Controversy is a kind of currency in the journalism business; it increases engagement by provoking passions in people and gets them sharing posts and pounding their keyboards in response. Speaking from personal experience, when commenters use all caps, it totally changes my mind around to their point of view.
In all seriousness though, I don’t actually write my columns to deliberately provoke controversy, although it is fun. As I said in a recent column, this isn’t therapy, where I write to merely purge my emotional brain and troll for likes on the old social-media circuit. Although I am a passionate guy, I learned a long time ago that there isn’t much point in getting enraged about things outside of my control. Believe it or not, we only have a limited supply of mental energy, and I’m not going to waste mine on things that will only inevitably come to pass, and will really have only a marginal effect on my day-to-day life. It’s a kind of maturity I started to discover when first preparing for selection.
You need to sort out the important from the unimportant, or as Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield put, focus on “what can kill me next” (Hadfield, 2014). What I generally like to do is to sort things into circles. This is adapted from Stephen R. Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”