More than leading through discontentment, surviving anger seems to be the new norm. Anger appears to happen at the fringes of the left and right, yet anger resides in the middle too.

  • Parents get angry if referees don’t make the call they feel is right.
  • Parents get angry at teachers if their kids don’t get the grades they feel are necessary.
  • Parents get angry at school administrators because their kids don’t get the right teachers.

Parental examples of good behavior collapse.

No different in organizations.

  • Individuals get angry if they don’t get their way.
  • Individuals get angry if their rating isn’t the best.
  • Individuals get angry if competitors deliver a broader, better solution.

Leadership examples of good behavior fail.

How did we get to a place of such anger in our workplaces, politics, families, and schools?

Maybe it is the pursuit of happiness. We have sold happiness as a right, and many are dissatisfied. With the current state of unhappiness, the objective of being right dominates over being collaborative.

Happiness spirals to a collection of trophy stuff, and our intentions veer to accumulate more and more. As “happiness” piles up, our anger grows as we see what our world is – empty piles, empty promises, and empty relationships.

sadnessAnger needs to be replaced with sadness. Rather than being angry, we need to be sad.

Sadness creates a realization of what is wrong and what is possible. We realize the state of affairs are off track, and we begin to feel a foundation build from which we can move forward. Sadness creates a self-awareness. Rather than being an angry voice and face, we look inside to what isn’t working and begin to stir a sense of renewal. Anger stomps on progress. Sadness cultivates soil for growth.

Sadness doesn’t focus on happiness. Instead, sadness begins to spur fulfillment. Fulfillment comes from within and extends to the work we do with others and for others. Fulfillment stirs the best in others.

Our work, life, families, and communities need more fulfillment and less happiness. Smiles sprout from the good work we do, and fulfillment blooms.

Every day seems to celebrate something, from camping to candy to papaya.

If there isn’t one already, we may need an International Day of Sadness, putting our anger aside and letting our sadness rise. From our sadness in the state of affairs within our workplaces, politics, families, and communities, we focus on the basics again and how we can connect with those who are different from us yet have common goals for what we want for our families, co-workers, and citizens.

Sadness unleashes a desire to create a better future, pulling us out of our funk and lifting our work to a better horizon.

We need more sadness. We need more fulfillment. Sadness incites fulfillment by stirring our desire to do the work of eliminating our crux of discontentment.

To be clear, sadness without positive action bogs us down. With a sense of re-centering and re-building, sadness offers an opportunity to re-gain fulfillment and bloom in better ways.

We need to energize our middle again, and this time I mean our soul.


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Common Grounder

More Sadness, Less Anger