News & Articles From the Founder of Time Challenger

Flying Off the Handle

Flying Off the Handle


Well, it’s certainly something we have all done….at one time or another.


Life’s stressful and staying in control at all times is not in the personality genome of the human species.  Actually, it should not be. Let me explain.

Go back a few thousand years and we find ourselves in very primitive times where instinct and courage is king. Misinterpret the actions of some wild beast…you are dead.  However, if the beast kills someone in your family, rage (flying of the handle) fills the individual with energy and the desire to act immediately. Very useful when you need to act with courage and cunning.

In today’s world, not so much. However, there are times when “losing it” can actually signal to those in your realm that you are not to be crossed.  It’s not the best situation, but, coming from a normally calm person it can have import.

Generally speaking, flying off the handle, is not the best choice and it does seem to affect some people more than others. There is the person who spends 2+ hours plus day commuting to a job each way.  Why, I cannot imagine, but people do. These people often arrive at the office frazzled and unable to relate to others civically for a while. It’s best to learn what drives them and work to ease their tensions.

Then, there are the people who just seem to be surly all the time. 

Question…ever taken the time to learn why? I once worked with a man who could not say anything without a sour face and a grumble. This went on for years. Finally, I had enough and asked my boss, “What’s up with Frank?” 

“Sit down,” he said quietly.  “Frank is taking care of both his aging parents who never cared an ounce for him during most of his life. Now, however, they are totally dependent on him and he resents them for their previous attitudes.  He will not though, abandon his “duty” to his parents even if they may not actually deserve any kindness what so ever.  That is a tough pill to swallow every day. Go easy on him and avoid the subject of Mother’s or Father’s Day and good times growing up. He’s too hurt to deal with it.  However, if you need council on doing what you are doing related to work, you will see a great man under the surface.”  I was stunned and walked away with a better attitude.  Very shortly, Frank became a great friend.

Surly? That may only be an indication that there is pain underneath.

Recently, I saw a video, very short, that opened a man’s eyes to this very fact. He was irritated that people where not moving fast enough for his interests at a local coffee shop.  He nudged, made sarcastic remarks, and exhibited various other annoying behaviors until a large man shoved him into a chair and handed him some glasses, “Put these on!”  The man was very, very stern but the fellow resisted. Again, the man forcibly dropped the man into his chair and ordered him to wear the glasses. This time he put the glasses on. As he looked up, the large man had vanished but instead of clear vision, the glasses illumined each person’s situation with a word bubble over their heads!

One said, “Mother just died, in need of understanding” and another, “Just lost job and wonder how to feed my family”.  On and on, the man was given clues to every person’s situation. Slowly his attitude changed.

The young boy on the skateboard on the street by his driveway each morning was neglected and believed he was worth nothing to anyone. The man paused, this time instead of shouting obscenities at the youth, and asked, “Want to shoot some baskets?’  The man had a basketball hoop at the street.  The boy’s face lit up.

End of the video.

We have the ability to “read” others if we only slow down and pay closer attention. Try smiling at someone you do not know. Be kind and hold a door for someone…not just some lady. Anyone. Learn to recognize the signs of loneliness and distress.

“Flying off the handle” is just one of many signals that indicate you may need to be there for a person who might be hurting. Are you ready to be available, maybe just once?

You will be rewarded.

A wise man once said, “Smile at others for there are people who may only get that one smile all day. Yet, they will feel it for days!”

Until next time,

Be Well