Choosing Your Battles Wisely
“You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em. Know when to fold ‘em. Know when to walk away, and know when to run.” Kenny Rogers
How many times have you found yourself in an argument that you knew you had no business having?
We’ve all done it. Made a mountain out of a molehill and decided to take a stand for something, rather than letting it go. There is a time and a place for everything, but we should not be in a position where we are always choosing to argue to make a point.
When I talk to professional and college football teams about the subject, I use the analogy of football strategy. If it’s 4th down and 10 yards to go, what is the appropriate thing to do? Most people will agree to punt the ball. That is unless there are only seconds remaining in the half or game, and you are in field goal range. Then you would either attempt a field goal, or run a play to try to pick up six, depending on the score.
The point is that in order to make the decision on whether to punt or not is dependent on many factors. Sometimes coaches call a play just to set up other plays. Great coaches understand that it is important to call the right play at the right time.
This is how we should treat situations when there is an opportunity to argue. We need to assess a few things to help us determine what the right play should be. When we do this, we may come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is to punt and not confront.
Here are four questions to consider when choosing your battles:
What is the role of the person?
Who is the person you have an issue with? Is it your spouse or family member? Is it a co-worker or boss? Understanding who the person is helps you assess how important the relationship is and what your emphasis should be when confronting the issue. It’s important to consider…if you had to choose between the person or the issue, which would you choose?
How important is the issue?
Take a moment to think about how important the issue really is to you. Do you really care what shade of blue the bathroom is painted in, or why you weren’t invited to an event? Or is the issue connected to something else that is a deeper issue that you have with the person that you haven’t resolved yet?
Why is this upsetting you?
Fighting to hurt others or express your anger is not productive. It’s important to reflect on why the issue is bothering you. However, the purpose of the conflict should be to resolve the issue, not just to vent about how the conflict is making you feel.
When you focus on the outcome you desire, the battle turns into a more productive debate. This helps you achieve the goal you ought to have for each and every argument.
Is this a recurring issue?
Is this issue a part of a pattern with this person, or even a pattern with yourself? Many times, people find themselves dealing with similar situations with different people because of some unresolved issues within themselves. If you find that different people are treating you in a similar way that is upsetting you, take a moment to ask yourself what your role could be in creating this pattern in your relationships.
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