How fine is the line between intensity and rage? We saw the crossing of the line this past weekend in the match that Serena Williams played at the US Open. Her intensity turned to rage in an instant and her inappropriate reaction shocked the world. Professionals athletes are consistently battling to remain on the right side of that line with the occasional misstep onto the wrong side. I’m not condoning her actions and do believe that consequences are necessary, but don’t forget that these individuals are wired and trained to compete, fight, and most importantly win. Their intensity often sets them apart from other competitors, but learning ways to avoid an impulsive response can save them embarrassment, turmoil, and money. Maybe some anger management and communication skills training should be part of the consequence. Athletes, like many others who struggle with anger issues, first have to recognize that the problem is with themselves, not others. The next step is to learn tools to manage the anger and lastly to understand the origin of the anger. Anger and intensity can be positive motivators until they are displaced onto others. Decide to do something healthy and constructive with your intensity and reap the rewards of your efforts.
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