2 min read

How to pick your battles

How to pick your battles

Not all battles are worth fighting. Some will only cause you damage.

“I will have to remember ‘I am here toady to cross the swamp, not to fight all the alligators.”

— The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander (haven't read the book. credit goes to Tim Ferris for sharing this quote)

Younger me would focus on being right and fight all the alligators. With experience and scares I learned a few lessons. Sharing below, hopefully they'll make you more effective and spare you a few unnecessary alligator fights...

Know what you're trying to accomplish and care about it more than your ego (outcome over ego). Than when something annoying happens ask yourself "What's the most effective way to address this?".
Is starting a fight the best options?

  1. Are you fighting because your ego is hurt OR because it'll move you closer to your goal? Be honest now.
  2. Is there a way to reach your desired outcome without a fight? Do you clearly know what you want are don't want?
  3. If you "win" will it be worth the price?
  4. At the end of the day when you go to bed, will you regret having this fight?
  5. Are you getting into to many fights or often? If so either you're in the wrong environment OR the issue is you. For me this was a VERY tough frog to swallow!
  6. Dilate time. Cool off. Try to postpone your reaction. You can start the fight later. You'll get mad, it's damn near impossible controlling this fact. But know yourself well enough not to make decisions in this state. This is probably top of the list in the category of: Easier said than done 🤦🏻‍♂️
  7. Get an opinion of someone you appreciate, make sure it's someone that will also tell you if you're wrong in this case.

Don't shy away of fights, they're often necessary to reach your goals, but be smart about it.

I'm still figuring this out, and would be happy to improve at it. How do you make sure you pick the right battles?

This quote reminded me of a great quote by Churchill:

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

Which I wrote about here


Continuously decide to avoid at least one fight this week.

Something not too important will happen and will bother you.
Instead of getting into a fight, decide to state your opinion, calmly. If it's not accepted move on to more important things.
Don't make it a fight.

Bonus points: DM me about it, what was the situation, how'd you do it?