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Rant Tolerance

I’m going to yell at you. Like right now. And I mean it.

What the hell are you doing here, reading a blog post? Don’t you have things to do? Like a life, for instance? This is what you learned in school? This how you want to build a career? Your future? Wasting time all day reading blogs?

How did you feel about it? Did you tried to respond? To prove me wrong? Did you instinctively tried to find an excuse for reading my blog? Your reaction to those kind of situations will shape what I call your rant tolerance. I don’t think you’ve heard before about rant tolerance, but believe me, it’s something you have. And something that you really should learn how to control.

But first of all, let’s all be clear about what I understand by rant in the context of this article. A rant is a flow of aggressive communication directed to you with or without a visible reason. A violent critique. And rant tolerance would be your capacity to creatively face this vigorous flow.

Rant Phases

Every time you’re yelled at without a clear reason, every time you’re accused of something you did or not,  you enter a specific sequence. Some people will skip some steps while others will do all of them, but in my experience, this is the most common approach. Unless what you do for a living is negotiation, I think you’re pretty much in this average.

Rant Phase One

I didn’t do anything to that guy, what the hell he wants from me?

You start by thinking the rant must have some kind of reason or motivation. First thing is to assume the other guy is right, so you start thinking what exactly you did in order to create such a reaction. Nothing, of course. But you still stay in this realm and try to understand what generated the rant.

This stage is the most consuming. Usually, because we have this mindset of being capable to hurt other people without intent. Maybe we did this unintentionally. Maybe we just made a mistake. Let’s make things even. Of course, you can’t make things even, because you didn’t do anything in the first place. Or at least, this is what you think.

Rant Phase Two

Ok, I don’t understand what he want from me, but I will respond in kind, just to keep a balance.

This second phase is the most common approach to rants and many people start directly in this stage, without passing the first one. You yelled at me? Now I will yell at you.  I will really show you what yelling means, if we’re going to do this.

This approach is rooted in a very common belief that a rant is something you must get even at. If somebody talked bad about you, without even trying to understand what he’s talking about, you will teach him a lesson. Being yelled at is an insult and it must be punished.

Rant Phase Three

Well, since I already spent so much energy in it, better see what exactly I can lean from this situation.

The third stage involves an assessment. After you showed the other guy who’s the boss, you start analyzing. What was all about? Who is the guy who yelled at you? Was he right? And if yes, why? What is to be learned from this? You finally start to assess the whole situation.

This stage is the one in which you accept that rant is a choice. Of course, if you followed all the steps until this level, it’s a bit too late to realize that, since you already had your fight. This stage is usually the one you say to yourself: “next time I won’t go into this anymore. I’ll be just cool”.

Now, the best phase to enter a rant is without doubt the third one. Even without trying to understand what you did to start it. Because there’s a good chance you didn’t do much. Sometimes people are accusing you just to borrow your visibility. Sometimes they just feel secure if they’re able to pick on a fight with big guys, regardless of who’s right.

My Personal Story

Being quite a visible blogger, and before that, being one of the most active online entrepreneurs in Romania, I had my share of rants. Most of the time, they didn’t have any reason whatsoever. Just the fact that I was visible was enough for other people to pick up a fight, to show off the fact that they were having conversations with me. Of course, I was not the only one in this position, every successful and active entrepreneur had the same treatment. Borrowing visibility seemed to be the main reason for those rants.

Needles to say that I followed exactly the phases described above, time and again, until I finally got tired. I first started to wonder how exactly I hurt that guy, and then got into a fight and then settled and tried to learn something from it. And then started over again.At some point I discovered that I have something called rant tolerance.

This rant tolerance is the measure of your reaction when you’re attacked (with or without reason). If somebody calls you an idiot, for instance, and you respond in kind the very next second, your rant tolerance would be really low. You wouldn’t stand being yelled at.

But if somebody calls you an idiot and not only you don’t respond in kind, but you enter directly in the stage 3, trying to see what you have to learn from it, your rant tolerance is pretty high. You’re quite in control of it.

Took me a lot of time to isolate those stages, to define the processes and to start practicing my third phase. Because the moment I realized the third phase is the most useful and profitable, I made a promise to myself never to enter a rant in the first or the second stage. Only the third one.

That basically means: if somebody attacks me, the first thing I do is to evaluate my learning odds. Not even the validity of the rant, which means the guy may or may not be right, that’s not important, only my learning opportunity. If there’s something to learn from it, I stop and start a conversation. Not a rant. If the conversation is not sustainable, it means I have nothing to learn and just move on. If I can have a normal conversation, then we share our points of view and at the end of it, I move on.

