Are people more intense these days?

Just an observation, but are people more intense these days?

Look at our Federal government. Is it necessary that our political leaders in Washington dig in their heels along party lines, drag out the lawmaking process, publicly berate each other then create complicated tax laws? Who suffers…we all do!

Thanks to the recent fiscal cliff legislation signed into law so late on January 1st, our Redlands CPA firm along with all taxpayers in America had to wait until January 30 to e-file tax returns. I can’t imagine that this type of negotiation and complicated tax law is what they had in mind 100 years ago yesterday when the sixteenth amendment to the US Constitution authorizing the income tax was approved.

Speaking of suffering, I have been a Los Angeles Kings hockey fan since the mid 1970s. After never thinking it would really happen, the Kings won the 2012 Stanley Cup. Two weeks prior to that glorious day, I even offered a drawing for free 2012 tax return preparation for one of our clients. I never really thought I’d have to pay up. Congratuations to our long time client in Carlsbad for winning the drawing.

What does the Stanley Cup have to do with people’s intensity? The National Hockey League just settled a long, bitter player lockout. Both owners and players drew their lines in the sand early on. After several months of public bickering over a big pot of money, they came to an agreement a few weeks back and we now have a season. I wonder how many ticket takers, food vendors in the arenas, parking lot attendants and employees in surrounding businesses could not put food on their tables while billionaire owners fought with millionaire players. How ridiculous and sad is that.

Disagreements are human nature. What has changed recently is the intensity of those disagreements. In years past, gentlemen would even shake hands prior to a duel to the death. Why does not seeing eye to eye have to escalate to a point of creating damage to both sides and all that is around them?

One of my favorite quotes is from our third President Thomas Jefferson. “When angry, count to ten before you speak. If very angry, count to one hundred.” If you find yourself on one side of a personal or business issue, remember this quote before you act in a way you may regret later.

Please give some thought to doing what you can to stay out of court. The best way to do that is to be careful who you do business with and who you associate with. If you find yourself in a disagreement, put yourself in the other side’s shoes. Try to compromise. Consider the amount of energy, time and emotion required to do battle and decide if your future time can be better spent in other more positive and profitable ways.

Seek compromise early on in a disagreement and respect the opinion of the other side. Monitoring your own intensity can help make your life and the lives of those around you less taxing.