Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Anger...and luck

Conventional wisdom teaches us that it's best to control our temper. If we lose our temper, conventional wisdom tells us that our emotional state makes us unable to reach our goals.

But sometimes a bad temper works out for the best.

In 1982, a former military officer named John McCain, a recent arrival to Arizona, was running for Congress. His opponents dwelled on the "recent" part of McCain's biography, and carpetbagger charges were swirling about him when, during a debate, he snapped.

Listen, pal. I spent 22 years in the Navy. My grandfather was in the Navy. We in the military service tend to move a lot. We have to live in all parts of the country, all parts of the world. I wish I could have had the luxury, like you, of growing up and living and spending my entire life in a nice place like the first district of Arizona, but I was doing other things.

Then he made this statement:

As a matter of fact, when I think about it now, the place I lived longest in my life was Hanoi.

He won that primary, and then won election to the House of Representatives, and then to the Senate. In fact, the 2008 Presidential election was the first major election that he lost.

Not too bad for a statement made in a fit of anger.
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