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The Real Deal with Tommy D’Aprile #123

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It was a beautiful Tuesday morning and I went to the gym to start my day off right. Upon arriving I said hello to a couple of friends, then went about my business. After a little while, though, I noticed two men arguing until they were yelling very loudly at one another. The argument turned very ugly and it really looked like a fight was about to break out. I thought something big must have triggered this incident, but as it turned out the whole thing was over the first man not wanting to share the machine he was using with the other man. “Holy cow,” I couldn’t help but think. “All of this over something so insignificant.” 

Thankfully, the two men eventually resolved their differences and we all went back to a peaceful morning. But after witnessing this completely unnecessary confrontation it got me thinking about all the other petty things in life that can set us off to the point of losing our cool and self control. So the questions I have for you are pretty straightforward. Can you relate to this story? Have you ever gotten so upset over something so stupid? Are you easily offended? 

We’ve all heard a huge fire can start with just a tiny spark. Well, that’s the same concept when it comes to arguments and fights. The truth is that all too often big fights and arguments begin with someone being offended about something and then it escalates into something much bigger than they ever could have imagined. Wars have even broken out between nations just because two people couldn’t get along. It all starts very small, but before you know it things can veer wildly out of control. 

On a more personal level, all too often nowadays someone will have a problem with a friend or family member or colleague and instead of peacefully resolving it in person or at least through private channels, they instead post all sorts of foolishness to Facebook or Twitter. Be honest now, is this you? If yes, for your own good, please stop—now!

But how do you stop this matter of offense within you? It’s called: “Think before you act!” It’s far too easy to fly off the handle, only to regret what you did very soon after. I have seen this both online and at the race track on top end. Two guys have some sort of on-track duel, then continue it off the track. Then, what started out between the two drivers quickly escalates to involving their entire crews and sometimes even other teams. 

I know of what I speak. Believe me people when I say I have been the one who lost it more than a time or two. But I realize now that the feeling of getting mine was never worth the aftermath of destruction. So if this column can help just one person stop being so easily offended I would call it a win. 

After all, the truth is that from the outside you actually look very foolish. I’m thinking of a friend of mine who was once videotaped having an altercation with another person. After he and the other person watched the video they both became very embarrassed about how they acted. The video exposed their shortcomings, but ironically changed their lives for the better after they became very close friends because of their shared experience. 

Now think about someone training a video camera on you daily, watching your every move. Do you think you would be proud of what you saw for the most part? Most people would be on their best behavior if they knew they were being watched, but does it really matter if you’re being watched or not? The truth is that you alone are responsible for your attitudes, actions, and behaviors, regardless of whether someone is taping or not. People always want to blame someone else, but the truth is that how you act is your choice and not theirs. No entitlement here, just plain old truth and acceptance of the wrong attitude to humble you.

If any of this made you think about some changes you need to make, then good. If it struck a nerve, that’s good, too; it means you may be ready to make a change. And finally, if I offended you in any way with this column, know that it’s not my problem, but yours. The choices you make today in the areas of being offended or not can change your life for the better or worse. As always, the choice is yours to make.

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