Lesson #5 Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.
My mentor, Hal Stamford, used to have this amazing ability to keep calm in a crisis. He kept his feelings, anger, frustration etc. below the surface. After a while, he taught me how to do it. It has become invaluable and more powerful than blowing your top or running around like a headless chicken. I have seen him in a meeting being verbally battered and beaten up. He has presented his case, increasing targets or increasing salary and reducing commissions etc and he has sat passively while the people he has presented to ranted and raved. One time he stood in front of a room or 120 salespeople and told them that targets had to increase. There was uproar. Shouting, abuse, insults, chairs being thrown people arguing and pushing each other and there, in the middle of it, was Hal sitting there looking at his nails and toying with a pen. He was totally oblivious of all of the tirades. When the arguing abated and a couple of people were saying, ‘you can’t increase targets’, and ‘you can’t do that you are asking for trouble’ he looked up. He put his pen in his pocket, stood up and looked at them. “Right!” he said, quietly, and walked out of the room. The arguing started again. This time though, they were arguing about the argument. “You shouldn’t have said that”, “What do you think he will do?” Just that calm and impassive temperament and the quietly spoken, “right” with a slight smile and a nod before walking out had instilled more fear and trepidation in that room than if the Terminator had walked in packing.
Lesson #5: Revenge is a dish best eaten cold. The last thing you want to do is telegraph a punch. You know, one of those real haymakers. Your opponent can see that coming a mile off. You are almost handing a calling card over prior to launch. If you stomp and shout, rant and rave, BACK at people you are communicating to them two things. First, that their argument has hit a nerve like a root canal job and has sent you 30,000ft and climbing. Second, you could accidentally tell them what you will do next because your anger will be obvious and they will expect some form of retribution, from YOU. If you are of the mind to either ‘up the ante’ or exact some revenge then it’s best not to let them know that you are going to do that. Terrorism is the fear ‘of’ an act: and not the act itself. You can create fear by saying and doing nothing. but making it clear, albeit in very ‘matter of fact’ terms, that you are going to do something. When you finally decide ‘when’ to act your act will come out of the blue. If you had stood there and screamed ‘I am going to (fill in the blank)’ then you will be the first person they will accuse. You telegraphed it. They will have lived in fear for a long while and they will have no idea it was you who had exacted revenge in the end.
Coming next, Lesson #6. A leopard never changes its spots; but it does disguise them.
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