The Value of Control: Staying Mindful in an Argument

Getting mad can be a good thing. Sometimes, you just need to yell! Yet other times, getting overheated can run contrary to your goals, and simply escalate the situation, as this New York Times article “How to Stay Mindful in An Argument” explains (link behind the paywall).

The key ability is intentionality: Choosing a designed reaction to the given circumstance — when to get heated and when to remain calm. This, as the NYTimes article points out, depends on your goal in entering the argument and the setting.

Yelling at the waiter who brought you the wrong order may result in spiteful delays in service later in the meal.

Yelling at an absent-minded driver on their cellphone who has almost run you over at the crosswalk is likely an effective tool to ensure they stay more focused at the wheel.

In the OBM model, we map the three qualities of the 21st-century leader: Openness, Focus, and Control. The intentionality described above, is synonymous with “control.” And all three qualities can be cultivated via mindfulness.

One can often learn a lot in an argument — but only if, when appropriate, we choose to stop and listen. If we lack the ability to momentarily pause, we lack the ability to see new opportunities. And that may be a reason to yell at yourself.

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