That infamous quote from the acclaimed 1976 movie Network, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore,” serves as a very commanding reminder of the power available to us when we embrace The Habit of Intolerance.
While the movie is about a television network cynically exploiting the crazed rantings of a deranged anchor, the above scream became a rallying cry for people all over the world to no longer tolerate a status quo they didn’t want.
The professionals tell us that the most powerful catalyst to permanently changing anything and any part of our lives seldom begins until we reach the point of intolerance when we just can’t, and won’t, accept the status quo for one second longer.
By no means is this the only agent of change, but it is the one many of us can identify with when we think back to the straw that broke the camel’s back and directed us onto the road to change and then encouraged us to stay there.
Professionals who specialize in conflict resolution tell us whenever we are faced with conflict we have three options to choose from.
The first one, and the only one we will be referencing in this posting, is to accept things the way they are.
Unfortunately, far too many people misinterpret this to mean that in order to keep peace and harmony, or to avoid or prevent uncomfortable conversations and run the risk of deepening the conflict, accepting things the way they are means outwardly enduring them and no longer complaining about them while, on the inside, they are eating themselves alive.
The true meaning of accepting things the way they are means just that. It means you are not bothered or adversely affected in any way by the events which means there is no longer any conflict.
Many of us are affected by the way things are. We are continuously frustrated by our inability to shed that extra 30 pounds and by the person in our office who constantly “borrows” the stapler from your desk and never returns it.
We cannot accept things the way they are; the longer these frustrations continue the more intensely they affect us. By not adopting and acting on The Habit of Intolerance, we run the risk of forming a new undesirable and sad practice, the Habit of Expecting Nothing to Change.
“I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore” is the forerunner to The Habit of Intolerance and our best reminder that the fastest way to bring repeated failure and frustration into our life is to tolerate it.
The day we make an irrevocable commitment to only tolerate what we want and to never tolerate what we don’t is also the day we claim ownership of our life to begin the exciting journey of carving out the quality of life that only intolerance to what we don’t want can bring.
The Habit of Intolerance is not about selfishness; it is about selflessness. Remember, we can never become all we are capable of being while remaining tolerant to all that prevents pure selflessness from becoming ours.
This does not give us license to be rude, disrespectful and intolerant of others; it simply empowers us to raise the bar of tolerance to the level of accepting only those things that bring us feelings of joy, happiness, success, victory and fulfilment.
Isn’t that what we all want for ourselves and for those we love?
Let’s make a habit of meeting like this.