Anger Management

…And breathe

Rhetorical question: what makes people angry? I think of it as when our emotions are left to run amok when an event occurs that is divergent from the one we were hoping for or expecting. The point being that it is not the event that makes us angry, it is our emotions that create the anger. 

The implication is that we should, therefore, be able to control our anger, so long as we can control our emotions.

Hmmm! If only it were that simple!

Life is usually a pretty soft cruise. Wake up from a warm bed, tasty breakfast, modern transport and a nice fulfilling job, pizza and a glass of wine in the evening. Most problems are ‘first world’, like why are iphone cables so short!

Being a cabinetmaker is one of life’s great careers. You get to challenge yourself mentally and physically, and there is precious little in the way of down time. What there is plenty of time for, however, is the myriad of things that can go a bit or a lot wrong. And drive you crazy!

Cabinetmaking can feel like a lifelong exercise in anger management. And for many the calm necessary to stay in control is a full time and ridiculously satisfying way of being.

A small list of the things that can make you angry:

  1. Your wood arrives late
  2. Wood arrives on time, but is the wrong length, colour, thickness, or even type of wood
  3. The wood has a crack, knot, split, shake in the wrong place
  4. Said crack doesn’t materialise until after you’ve planed it up
  5. Tear out
  6. A piston fit drawer that doesn’t fit like a piston
  7. A dropped component, saved by now painful toe
  8. Dropped tool, saved by now painful toe
  9. Dropped scalpel…don’t go there!
  10. A cut caused by the wood, a knife, a machine, by abrasive, by a plane, by a clamp, by a vice, by a slipped spanner, by, by air in the wrong place at the wrong time!

Happily (!) these are also the things that give you an opportunity to exercise your calm in adversity. They give you a chance to reflect on the ego-less environment you operate in, to chortle at how wood always wins in the end. 

Here is a chance to stand back and remind yourself that the life of a cabinetmaker is the life for you, in every circumstance, good, bad and ugly!

Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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