If you are looking for secrets of failure to add to your life, look no further than losing your temper. It’s a fabulous way to fail in whatever you do and to disappoint and hurt others as well. A perfect example of this comes from the World Cup Cup championship game between France and Italy. Consider the demise of France’s star soccer player, Zinedine Zidane, known by many French as “God.” (To many of us in Wisconsin, this is outrageous and blasphemous – haven’t the French heard of Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers??) He was ejected from the game after he lost his temper and delivered a vicious headbutt to an Italian player, Marco Materazzi (the “Animal”), after Marco allegedly insulted Zinedine’s mother and sister. He was thrown from the game, leaving his team at a disadvantage. The game would later be decided by penalty kicks and he, the best penalty kicker on the team, was not there to help. Perhaps France would have lost anyway, but his departure for a ridiculous and shameful loss of self-control may have cost his team the World Cup.
There is a serious lesson in all this. How vital that we maintain self-control, that we not give in to anger when insulted by our adversaries. There are those who delight in baiting others and getting them to over-react and say or do something stupid. There are rarely any consequences for a carefully delivered insult, and almost always consequences for the person foolish enough to give in to anger.
Be prepared for those moments. And soccer players, take note. I hear the Italian team is now adding regular drills to practice their insults on the field.
Anger is an area of key concern to the Lord. It is interesting that some of the first words the Lord spoke to the Nephites when He came to the Americas dealt with controlling our anger and avoiding contention. Remember 3 Nephi 11:29-30:
29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things should be done away.