Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 212

Once you've engaged in a #battle, you've already lost it. #QuoteADay #Day212 #edchat #edu #FindSolutionsNotBlame

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the war and battles happening in Ukraine and Israel/Gaza.  Everyone has an opinion, and yet, the only “real” fact seems to be that once a war starts, no side is ever right.

We’ve all been in a situation like this: You turn on your computer in the morning and there is a nasty email waiting for you (or a voicemail that is just a little too negative).  Often our first instinct is to send that responsive email back that “puts the person in their place.”  Or, we’re about to pick up the phone and give the person who left the voicemail a “piece of our mind.”

But. . . .

We have to win over our egos, and take a minute to stop and think before we place that call or click send.  Once we fire that salvo, we’ve already lost the battle.

No war, no matter how one-sided, is ever actually won.  Once we engage in a war, we are guaranteed to lose.  Nobody ever wins a battle.

I know what you’re saying.  “But Fred, how am I just supposed to sit and take it?  I’ve been personally attacked here!!”

And maybe you have.

But maybe you haven’t.

You see, people make poor decisions when they’re angry, and frustration with a situation (or with something totally out of anyone’s control) might lead to an attack that feels very personal.

Regardless of whether the attack is meant to be personal or not, there are two great steps you can take to make sure you don’t get lost in a battle you can’t win.

First, send a nasty email to yourself.  Write whatever you want to, but make yourself the recipient.  Or, send yourself a nasty voice mail.  Then, give yourself twenty-four hours and listen to or read it.  I’ve done this before, and it is fascinating.  Time allows us to see things more clearly, and it also helps us see how destructive (and embarrassing) engaging in these types of negative scenarios can be. 

Then, with twenty-four hours under your belt, and with new perspective on what you were initially going to say/write, reach out to the person and set up a face-to-face meeting.  Chances are, with twenty-four hours under their belt, some of the frustration will be diffused, and face-to-face meetings always tend to take a bit of the edge off.

Then, see where things go. 

The beauty of this process is that the only battle you’ve engaged in is with yourself, and by meeting to discuss rather than putting it in writing or a voicemail (where statements/tone can easily be misconstrued) you’re set more for a détente and less for a debacle.


  1. Safe advice, Fred. So many conflicts can be avoided by letting a little time pass. I also like to write out what I want to say in a private manner. My tool of choice is Day One, an iOS app, but sending yourself that email gives you a different perspective.

    Nice post!

    1. Thanks, Matt. Glad you found it helpful. Have not used Day One, but will check it out. Sending the email actually gives me a bit of a sense of what it would be like to receive what I write. Always eye opening. :)