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.
Every time you’re yelled at without a clear reason, every time you’re accused of something you did or not,Â 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.Â 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. 😉