Pick Your Battles
Think of some examples of when you have said or heard, “pick your battles,” or “choose your battles wisely.” Many times, the context is in parenting, relationships, or in business. What you may not realize is this can be some powerful advice!
When you have a word of correction, an opposing view, a rebuttal, or a desire to voice your disappointment, you have a choice to make in that moment--to battle or not to battle. Let's insert some wisdom into this moment, shall we?
More often than not, wisdom and emotions don't hang out together! Abraham Lincoln’s famous quote comes to mind: “Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” My grandmother advised me as a child to think before I spoke and that advice has been priceless.
Breathe. Make sure wisdom steers your words and not emotion.
Play It Out!
Allow yourself a few moments to play out in your head what responses you may receive, where the discussion may likely go, and what the end result may be. Will tempers flare? Could feelings get hurt? Does it really matter?
Taking this mental trip will often help you decide if it's worth picking up your communication sword and rushing in.
Win or Lose?
Think about what you are trying to get out of choosing a battle. Do you simply want to win? Do you want to type that fiery political opinion on a social media post just to stir things up? Is voicing your opinion a political or power move in an effort to prop yourself up in front of the right people?
Be honest with yourself and know where your motives lie. The common good should be your focus, not any selfish ambitions.
What is “Losing” Anyway?
Think about that question for a moment. If you don't voice your opinion, is that a loss? As your child ignores your caution or advice, is it disobedience or simply immaturity? Is it weakness if you don't join the debate?
Judge wisely and determine if your thoughts add value or just add fuel to a winless battle.
In so many scenarios, I've said, “When in doubt, wait it out!” That advice certainly fits when you find yourself in that moment where the temptation is to be quick to speak. Train yourself to pause, think it through, and then decide if your thoughts add value to the discussion.