There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him to hammer a nail in the back fence every time he lost his temper. The first day the boy drove thirty-seven nails into the fence, and then it gradually dwindled down.
He discovered that it was easier to control his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally, the day came when the boy did not lose his temper at all. He told his father about it, and his father suggested that he now pull out one nail for each day that he controlled his temper. The days passed, and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that the nails were all gone.
The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, those words leave a scar, just as these nails have. You can put a knife in a man and draw it out, but no matter how many times you said “I’m sorry,” the wound would still be there. A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.”
People are watching how you react to adversity. A successful person is one who can adapt in adversity. In the military they take the men who go through basic training and are the most easily adaptable to harsh conditions and make them elite soldiers, such as the Navy Seals. The most successful people are those who react to adversity in the proper way.
Don’t dwell on the negative things in life. Focus on the positive. If you react in the wrong way, there are consequences. People are watching your life. If you allow your temper to get out of control, people will see. If you are sad and depressed all the time, people notice that, and it will leave a mark on their lives. The little boy who pounded the nails in the fence pulled them out, but they still left marks. You can go back and tell people, “I’m sorry that I lost my temper,” and they can forgive you, but it will leave a mark. Some people will hold you for the things you do. Thank God, you can get right with God, and He does forget, but your reactions still leave marks on people’s lives.