Very few things have the power to make me angry. In fact, I so rarely get angry that I physically feel the effects of anger for almost 24 hours after, much like a bad hangover.
I suspect this is related to another trait of mine: nearly non-existent neuroticism.
Someone asked on Twitter if I ever get afraid, and another person who saw me post my Big Five personality test results responded, “He is several standard deviations below the average in neuroticism. He legitimately doesn’t experience negative emotions like the rest of us.”
That made me laugh and feel invincible, but this isn’t about me. It’s about me teaching you how to get ice water flowing through your veins without going full Buddha and seeking detachment.
5 Things People Who (Almost) Never Get Angry Do Every Day
1. Practice active gratitude
This is the number one reason why I don’t get emotionally perturbed. I’ve been to the bottom several times in my life. I’m grateful to be alive and still here despite that. I was born with almost every statistical disadvantage against me, yet I’m still here and flourishing.
It’s impossible for me to have a bad day because I know how bad the days can truly be.
This gratitude allows me to always and immediately ask myself, “Could it be worse?” If I’m not in prison or dead, the answer is always “Yes!”
Many people understand the mindset shift but not the discipline of the practice. Whenever something happens to you, good or bad, train yourself to immediately ask if it could be worse. If you have your health and freedom, you have the ability to improve any situation.
2. Maintain a growth mindset
I used to have a fixed mindset. A lot of my woes in childhood come back to the idea that if I wasn’t good at it, there was no hope for me to ever be better at it. It wasn’t until I started playing sports that I began to see that it’s possible to improve your abilities beyond what you first started with.
With a growth mindset, you believe that you can, with enough effort and time, learn and do anything.
Obviously, there are genetic limitations that will keep many from becoming the best at something, but it’s not necessary to be the best at anything; only to be the best version that you can be.
As a result of my growth mindset, I don’t believe that anything is out of my grasp. All I have to do is practice. This means that there is no reason for me to ever feel discouraged, envious, or limited. I can have or be almost anything.
3. Practice patience
Patience is refined confidence. One cool thing about being a late bloomer in life is that you learn to appreciate the power of time. Bad things happen quickly. Good things tend to take a while.
When you understand this, you feel confident when something takes time to develop. In fact, you come to completely distrust anything that comes quick and easy.
One reason that people get angry is because things don’t happen quickly enough. Many people tell me they feel anxious when they think something is about to happen. I look at time gaps between actions to be an opportunity for rest, relaxation, recharge, and planning my next move. Most importantly, I know that the more time I have, the better I can prepare for anything — expected or unexpected.
In this way, I’ve taken something that gives many people a negative experience and turned it into one of my greatest strengths.
4. Show appreciation for the small things
This is related to gratitude, but on a micro-scale.
I’m happy for my pets the same way I am for the people I love. I’m happy that I can have a fresh cup of coffee the same way I’m happy for a home-cooked holiday meal. I feel the same level of happiness when I can help a kid understand math that I feel when I learn a new skill myself.
To me, all things make my life happy. Not only do all things make my life happy, but they all do so equally.
I do not say this for exaggeration, hyperbole, or poetic effect. I feel overwhelming happiness for all things in my life.
I don’t feel sad or depressed when things leave me. I simply shift my focus to something else wonderful about my life. Since I’m always building with my growth-based mindset and I’m patient enough to wait for good things to happen, I have plenty to be happy about.
5. Hone a good value system
I saved the most important for last. I don’t value material things. This is not to say that I don’t think material things are nice to have, but they are fleeting.
They degrade, decompose, and can be destroyed. They carry no memories and can be transferred to anyone at any time. You may get angry when you lose them and much violence can be traced back to people fighting over things.
I have my beef with minimalism (which I’m realizing is more semantics than anything else), but one thing they absolutely get right is that “stuff” doesn’t equal happiness.
So what will make you happy?
It’s not the absence of material objects that will make you happy; that’s just focusing your energy on things that absorb your energy but are not such fragile containers of them. I focus on experiences, good food, conversation, connection, making a difference, and my craft.
That list was in no particular order, but all items have one thing in common: they depend on your frame of reference and actions.
Even good food, which requires money, is only good because of the experience that goes along with it and the people I share the meal with. That delicious meal is more enjoyable when you share it with people you care about, regardless of its price or the ambiance of the place you dine in.
At the end of the day, all you’re left with is your memories and the memories people have of you — and even then, those will eventually fade. Try to make them worthwhile.
I never get angry or worried because I try to keep control over all aspects of my life. The ones I can’t, I don’t worry about.
I’m happy about everything because everything teaches me a lesson. I’m happy for everything because everything is a part of life.
Ed Latimore is a retired American professional boxer, influencer, and best-selling author. His work focuses on self-improvement and a practical approach to stoic philosophy.