There will be times in life that you will be so angry or upset that you will be tempted to do some dumb shit that could ruin your life, career, or reputation forever. The world is full of toxic souls that feel a pleasure in pushing everyone’s buttons or causing trouble.

Nevertheless, no matter how angry or upset you’re about what someone did or said to you, or some misfortune in your life, some fights are not worth picking. Below I will give some tips on how to keep your cool when you are too blinded by hatred to calculate the casualties and consequences of the vendetta you are about to embark upon. Since none of the tips I give below can be considered a “one size fits all,” my best recommendation is to use a mix between them depending on the situations and problems you face in your future.

1. The 10 second rule

“Who wishes to fight must first count the cost” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Before I decide to do anything when I get some upsetting news or provoked by someone, I do what I call the 10-second rule. Breath heavily, close your eyes, and count to 10 before doing anything. This really helps me to think more clearly about the consequences of what I will say or do next. Always try to do this before acting on your impulses and ending up doing something stupid, like punching someone in the face. It may cost your job, a lawsuit, your reputation, career and even your freedom.

2. Remove yourself from the situation until your temper has cooled down

“know yourself and you will win all battles” ― Sun Tzu

When you receive some bad news or someone provoked you in some way or another, the best way to deal with the problem without risking yourself to act on your emotional impulses is to simply back down temporarily from the situation that triggered those negative thoughts. Wait until you can think more logically about how to face the situation. Then go back and do your best to deal with the problem in a logical manner.

3. Think about the consequences and what you’ve got to lose

“There is no instance of a nation benefiting from prolonged warfare.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Sometimes just reflecting about the negative outcomes that an impulsive action can have upon you and your family is enough to most men to not let their emotional impulses possess them and make them do dumb shit that they will regret for the rest of their lives. Remember, before saying or doing anything stupid, always think about the repercussions your action will have in your life and to others depending upon you.

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4. Use the art of rhetoric to humiliate the other person

“The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In case the person hasn’t made physical contact with you but is trying to humiliate you in the verbal or psychological realm, I recommend you to try to humiliate him back through mocking. Sometimes the best way to deal with toxic people who constantly try to humiliate or belittle you is to use what the other person has said against them.

If you don’t have enough information about him, wait until you’ve gathered more information about him through his reputation, past doings, and so on. Or you can just make a joke out of what the other person said about you.

“To know your Enemy, you must become your Enemy.” ― Sun Tzu

The art of joking can be a powerful ally to defeat your haters. You can destroy his plans of making you lose your shit if you can make a joke out of something negative someone said about you. You will be able to make most of your haters give up on destroying your frame. And that’s not the only benefit of it: if you can joke about your flaws and your overall personality it shows to others that you are a very self aware person. In short, not only no verbal bully can affect you but you will also come off as having a strong charisma and frame to others.

5. No way out, just punch the guy in the face!

“The wise warrior avoids the battle.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

There will be some cases that you will be deliberately provoked in such an offensive manner, such as when someone hits you, that if you don’t punch the guy in the face or fight back everyone will consider you a total wimp. In those cases, I do recommend you to say fuck it and just do it. I’d rather be hated by everyone and have the reputation some kind of violent primitive caveman than to have the reputation of a pussy doormat that everyone can push around.

It’s up to you to decide which fights are worth picking. However, if you do decide to act on your impulses, beware of the consequences that you might face. Remember the repercussions of your impulsive action can be worse than having the reputation of a thug. You and him may be fired, get sued, face prison time, and so on. If you did opt to act impulsively, I seriously hope it was really worth it. Also, if you see violence coming, you have the right to defend yourself.

Conclusion

“Thus the expert in battle moves the enemy, and is not moved by him.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

In the end, it’s up to you to decide which fights are worth picking and which are not. In case you decide to act impulsively upon then, I hope you really thought about the short and long-term consequences. We are all adult men to know well enough that, unlike hot girls, the world won’t turn a blind eye if we screw up. We live in a world full of malice and wickedness. As much as you try to get along with everyone, there will always be some people who get a kick out of stirring up controversy and creating circles of hate. Beware some people love to get others in trouble.

Read More: 4 Steps to Forgiving Yourself

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