Play your game: Turn your anger into positive energy

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When I played waterpolo, I used to get really angry at some of the things the other teams would do. Since it’s waterpolo and we’re wearing speedos (what we call the briefs-shaped swimwear, actually it’s normal to wear two pairs just in case), you can probably guess what happened, lots of grabbing and poking and pinching. Punching under the water is amazingly ineffective.

I used to let it really get to me, thinking what they were doing was really unfair and unsportsmanlike. Now looking back on it I think they were just playing the game, and I had let myself get caught up in it. In that way, I lost.

One time it was particularly bad, but I had one amazing manager who just took me to the side, and basically told me to channel my anger into energy to help the team. Ever since then, I tried to take his advice literally whenever I felt unsettled. And it worked.

Now unfortunately we only got so far in waterpolo tournaments, there’s only so much you can do in a team game, but I started to try and convert the anger and other energy into energy for positive. I saw what they were doing as them just trying to get in my head, and turned my focus towards what I can do.

It turns out anger can be a powerful motivator, but I find it also has many undesired side effects. Best to calm yourself down first, and when you are level-headed, turn that emotion into a force for good. Play the game, but play your game, calmly. Don’t let the opposition get the upper hand.

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