I simply don’t have words to express the relief I was experiencing when I started to aim for the third stage. It was absolutely unbelievable. I still have my share of rants every now and then, but the way I’m treating them is totally changing the game. In fact, if I think for a while, lately I noticed an increase in rants, which should mean my blog is becoming quite popular. And that’s something I’m happy about.

Where Are Your Rants?

Another interesting thing I noticed in regard with rant tolerance is that most of my fights were taking place in a specific area of my life: the business part of it. My rant tolerance in that area was really low. I had to work to make it better. Usually, the place where you have the lowest rant tolerance is the place where you can experience most of your growth. Low rant tolerance is a clear indicator you didn’t realize what you have to learn from what’s happening to you.

An interesting exercise would be to share in the comments what is the area of your life where you experience most of your rants and how do you respond to them. I understand it might be a sensitive area, but last time I checked, they invented nicknames. If you think you’ll feel awkward just use a nickname but do let me know where in your life do you experience the lowest rant tolerance.

How do you work with it? Are you a first stage, a second stage or a third stage performer? Oh, and in case you wonder, the rant at the beginning of the post was joke, I’m actually happy you read my blog. I’m not into rants anymore. 😉


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This Post Has 31 Comments
  1. One thing is for sure, Dragos – you live very consciously and with awareness in every moment. The decision you made and the way you stick to that decision without allowing an automatic reaction to get in the way is very admirable. I am pretty rant tolerant in every area of my life besides some situations with my ex. The fact that I can’t be as conscious and control myself as well in those situations really bothers me. Working on it:)
    Great post, thank you!
    .-= Lana – DreamFollowers Blog´s last blog ..My 2010 Goals and 2 Awesome Techniques I Used to Set Them. =-.

    1. I’ve noticed that there are some situations where I am more rant tolerant than other times. For example, my parents usually have an easier time getting on my nerves than, say, my friends or classmates. The context we find ourselves being ranted at makes a big difference.

      Really great and well-written post Dragos! It got me more motivated and clear-minded about what I can improve in this area.
      .-= Steven Handel | The Emotion Machine´s last blog ..Re-visiting Your Goals And Aspirations =-.

      1. I know the feeling of parents getting on my nerves 🙂 As usually, when I realized that was a sign some stuff is not learned there, the rants magically disappeared!

    2. Thanks, Lana

      That decision came after a few incredibly stupid reactions, with some pretty big consequences. So it was little bit of forced awareness, so to speak 🙂

  2. I think the need to respond to a rant comes from the inner need to prove something.
    Most times, that’s the need to prove you’re better than the other person – but we do it the wrong way – by responding, not by moving to the “learning stage”!

    I used to be a very incisive person (right now, I’m at only the point where I managed to remove the “very” from the equation). After some years, I met with an old friend, who at a point said something, then stopped and looked at me with mild fear, expecting my “needle” back at him.
    And I said “You know..I don’t have anything to prove anymore. I’m ok with myself as I am.”

    I think how you react to criticism is a lot about how you feel about yourself, and your inner maturity.
    .-= Maria´s last blog ..Fast living =-.

    1. A very familiar story you’re telling here 🙂 I think we came here to learn, but in the process we become a little bit hasty. We have to get older to let go of this hastiness.

  3. Rants have their place in the blogosphere. They are a great way to let off steam, but one must be careful not to use the safety of the Internet to attack someone when they wouldn’t say the same things to their face.
    .-= Gordie´s last blog ..Old Tianjin Is Destroyed. =-.

    1. I used to like rants at some point in my life. Now I like to use my energy a little bit more conservatively. Or at least in things I can control directly. But as you say, rants are always symptoms of visibility.

  4. Hi dear Dragos,

    Maaaan, this is some article, something I think a lot of people go through and wrestle with in trying to come to terms with it. I love how you jump right from the rant to the “what can I learn from this”.

    When I was younger I carried other people’s rant as if I deserved them, but I am much stronger now and better able to separate what is someone else’s “stuff” and let it go…and realize that it may have nothing to do with me at all. I think that was a HUGE eye opener, learning that there are just people out there who thrive on stirring up trouble, or people who are hurting so badly that they don’t want anyone else to do well, or they want the whole world to be dragged down with them. To grasp that reality was massive for me.

