Pick You Battles
If a battle cannot be won, do not fight it.
You have to pick your battles wisely. Not every conflict is worth turning
into a major battle. There are certain battles which simply cannot be won no
matter how much effort you put into them or what strategies you use. They
are simply losing causes and fighting such battles does little to help you
accomplish your ultimate objectives. The wise man will not let his pride get
in the way of obtaining his goals, and fighting a battle which cannot be won
is a prime example of allowing your pride to cloud your thinking.
What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.
It is important to keep in mind that retreating from an individual battle
does not mean that you are surrendering or declaring defeat in the war. A
battle is no more than that – one battle. To continue with the battlefield/war
analogy, a battle is simply one skirmish; your ultimate objective is to win the
war. Many a pawn has to be sacrificed in a chess match in order to capture
your opponent’s king, which is ultimately all that matters in the overall scheme
Always keep your ultimate objective in mind. Don’t let your pride or anger
interfere with your overall victory. I know that this is easier said than done at
times, but it is a very important part of the game, and one that takes some
self-discipline and practice to perfect. Have an overall plan for victory. Be
willing to sacrifice a battle here and there in order to win the war in the end,
and don’t expend energy fighting a battle which cannot be won at any cost.
Be rational and deliberate.
Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.
Many people feel the need to fight a losing battle just to prove to themselves or
others that they are committed to their cause. This is not someone who is
ultimately concerned with their final objective, but rather someone who is
concerned with impressing those around them. This kind of action has more to
do with pride than it does with strategy or common sense. Don’t get wrapped up
in what other people think about your actions. Stay focused on your ultimate
The secret of success is before attempting anything, be very clear about why you
are doing it.
Guan Yin Tzu
There is wisdom behind Sun Tzu’s teaching. Fighting a battle that cannot be won
is simply wasting your time, energy and resources. It is not the act of staying
busy that makes you successful; it is what you are busy doing that matters in the
end. Don’t do something merely for the sake of doing something. Have a purpose
and strategy behind everything that you do. Sometimes it is wiser to do nothing,
at least what looks like nothing to the outside world, than it is to do something
just because you think you need to be active.
The act of waiting for the ideal moment or simply patiently mulling over the
situation, is not the same thing as doing nothing. What may seem like doing
nothing to other people, may actually be good strategy on your part. Do not
act because of your concern about what other people may think; their thoughts
should not influence your actions. Take time to meditate on each situation and
you will know what you have to do.
You must carefully consider the merits of any action.
Don’t fight losing battles. Move with wisdom, not emotion. Let strategy guide
your actions, not pride or anger. Always focus on your ultimate goal. Pick your
battles wisely and strategically in order to accomplish your end goal. It is not
the battle that counts, but rather winning the war. Always think rationally. If
you will do this, you will not fight the battles that you cannot win; instead you
will carefully select your battles to accomplish your ultimate goal.
In whatever position you find yourself, determine first your objective.
Marshall Ferdinand Foch