Ever heard of the straw that broke the camel’s back? We tend to overestimate our understanding of the present state of the camels we deal with every day. A fellow I knew barricaded the door of his office before jumping out of the window and plummeting 22 stories to his death. He wrote in his suicide note that he had called seven people and told each one he needed to talk with them, and each one was too busy for him.

One of the kids that went on a deadly school shooting spree in the United States revealed in his letters that he was teased once too often.

And another man I knew suddenly directed a very well planned and successful hostile takeover of the company he worked for by initiating a proxy fight, which means that the bidder persuades enough shareholders to replace the management of the company with one which will approve the acquisition. He made sure that the entire management team was fired. Why? He was badly treated once too often by the managers, in his opinion.

Not all explosives are the same. We all know you have to be careful with dynamite. Best to handle it gently and not smoke while you’re around it. Semtex is different, though; you can drop it. You can throw it. You can put it in the fire. Nothing will happen. Nothing until you put the right detonator in it, that is.

A detonator is a device that is used to trigger an explosive device. Detonators can be chemically, mechanically, or electrically initiated. But when it comes to people, let’s talk about a simple hand grenade. After the pin has been removed, one only has to release the handle to initiate detonation. People can and will control their responses to disturbing stimuli up to a point, but then their emotional control systems detonate.

So when you verbally or physically or psychologically attack someone, put them down, gang up on them, belittle them, steal from them, hurt their loved ones, or any other way inflict pain on them, remember that you’re dealing with an explosive. What kind, you don’t know and cannot guess, and the same goes for what will detonate that explosion.

You don’t know which straw will break the camel’s back, push them over the edge. And the resulting, unexpected explosion can damage you in many ways – financially, physically – you will not know until it happens. Don’t poke the rattlesnake. Under those tranquil waters…

Robin Elliott LeverageAdvantage.com