    Also, I am learning to stay in my center and not get thrown off course by rant, which is a wonderful feeling for me. I never was one to rant back much, but I just took the other person’s pain in as if it were my own, as if it were real for ME, when in fact, it wasn’t. Only if I made it so.

    So this is an area I am still getting stronger in and learning more about. I rarely get rants anymore. But I used to get them in the area of me being too positive or too alive, filled with vitality. I once had someone tell me I smiled too much. So I think the area I’ve gotten them in the most was in simply being happy….or happy even in a crisis, or looking for the positive in a “supposed” negative experience, or choosing the positive over the negative. I once was called a “Polly Anna”, from the classic childhood story of the little girl who was orphaned and treated cruelly, but she nonetheless was kind and positive and looked on the bright side of things. I was never orphaned, but I have always looked on the bright side. Its doesn’t mean I deny the dark side of life, it just means I CHOOSE what I am going to focus on.

    Thank you for the really core post. It’s a good one and something I really needed to hear. Bless you!!! Hugs, Robin :))
    .-= Robin Easton´s last blog ..What Are You Waiting For…Perfection? =-.

    1. Happy you mentioned the Polly Ana concept here. It’s often associated with people isolating in a parallel reality. I don’t think that’s a solution. You may be sometimes so positive and so pumped up that people tend to think you are actually “high”. From their point of view, you may be “high”, because they can’t reach some state of consciousness without the help of a chemical substance.

  5. Hey Dragos, another surprise topic. I think that many passionate, high energy people go through an easily excited stage (rant), especially when they are younger. I sure did.

    Now, things are quite different. I have nothing to prove and no desire to engage in debates. I’m still just a opinionated in certain areas, but I don’t need to convince anyone to agree with me.

    I have developed what I call the “oh well” approach. If someone is interested, I’ll explain my views. If they disagree or want to argue, I say oh well and take my leave. Life is too short and busy to engage over every issue. I am basically a happy, positive person. No point sacrificing that, even for a moment.
    .-= Jonathan – Advanced Life Skills´s last blog ..Time to Focus on Abundance Instead of Scarcity =-.

  6. Hi Dragos. Great post man. It’s good that you are able to get your rant level to phase three. I think one of the best things to deal with rants is really not to question or analyze another person because they may be wrong, but you may be wrong also. People that rant at each other or rant at themselves are too consumed in their thoughts to realize the harm they are doing. Being conscious of our ranting can make ranting really pointless. Let’s why it’s better to just let things go. It will help make the situation more peaceful. Thanks for sharing to us.

    1. Welcome here, Hulbert and thanks for your great points. Especially liked this: “People that rant at each other or rant at themselves are too consumed in their thoughts to realize the harm they are doing.”. Too much inward focus will cut you off from the real world…

  7. Brilliant post, most insightful. In the past I would say my rant tolerance was lowest at work. I had a very critical boss and I often reacted badly to his daily rants. Now I understand how damaging to myself that kind of anger is so I am learning to enter at level three and since I consciously decided to do that I find I experience less rants. I would say for every 5 five rants I enter at level 3 for three of them. I believe I will get that ratio to 5 of 5 soon.
    .-= Carol King´s last blog ..Where Do Law of Attraction Blogs Go To Die? =-.

    1. Oh, rant tolerance at work, tell me about it! I worked for 7 years in media, as an anchor man in radio station. Rants were the expected normality there and a peaceful person would have been ejected in less than a minute. A lot of my intentions to aim for level 3 have their roots in that period of my life.

  8. I often use my blog for a bit of a rant. I don’t mind the discussion that happens afterwards in the comments. It certainly more interesting than just having everyone post “good post” as a comment.
    .-= Anthony Feint´s last blog ..The Single Most Important Aspect to Succeeding Online =-.

    1. A little bit of controversy didn’t hurt anyone, you’re right. As long as there’s something to learn from it. I am all into: “well, you may be right but I have a different opinion” approach. But I don’t really see any benefit in feeding the trolls.

  9. Letting rants out feels good! Not that they solve anything but at least you can let off some steam. But if you’re at the receiving end of a rant, it doesn’t feel so good. the instinctive reaction is to get even. But I manage fairly well to ignore any rants directed to me that sometimes I feel I’m not getting even as often as I should. LOL

  10. What a fun topic – thanks for writing it! In my twenties, I would respond to a rant in kind. Always up for a fight. These days though I understand that someone ranting at you is almost never about you, so I tend to be dismissive and save my energy for more worthwhile things. Although…a good argument with a worthy adversary now and then to get your blood moving and your tongue sharp is a good thing.
    .-= Meg at Demanding Joy´s last blog ..Hot & Dirty =-.

