unforced errors

How to Avoid Unforced Errors: Control your Temper

Unforced Errors: Losing Your Temper

I am a giant pickleball fan and in my time playing I have noticed something about the players that are most successful and celebrate the most victories: they make the least unforced errors. Let me explain what an unforced error is: 

  • a mistake in play that is attributed to one’s own failure 
  • a careless or foolish mistake. 

The same is true in business.  We can sometimes convince ourselves that the people at the top of our industries always get everything right and never make mistakes.  There must be an aspect of this which is true, however everyone makes mistakes.  We should aim to make fewer of them and less often. They can also serve as good learning opportunities. Take my advice, learn from your mistakes, even better learn from mine. 


One unforced error that I have tried to avoid is losing my temper.  Anger rarely is beneficial in a business context.  It typically leads to rash and impulsive decision making.  It also can make business relationships difficult and cause rifts. The bible speaks to the value of operating in control:     

"A wise man controls his temper. He knows that anger causes mistakes."

When I have allowed anger to take over, I don’t just lose my temper, but I also lose my perspective.  Anger is sometimes described as a cloud that comes over us and it has the power to distort the way we see things, people, and projects.  One of the fruits of the Holy Spirit is self-control.  This means that when we depend on the Holy Spirit to lead us in life, He will make grace available to handle even the most difficult situations with Godly character.  

Case Study

Years ago, I was working with a company, and I worked with them consistently for 7-8 years on lots of different jobs. The project manager that I had a good working relationship with got a promotion and the person brought in to replace him brought with him new ways of doing things. Some of the changes and practices he introduced did not work in our favor and to be candid, I thought they were unfair. It got to a point where I addressed these issues with him, and I ended up losing my temper in the meeting and shouted at him. That was the last job I did for that company.  That was an unforced error!  My inability to control my temper cost us an ongoing relationship and plenty of business with that company. 


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