr. Kyle saved the lives of countless American serviceman in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Kyle’s real life story is accurately and dramatically portrayed in Clint Eastwood’s film “American Sniper.”
“American Sniper” is a must see movie.
It has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture.
Currently Playing Movies That Teach Good Behavior
WINNING TAKES MORE THAN JUST PUNCHING.
Winning Takes Adaptability, Advance Work, A High Energy Level, A Sense of Purpose, Authenticity, Being Alert At All Times, Courage, Curiosity, Creativity, Determination, Discipline, Drive, Endurance, Fortitude, Flexibility, Grit, Particular Personality Traits, Preparation, Seriousness, Being Teachable, Hard Work and Training to go the distance as portrayed by NORWEGIAN DIRECTOR MORTEN TYLDUM in “The Imitation Game”, portrayed by ENGLISH DIRECTOR JAMES MARSH in “The Theory of Everything”, portrayed by AMERICAN DIRECTOR and COMEDIAN CHRIS ROCK in “Top Five”, portrayed by AMERICAN DIRECTOR DAMIEN CHAZELLE in “Whiplash”, by AMERICAN DIRECTOR ED ZWICK in “Pawn Sacrifice”, portrayed by AMERICAN DIRECTOR AVA DUVERNAY in “Selma”, portrayed by AMERICAN DIRECTOR CLINT EASTWOOD in “American Sniper”, by CANADIAN DIRECTOR PHILLIPPE FALARDEAU in “The Good Lie”, and by CANADIAN DIRECTOR JEAN-MARC VALLEE in “Wild.”
A Quick Read
Over the past 50 years I’ve read books and articles on “the science and psychology of becoming a success.”
For a quick read on those topics, I recommend that you read all the articles in the Winter 2015 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN and the article on “emotions” in the January/February 2015 issue of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY which confirm what I’ve read elsewhere about what it takes to be an outstanding success.
These articles confirm, as indicated in the movies listed above, that there is no shortcut to success.
You have to put in time, effort and sweat equity.
Successful people have a long attention span, the ability to concentrate, the ability to be attentive, a passion for what they are doing, fanatical devotion to their craft, their motivation is internalized. They care about what they are doing for its own sake.
They look at disappointments and setbacks as opportunities to learn and as challenges.
Being born a creative genius or with an enormous talent is not enough to produce an outstanding result – it takes a village to produce an outstanding result.
All students need a combination of the right teacher or coach, the right guidance, challenge, the right instruction and feed-back and never-ending practice or study.
In addition to other traits, highly successful people have a positive attitude, a fierce drive, passion and grit; they are persistent, they have the ability to focus, and they have mental toughness, optimism and emotional control.
Excellence is about grappling with tasks beyond current limitations and falling short again and again.
Excellence is about stepping outside the comfort zone, training with a spirit of endeavor, and accepting the inevitability of trials and tribulations.
Highly successful people are motivated individuals who don’t give up when something goes wrong.
Their progress and success is built, in effect, upon the foundation of taking risks and the necessary failures that follow. That is the paradox of their outstanding successful performance.
A Personal Note
I try to have strong personal relationships with people who give me emotional support and who are obsessed about the same things I am obsessed about.
On Valentine’s Day (February 14, 2015) a friend sent me the following note:
“Nothing worse than boredom!! Even torture is more interesting.”
The Gary Smolker Thoughtful Person Club
I’ve started a “Thoughtful Person Club.”
To join “The Gary Smolker Thoughtful Person Club” send your name and e-mail address to me via the Internet at GSmolker@aol.com.
According to WordPress, in 2014, people in 108 countries viewed the “Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange Blog” at http://www.garysmolker.wordpress.com.
Negative emotions can do a critical job for you.
You only have so much time and energy and you can’t give 110% to everything.
You need priorities and that means that most activities will get 0% or slightly more of your time and energy.
Negative emotions can help you decide what to spend your time and energy on.
Every negative emotion orchestrates a complex suite of changes in motivation, physiology, attention, perceptions, beliefs and behaviors that can make you a “winner” by giving you the motivation, energy, resolve, drive, emotional strength, mental toughness, will power and fortitude necessary to complete whatever you set out to do.
Perhaps the recent actions of ISIS will prompt a worldwide reaction that will shock people out of their “do nothingism.”
Look at what ISIS burning a Jordanian pilot alive prompted the King of Jordan to do.
Look at what ISIS beheading Egyptian Coptic Christians prompted the President of Egypt to do.
When people are made to become extremely mad (outraged) it prompts them into taking action.
Copyright © 2015 by Gary S. Smolker
Posted on February 16, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged "American Sniper", "January/February 2015 issue of PSYCHOLOGY TODAY", "Pawn Sacrifice", "Selma", "The Imitation Game", "The Theory of Everything", "Whiplash", "Wild", "Winter 2015 issue of SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN", 1972 World Chess Championship, African-American veterans, Alabama, Alan Turing, Amerian speed skater Apolo Ohno, anger, Apolo Ohno, baptism of liberty equality and freedom, being made, beliefs, Bobby Fischer, boredom, Boris Spassky, challenges, Cheryl Strayed, Chris Kyle, civil rights, Clint Eastwood, desire, Ed Zwick, Egyptian Coptic Christians, emotional strength, emotions, end of human bondage, equality, excellence, freedom, friend, gender equality, getting mad, Governor George Wallace, Grand Master Chess Players, guidance, human bondage, ISIS, James Marsh, Jean-Marc Vallee, Jr., King of Jordan, liberty, Martin Luther King, mental preparation, mental toughness, Morten Tyldum, motivation, negative emotions, perceptions, personal relationship, President Harry Truman, President Harry Truman's 1948 orders that desegregated thle armed forces and civil service, President Johnn F. Kennedy, President Lyndon Johnson, pursuit of excellence, Stephen Hawking, study, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the upside of negative emotions, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, to live optimally in the world, torture, training, will power. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.