Choosing Your Battles And Winning Your Wars



battles

Just yesterday I had an interesting event that happened to me. I was grocery shopping with my wife and a new friend in NTUC, and I was pushing my grocery cart and minding my own business looking for fruits and vegetables for next week. As I came to a rather people-congested lane, I went slower with my trolley to be careful, but a person tried to overtake me and as he stepped to overtake, he miscalculated the speed of the trolley and the distance, and the tip of his toes got run over by the trolley.

I know that toes being run over by trolleys are rather painful, so even though it wasn't a deliberate action on my part to run over his toes but a result of his wanting to overtake the trolley despite the cramp space, I am sorry that he felt pain so I quickly apologized by saying "sorry, sorry" to him twice.

So I went on my merry way and continued my shopping when he came up to me, glaring and angry. He said:

"You know you went over my toes just now right? You know it's painful right?"

To which I looked at him and said "I've mentioned sorry to you twice already."

And he raised his voice to me and said

"Then you shouldn't have moved your trolley there right!"

I got pissed. Seriously. Pissed angry.

And so I said: "Okay."

Then he seemed to get even angrier and said loudly:

"You shouldn't move your trolley so fast, YOU UNDERSTAND? If anything happens to me, I'll come look for you, YOU UNDERSTAND?"

I just looked at him, raised my eyebrows and said "Okay."

He looked shocked at my response, and he abruptly turned and walked away.

You know, I was seriously angry with him.

To the point I was calculating how many hits I can throw at him to jar his brain and disable him permanently. I know my strengths, and I know his kind is one of those that I can easily overpower, overcome and disable. I know.

Yet, I decided to raise my eyebrows and say "okay" to startle him and stop the issue in its tracks.

For at least 30 minutes, I was still seething, I know. I could feel my blood racing, my senses had heightened and I was getting ready to beat the shit out of him if he comes back to confront me again. I know that I did the right thing, but still I could feel my blood boiling and my fury building.

Later that night, as I quietened my physical body, mind and emotions, I realized that I did the right thing. He was trying to provoke me to an argument, and a possible fight. Though it could be possible that he could be martial arts trained and that I wouldn't see myself having much of a difficulty causing him much pain and life-long disability, my mind had quickly calculated and agreed that such a violent approach, though very emotionally gratifying in the short run, would not help me in my goals for my mid-term to long-term future.

It'd probably slow down my plan to achieve my goals, place a blot in my business, finances and personal life, not to mention that it might cause danger to my wife and new friend who was nearby.Looking back, it's likely to be the best case scenario and outcome for that unnecessary confrontation. Unnecessary as it may seem, it served a purpose of showing how much I've grown. Come to think of it, it's like a practical experience where I had shared with people that:

"We shouldn't live purely based on emotions."

Emotions are good, but they're not who we are. They are a feedback mechanism. I am not my anger. I am not my thoughts. I know that I am angry, and that I need to become even more shrew and calculative with my responses to get the best kind of results despite my anger. I use my emotions to propel me forward, not to throw a wrench into my life. I consciously choose my thoughts, feelings and ponder over them, rather than to just react to them like many who "feel and react" immediately. If I had adopted that kind of approach to life, I will assure you that I will probably spend much time behind bars with the amount of people I'd like to beat. =p That said, even in such circumstances, there is much to learn.

I learn a little more about myself. About my expectation. About my reactions and responses.I choose actions that propel me forward, and reject those that hold me back. That's how I conclude how I would live my life. Of course, it's not perfect yet, given the fact that there are things that still bother me (hmm, or is this part and parcel of life?)

What about you?

I'll recommend that you consider to adopt the view that you are not your feelings, nor are you your thoughts. Thoughts and feelings are feedback mechanisms which can be useful, and sometimes not very useful. Consider contemplating about ideas and thoughts and feelings, and choose the best path of action that propels you forward in life, be it in your relationship, finance, business or career. This applies to any aspect of life - it's an attitude that you choose to adopt.

You can increase your awareness of your thoughts, your emotions and your actions, and ponder over them, and make decisions that have a little more thought and that propels you forward, ignoring whatever your body screams to you to do, such as screaming/shouting/threatening/kicking etc.

Choose your battles wisely. Win your wars.

Where to next?

  1. Back to NigelChua Home Page

  2. Contact me by email at (even just to say hi) nigel@nigelchua.com

  3. See the latest articles and updates at the blog

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