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The Daily Vulnerable by Chude Jideonwo: Road Rage

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The other day I was driving back from church when someone who wasn’t being considerate blocked off our side of the road because he wanted to enter on the other side.

I was about three or four cars behind this person.

The person directly behind however was understandably angry, and after a while when he couldn’t take it anymore, he jumped out of his car, marched to the driver in front, and proceeded to make a loud, angry, widely-gesticulating case for why the driver was a very stupid man.

Not surprisingly, he didn’t manage to convince this person of the person’s wrongness.

But then as I watched this well dressed, well-adjusted gentleman perform in public an ancient ritual we call road rage in front of tens of strangers, something occurred to me about road rage.

First, it makes sense that we would react to the unnatural position of being cooped in a car on a road behind other people, unable to take any other action – something generations of our ancestors never had to do – would set off unnatural, unhealthy reactions in us.

But then also, road rage is a fascinating human phenomenon because it is a porridge of unhealthy and negative emotions – pain, frustration, anger, irritation, and fear at first. Then the fact that we lose control of ourselves and then exhibit these emotions in front of strangers, itself now leading to shame embarrassment, and an intense fear of losing status or respect.

When you have stood up to loudly call another person a fool, you are now invested in ensuring others see that person as a fool, and not you.

It leads us down the path of more and more negative emotion, especially if the other person returns fire for fire.

And this is not just a matter for the road. We find ourselves in these unfortunate situations at work, at home, in the immigration queue at the airport, at restaurants, in class, and on the train.

It doesn’t end well.

Please try and use that emotional energy for something with an upward spiral.

It’s hard, I know but try.

Jideonwo is a storyteller, using the research and evidence on human flourishing to inspire new narratives about politics, markets, faith, identity and society in Africa. He is a co-founder of RED, which he ran for 13 years before stepping down in December 2017. One of its companies, StateCraft Inc. handled communication for the Muhammadu Buhari campaign in 2015 and has worked in elections in Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

4 Comments

  1. Saywhatnow

    August 23, 2018 at 9:52 pm

    Wow..very nice..a lot to take away from this Article.. Very true how it can go from 0 to 100..even if the other person is wrong.. Its better to manage your emotions n not let anyone send you on a rollercoaster of shame n Regret!Thanks

  2. godwin

    August 23, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    This guy can`t write to save his life. I can`t fathom for the life of me why he bothers. Chude,give it up,this ain`t your calling.

    To be honest,this utterly below par!

    • Me

      August 26, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Are you being serious? Or this is just a case of “bad belle”?

    • Me

      August 26, 2018 at 10:13 am

      My comment was to Godwin above

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