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How to deal with anger (and getting boxed in the ear by a random)

What do you consider ‘successful’? Being rich? Famous? Attractive? Running a company that sells millions of dollars worth of some shit people don’t need? Sure, those are types of achievement, but what’s the common thing among all those? They’re external, they’re superficial and most notably, they’re entirely reliant on and decided by the opinions and behaviours of others.

Success is someone who doesn’t give a fuck about success.

Authentic success in life is being someone who can control their anger in every situation, laugh in the face of anything that bothers most people, be content with themselves in any situation, is grateful for what they have, can handle any tough situation, someone who isn’t afraid of anything, who doesn’t care about superficial insignificant things, is aware when someone around them needs help (and then does what they can to actually help) and most importantly, it’s someone who has figured out what really matters in life – preferably before they’re on their death bed.

Seneca’s view On Anger

Seneca’s On Anger is a powerful breakdown on the emotion that most makes us lose our cool or worse, our mind. Written almost 2000 years ago, it’s just as useful today, as a tool to deal with getting pissed off. And there’s many ways you can attempt to stem the wave of anger’s effect on your actions, but one of the best ways he recommends is to laugh at it.

Anger should be circumvented in many ways; let most affronts be turned into amusement and jest…what matters is not how an offence is delivered but how it is endured.¹

Or make fun of it. Sometimes the most serious things are the most ridiculous and funny. Here’s Seneca recounting a story about Socrates, who one day, you know, just while he was cruising down the street with him Hellenic homies, got belted by a random across the head, but still managed to laugh it off:

When Socrates once received a box on the ear, the story goes, he merely said it was nuisance that men couldn’t tell when to wear a helmet when going for a walk.


¹ From Seneca: Dialogues and Essays (translated by John Davie), Oxford University Press, 2007