  11. Being human and being programmed to protect our ego, we are definitely alien to the third phase you have stated here. It has become instinctive for us to respond in the first two phases. Unfortunately, only those who care enough to be aware of themselves are able to elevate to higher plane of understanding which is a requisite to be able observe and learn from the situation. Few people choose to grow, and so ranting will always be approached the ordinary way.

    My tolerance for rant is very low. But one of my strategy to handle myself is to detach from my instinctive response and endure the surge of emotion. As the uncomfortable process goes, I am seeking answers and learning at the same time. It’s amazing to discover how we are controlled by a force other than our true inner self. 🙂
    .-= Walter´s last blog ..The essence of giving =-.

  12. Awsome post, and a matching capcha, never saw that before:)
    Hard to respond to it though. I know what everybody means (and I´m getting your point too, yes :)) but it keeps happening to me.
    I´m 38 and and i´m stuck at stage two 🙁
    And I´m sorry to say (I really am) that I´m quite good at it, and then I have my size 2.00M (I guess that makes me 6.6 Inch) against me. Sounds stupid, but it really works against me in this respect. Yeah, i don´t get into fights. But I scare people very easily, even my friends tell me so. I get excited quickly, and then I scare people, because I “rant”. To me its expressing my opinion, but others perceive it as ranting, and they are probably right.
    And not for some weeks, for years now. I always have stage three follow (would have a much happier life if i didn´t:p) but I can´t seem to be able to get hold of that stage two.
    This sentence descibes very accurate what happens: “Of course, if you followed all the steps until this level, it’s a bit too late to realize that, since you already had your fight. This stage is usually the one you say to yourself: “next time I won’t go into this anymore. I’ll be just cool”.
    But it happens again. And again. I´m not physically agressive (although apperently I come across as such, I never hit anyone in my life) but verbally I am. Not as in cursing so much, but i tend to get loud and very direct/open.
    I´m working on that though, and your Blog is one of the things i look into for help on that subject. http://www.dragosroua.com/100-ways-to-screw-up-your-life/ is a great guide in that respect.
    My respect to all of you
    *boughs*

  13. Excellent post, Dragos.

    There are things and situations in life that no one seems to talk about because they don’t want to offend anyone or make themselves look bad. But if something is obviously true and it’s causing problems for people, I don’t think we should be afraid of pointing it out to garner more attention on the issue.
    .-= Tim — Inspiration Pro´s last blog ..How to Know When Someone’s Being Dishonest =-.

  14. This was quite a unique article. I kept thinking of my responses to rants, but I can hardly think of any occasions where I stick with the phases.

    I have very little rant tolerance. I usually look at the ranter with shock and awe at the fact that they could so easily lose control. I’m more likely to ignore than participate, but I may put a little thought into it once the ranter is out of my site. Hmmm….something to think about.
    .-= Nea | Self Improvement Saga´s last blog ..Happiness: By Chance or By Choice? =-.

  15. Hi Dragos,
    Doesn’t matter that you yelled at the beginning :), cause I will read your blog no matter what. It gives me powerful inspiration every day.

    And yes, I have an example for you:
    I have this colleague at my workplace (let’s call him Mitica) with which I have a very good relation, both professional and personal. But from time to time we go into tough discussions on general topics. This discussion transforms into almost fights, most of the times. Doesn’t matter who is right, because this is not the purpose of any discussion. I consider that the purpose is to make an exchange of opinions and arguments, so in the end both participants gain more acknowledge, etc.

    Problem:
    I consider Mitica a friend, and I don’t want to fight against him, metaphorically speaking.

    Solution:
    I stopped discussing with him any controversial subject, and let him express towards other people. Very soon he got into fight with them. The solution was when he realized that he crossed some lines, when he argued for his ideas. Hopefully we won’t have this kind of situation very soon.

    In the end: excellent subject, and very useful.
    .-= elebele´s last blog ..melodia zilei =-.

  16. Usually what helps me in situation like this is to think that people are ranting at themselves, not at me. They are acting aggressive because of their personal context. This thinking helps me not to react immediately with aggression to their ranting; it gives me a short pause to think what to do next.
    .-= elebele´s last blog ..melodia zilei =-.

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