The Eisenhower anger drawer – The 200 words project

US President Dwight Eisenhower used to have fits of anger as a child. Over time, he learnt that anger and hate clouded his judgment. And, in positions of leadership, he couldn’t afford to let that happen. So, he strived to make it a practice to avoid getting angry and hating anyone.

His technique for doing so was to write the person’s name on a piece of scrap paper, drop it into the lowest drawer of his desk, and say to himself – “That finishes the incident, and so far as I’m concerned, that fellow.” Over the years, the drawer became a sort of private wastebasket for crumbled-up spite and discarded personalities. During his time as Supreme Commander and President, he was frequently made a scapegoat by journalists for all sort of troubles. His anger drawer saved him from any negative reactions.

The learning that emerged for me – the anger drawer was Eisenhower’s method to pause and respond to adversity rather than react to it. And, he designed a system that worked really well for him. Here’s to doing that for ourselves..

Holding onto anger is like grasping a hot piece of coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one that gets burnt. | The Buddha

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0 thoughts on “The Eisenhower anger drawer – The 200 words project”

  1. Love this! A long time ago I came up with a similar “coping mechanism”.

    If I’ve let myself get very annoyed or upset with someone I sometimes do the following. If they’ve written anything to me (e.g. an email) I print it. Then I go to the shredder and feed it in!

    OR, if they haven’t written to me, I can write down how I feel about the situation, print it, and then shred it.

    It helps to do this a sense of intent and focus. Something about the process of seeing (and hearing!) the problem grinding away in the shredder helps me to reduce the problem to literal shreds and to “let it go”. (LOL – If I really need to, I can print and shred several times!)

    This little exercise resolves any immediate need “do something fiendish” and buys some time so that I can figure out a more productive way to deal with the situation.

    Extra Note: Of course, if you work in a less than amiable office environment, you may need to invest in a lot of paper!!

      1. LOL – Somehow just quietly deleting my own email wouldn’t feel quite as “satisfying” as participating in the (slightly noisy) process of destruction!

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