Keeping A Steady Mind

Yesterday, I drove to a convenience store to do some quick shopping.
Once in the store, I picked out what I needed and went to the cashier. The person behind the register was a smallish person, quiet and solemn. As I handed her my money, I asked if she could please give me change for a dollar. Not receiving an answer, I repeated my request.

“I said, YES!” she roared suddenly, exhaling hotly through her nose. The unexpected gust nearly blew back my hair.

Have you ever noticed how silly people look when they lose their temper? And how ridiculous it is when we lose control of our thoughts and minds? If there’s one thing in this life we can control, it’s our thoughts, and the actions that follow.

One of the hardest things to do is to react peaceably to a person who we feel is attacking us in word or deed. Anger grows if met with anger. If I’ve learned anything from the 178 self-help books I’ve read, I’ve at least learned that much. If anger is met calmly, it often ends more quickly.

After the cashier’s yell, inner me briefly desired to rip all the heads off the nearest Pez display just to demonstrate what I thought of her unprovoked outburst. But then my anger would render me out of control too.

I apologized for not hearing her the first time, and debated whether I should point out that not only was her first reply inaudible, but likely took place only within the confines of her head, as I happened to be watching her for an answer. Taking a closer look at her stopped me. Her face sagged with unhappiness. Anger and happiness do not travel in the same circles. Clearly, her anger stemmed from within herself.

I smiled and waited for her to catch my eye. The line behind me grew, but I’m certain no one would have minded if they’d realized my good cause.

Finally, she caught my eye and a wan grin appeared. I thanked her and left.

Anger cramps the mind’s growth. We writers need to control our minds and place it in the proper state to write effectively. Okay, if anger is a state of mind you need in order to write, at least keep it to yourself, and keep it short. I don’t know about you, but I write best with a clear, calm mind unhindered by negative emotions. How to chase negative emotions away? Start with a smile. If you can’t achieve a genuine smile, fake it. Keep faking it until it becomes the real thing. It works.

Notify of
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
8 years ago


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x