Is There a Reason to Be Angry?

999 out of 1,000 times, the answer is no. This goes both for happy and sad moments in life.

Towards the end of launching a storytelling course we’d made together, my friend Mike was exhausted. He was happy with the results, but the many moving parts of the project felt overwhelming, as they do for any first-time course creator. “It’s good, but yeah, I need a break,” he told me on the phone.

“It’s okay,” I said. “There is no reason to be angry.” He laughed, and I hope in that moment, a potentially tilting balance of happy-vs-sad settled back into the happy side of the spectrum where, after a big project ending successfully, it should be.

Mike is the one who taught me that phrase, of course. Sitting in his favorite patatas bravas bar in Barcelona two years ago, a bustling place with people and waiters rushing in and out as fried potatoes slid across the counter at a 30-second pace, he said he’d once asked the waiter how he’d remained so cheerful over the ten years Mike had been a regular at the restaurant. His answer? “There is no reason to be angry.”

Many people I know would be angry at even being a waiter, for they would assume the very reality of this job to indicate they are a failure. Of course, as Mike’s server friend proves, nothing could be further from the truth. The reason to be angry is a fabrication inside our heads.

Whether you teach the brightest minds of tomorrow or bring simple meals to hungry families, “good enough” is almost always available if you try to vote for that option. Perfection never lasts, but why cut your victory dances short on purpose? Similarly, even trying times can be what you need once you elect to show up for them and eat the elephant in the room one spoonful at a time.

Look around you. Celebrate the big things as they happen and the small things whenever the big things lie down the road. Take a break. Eat a Snickers. Step outside, or have some tea. Tip the waiter. Surprise your spouse. Remember you could be in a prison cell when you’re in a court room, and that the sun chose to shine for you when it didn’t have to.

There is no reason to be angry, and there rarely will be.