Really?! Does this otherwise so peaceful columnist condone aggression?! Think twice, as you know me better than that, and let me enjoy the double-take I probably caused you when you were reading my headline.
Today, I was clipped by another car while doing a left turn at a crossing. It was in the left lane, I was in the right, and while I was still maneuvering across the intersection, it darted just in front of me, then sped off where there is a speed limit of 30 miles per hour. At the next crossing, the traffic lights were on red. None of the maneuvering had gained the guy a thing. Except that it might have caused him and me an accident.
What is it with aggression these days? I observe a lot of road rage, which means accidents in the making. One moment you see cars cross all the lanes with hardly ever a thought about whether the drivers clipped would be able to break in time. You see those vehicles jump in and out of gaps in thick traffic; the drivers must be thinking a lot about how much faster they are. Until they crash. And then, all of a sudden, there is so much more time they lose while waiting for the police, a tow truck, a cab. In the worst-case scenario, they will be hospitalized or interred. Road rage or aggression pays with a lot of time. And what for? You might even have to wait longer at the next traffic light while the person you got mad at might sail clean through at leveler speed.
Of course, along with any such violations of rules come tickets. Indeed, aggression pays not only with time, it pays with fines as well. And we see this at all kinds of levels. Whether it is slander, speeding, trespassing – any kind of aggression will cost the culprit some his assets. Is it worth it?
Above all, does any of you want or really like that aggressive friend, husband, wife, neighbor, colleague, boss? Aggression pays with human relationships. When an aggressor is stuck between a rock and a hard place, maybe they get saved by somebody. It is not for love, though, but because for fear. And in the end, fear must fail as glue in any relationship.
Today, when I just left a supermarket after having done my weekly groceries, I passed by an incredulous looking supermarket worker whose task it was to retrieve shopping carts from the collection sites in the parking lot. What he was staring at was something I should have photographed: a shopping cart stacked on top of another. For whatever reason, somebody had actually not made the effort to roll the cart to the end of a collection site, but dumped it on top of another. The worker was helpless, and when I asked whether he needed help, he was totally upset. Somebody had made this man’s hard work even harder, and he said he didn’t know what to do. Long story short, I lifted the shopping cart of the other one and placed it next to the others, so the man could continue his job.
I am still clueless who would perform such an act and why, unless it is from mere aggression. To me it was an absolutely mindless thing to do to somebody who has to drag hundreds of carts a day back to the store. This individual was too lazy to walk a few more steps, but aggressive enough to build a pile and add to somebody’s work. I should hope that person reads or gets told about this article. Because they should neither feel proud nor witty about their deed. In fact, they have just lost my entire respect.
Aggression is anger channeled into self-centered action. Maybe it is “rewarded by an instant of feeling well. And after that?
In the long run, aggression pays. With the loss of time, money, other assets, peace of mind (what if you are getting caught?!), love, friendship, followership, and respect. The bully might even become a laughing stock because they pay too much for what they tried to get a moment of self-gratification. Whereas mindfulness gets you all of this: time, assets, peace of mind, love, respect, happiness – and sometimes even getting paid forward to.