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In general, people tend to classify Anger as a negative emotion, something destructive, a feeling to have under control and avoid. As a characteristic, it is often associated with animals (supposed to be beneath humans, the enlightened ones), as a self-defense mechanism – an adaptation for survival. Angry humans become more animal – is the assumption.
If we go back enough in time, this was roughly my conception too. Partly because that view is the one I inherited from the context that shaped me until then, and also because I had never really thought about it specifically. It was a default/factory setting. Besides, it is a state of being that can be hard to analyze once it’s “on.”
Why Angry [Ventures]?
One cloudy day in 2016, I stumbled upon an interesting blog. In it, I found several edgy posts, written in a very bullshit-free manner. It had some typos here and there, and some of the ideas were not very clear to me at the time, but what I liked about it was that it was not wanting to be perfect or pretending to know it all. It had a punch that I found refreshing.
Not only that, but it was written by people my age, from my city, some of whom I had already seen in person. The blog was this one, the Angry Ventures blog.
One of the posts that caught my attention was one in which Fernando talked about this initiative he had – an Angry Lunch – in which he invited interesting people that he was curious to get to know and was not leaving it to chance for that to happen.
Inspired by it, and by some of his other posts, I decided to invite him for an Angry Lunch myself (something that had always happened the other way around).
During lunch, I asked him: “why Angry Ventures?”. It seemed to me that, from all the adjectives one could choose for a venture studio collective, “angry” wouldn’t be one to shortlist. Not very trendy or marketable – I thought. It doesn’t sound very stable, reliable, or open. That is from the “default” perspective of the word I talked about before.
He explained very calmly and with a mild smirk that Anger is just one of many emotions a person can experience, one that harbors a lot of energy and can catalyze change if correctly used or channeled – that’s why he chose it.
People – he continued – either block/reject it (because they don’t know what to do with it) or they burst with it (not managing it properly). The latter are the ones responsible for its bad name.
This challenged my view but made sense. It especially resonated with me because I was going through a transformation at the time, and upon a closer examination, Anger was at play there. I was already using that energy without being aware of it.
Why [not] Angry?
There are many things that can make people angry, possibly as many as there are people, but why do they anger us? Mainly because for some reason, as personal as it may be, we wanted things to be or happen differently.
If we’re stuck on the in-the-past point of view, then it is hard to manage the Anger, because it is not actionable. Or rather, the actions that spur from it do not change what happened, which constrains the energy. It either bursts and spills over everything nearby or gets swallowed and sometimes shows off in little passive-aggressive actions.
On the other hand, if we adopt a moving-forward attitude, then we’re driven to change whatever we need “in order for this not to happen again”. Be it within or in our surroundings.
The actions coming from properly managing/using Anger can push change in an interesting way. Speech cuts through the bullshit and is delivered from it. The key points that need intervention are rapidly identified. The limiting fear of being misunderstood is transformed into a keen focus on communicating clearly. Complacency shrinks and assertiveness grows. And, for me, the most beautiful of all is that creativity blooms – when you really want to change something, you find a way.
Ultimately, if one manages to be angry and calm at the same time, this brings up a clarity that helps us understand if something is worth it or not, and either jump all-in or move forward anew. No drama.
This is how projects, challenges and opportunities are handled within our group and is, in my opinion, what sets us apart: it is not the execution, but the mindset. And once you get the mojo of it, you won’t have it any other way, so: