He was born in Lamar, Missouri, on May 8, 1884, ironically the date WWII ended in Europe sixty-one years later. As fate would have it, he was also the person who made the ultimate decision to end the war with Japan with two atomic bombs.
During his life, he was a farmer, hat salesman, WWI artillery commander, Missouri county judge, Missouri Senator, and, eventually, the 34th vice-president of the United States. Upon the death of President Roosevelt in 1945, he became the 33rd President and was elected for a second term, retiring from his political life in 1953.
During his tenure as president, he was known as an outspoken, and sometimes, controversial president, who sometimes said what he was feeling before his aides could edit what he should have been saying.
For example, when asked for his advice, what kind of president would say, “Never kick a fresh turd on a hot day”?
Now you’re probably asking, “How does that quote even come close to helping make stress my ally?” A lot closer than you think!
When we are making decisions or responding to various stimuli, we do so with both our rational and emotional minds. Power and speed are on the side of the emotional mind. Thinking and talking are on the side of the rational mind. It is the rational mind that guides the emotional mind – most of the time!
If your stress level is very high, it is much tougher to guide your emotional mind towards what you want to say or want to do. Normally, I don’t think anyone would intentionally “kick a fresh turd on a hot day.”
But frustration and irritability can cause us to do things in the “heat of the moment.” And, sometimes, those irrational words or actions can come back at us in some way, shape, or form. Hence, the kicking of a fresh turd. Once kicked, it isn’t coming off your shoe very easily. The smell will linger longer than you might want, both on your shoe and in your mind.
In essence, if you are having a stressful day, you can make things worse by saying or doing something that will come right back at you in a negative way. Of course, this naturally causes your stress level to ratchet up a notch. Not exactly what you needed on an already stressful day!
What can you do to avoid kicking a fresh turd?
Be aware of your levels of stress, frustration, and irritability.
Use this awareness in the gap the between every stimulus and response. Remember: this is the gap you have complete control over.
Take a relaxing breath, or either openly smile yourself or just smile in your mind. It is extremely difficult to smile and be irritated and reactive at the same time.
And whatever you do, don’t kick that fresh turd!
So . . . . You can use your mind or your shoe – up to you!
P.S. The president who gave that advice was Harry S. Truman😊