I experienced one such frustrating situation this morning. I was stuck in midtown Manhattan traffic for almost 20 minutes.
“No wonder why average drivers in New york city is delayed by 44 hours yearly because of these traffic congestion” I shouted with frustration.
“Really? Wow, it’s amazing, isn’t it? By the way, from where in hell you get this kind of data?” Paul asked with a sarcastic smile glued to his witty face.
“Urban mobility report 2010” I replied completely ignoring his wit.
“Great, so how does this thing work? We have to report our 20 minutes delay to them or they themselves will contact us.” Jack was getting wittier.
“You asshole, I am pissed off with these mother F__rs and you son of a bitch is making fun….” I ushered him in to my rich thesaurus of slangs.
“Calm down man, I just googled, this ‘hourly delay thing’. It has reduced by several hours this year. Thank God we are not in 2010” He interrupted almost laughingly.
“Bastard, these C____k suckers are driving me nuts and you are still….”I continued
Slangs are wonderful anger killer.
But to my surprise Paul’s emotion appeared immune to all extant traffic calamities around.
Neither fluent flow of slangs was making any impact on his happy smiley face.
Rather, he played his favorite song in the stereo and cloned the car seat in to some luxury lounger.
Within few minutes I could hear his snoring competing against the earsplitting horns of vehicle in the vicinity.
Finally the traffic got cleared and we reached office delayed by almost an hour.
Emotions somewhat follow “Newton’s First Law of Motion”
“An emotion in existence remains in existence, unless acted upon by another emotion with equivalent or greater intensity”.
My frustration accompanied me in to my office.
The receptionist, Ana, greeted me with a beautiful smile but I upset her with some disgusting comment on her dressing sense. I have no Idea why I did that.
Few minutes later I overheard Ana fighting with his boyfriend over phone. I assumed it was me who incepted her negative emotion in motion.
Next unlucky person whose path crossed with mine was my colleague, Jack
“Where have you been?” Jack asked as he and his smile entered my cabin.
When your mood is off the track you get irritated with almost everything without fair reasons.
I almost pushed him towards the window to give him the best possible view of the traffic.
“See that herd of rapidly increasing automobiles in the city roads? I picnic there every day before coming to office.” I replied in the worst possible tone of voice.
Jack drifted my hand from his back and moved out of my cabin in rage. His smile has vanished.
On his way out he bumped in to the hurried office clerk and rewarded him with some motherly slang.
The upset face of the clerk after that was clear display of the fact that he loves his mother very much.
The day was not getting any better and I wanted it to be over ASAP
In the following hours at work I had serious argument with my Boss. This could have been surely avoided if I would have been in to my calmer avtar.
It was still an hour to go when Ana called me on my intercom.
Ana: Hello Boss
Me: Yes Ana
Ana: My boyfriend, sandy, met with an accident and has been admitted in to hospital. I need to leave now.
Me: I am so sorry. How did this happen?
Ana: I had a fight with him in the morning. He left the house angrily and his bike got hit by a Car
It’s my entire fault, if I would not have fought with him, he would have been ok. I feel really guilty.
And she starts crying.
Me: Ana stop crying. It’s not your fault. You rush to him now. Everything will be fine.
Ana: Thank you Boss. She hanged the phone
Feeling of guilt over powered my previous feeling of frustration.
I was the one who spoiled Ana’s mood and which further got transferred to sandy and from there may be to car driver and so on..
Oh God! I, kind of incepted a chain reaction of unhappiness Just because I could not overcome my frustration of traffic Jam.
My interaction with Jack and my Boss was also weird enough to trigger their frustration. In short, multiple such chain of negativity has been initiated by me since this morning. And God knows how many lives might have been affected due to this today.
My Last hour in the office was guilt oriented. All these feelings of frustration, anger and guilt has meshed enough with my head today.
By the end of the day I felt extremely tired and exhausted
It’s true, negativity drains you out.
We were on our way back home; Paul still appeared as fresh and happy as he was in the morning.
“What happen? You look sick” Paul asked
I told him the whole story.
Paul remained thoughtful for few seconds and then he spoke
“All negative emotions whether it is anger, stress or frustration are rooted to a single self generated cause “expectations”.
“What do you mean?” I asked with puzzled expression. This kind of statement was never expected from a person like Paul.
“Let’s analyze your day since morning. You got pissed off in the morning because you have expected traffic to be less congested. Ana got upset because she has expected better response from you in return of her smile. Sandy might have expected some romance over phone. All of you got upset because your expectations were not met.”
He was absolutely right. All stress and frustration comes from unmet expectations.
“But expectation is a normal human tendency. How can anybody live without expecting anything from the world around?” I kept my point.
“I am not asking you to stop expecting. I just want you to do a favor to yourself “Paul replied turning his face towards me.
“What could that be?” I questioned curiously.
“Do yourself a favor of being mentally ready that your expectation might not be met.”
This way when your expectations are met you will feel happy about it.
But when they are not, it would not make any difference as you were already prepared for this.
No unhappiness will ever be initiated by you and all negativity chain triggered somewhere else will end up after reaching you.” He replied.
“Can you explain with some practical example?” I wanted clearer picture of his theory.
Example is right here brother. Your morning experience with traffic Jam has made you used to it.
We are again stuck in traffic Jam since last 30 minutes and you haven’t referred to urban mobility report yet.”
“Don’t wait for practical incidents to teach you that your respective expectation cannot be met all the time. Rather be mentally ready that things might not turn out as expected” —Upsohigh