Anger Can Help You Meet Your Goals is a useful Scientific American article about a topic that probably not a lot of people think about – the positive uses of anger.

The researchers who wrote the article, however, would have been better served getting out of the lab and into the world, where they would have learned the this idea was given a name by community organizers and has been used for decades – “cold anger.

I can’t begin to remember how many times in my nineteen-year organizing career that we talked with people in the community about turning their “hot” anger (unfocused, uncontrolled) into “cold” anger (harnessing its power, targeting causes), which often resulted in efforts mobilizing thousands of people to improve neighborhoods.

I’ve used similar terminology in the classroom with students who clearly have a lot of anger inside of them.  It’s a different situation, and I’m not a psychologist, so I’ve had mixed results.  But, sometimes, it’s worked very, very well.