Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Winning Battles can Lose the War
  • Losing Battles can Win the War

How many times either in life or at work do we feel the need to always “get-our-way”, even though it may not be that important in the larger scheme of what we want/need to achieve? The driver behind this is our Ego; which likes to control us, and does not appear to have a clear appreciation for unintended consequences. I have had friends and colleagues over the years say that they did not care what the consequences were, as fairness, righteousness and such like were clearly on their side. Unfortunately, not everyone shared this black and white view of life, and as a result these friends and colleagues suffered consequences such as: lost friendships, upset colleagues at work which made it more difficult to operate optimally thereafter, and of course being passed over for progression and promotions at work i.e. this mindset of winning every battle is ultimately counterproductive and the guaranteed outcome is that the larger “war”, whether in one’s personal life or at work, will be lost.

A much more adept approach is to clearly understand what ‘war” one wants to win: making your friends feel good about themselves and about you, making colleagues at work feel that they have valid ideas also even when they may not be exactly what you may propose, and making decision makers at work understand that you can be flexible particularly when constraints exists which may not fit exactly with your sensitivities i.e. losing some battles which may be important to your Ego but not to anyone else can be an productive strategy in winning the “war”

The key lesson here in life and work is to understand the larger picture and get clarity on the “war” that you want to win. Then accept that to achieve success losing some battles along the way is OK and in fact is a good strategy i.e. finding a reasonable balance on this particular paradox conundrum leads to success without leaving “dead bodies in your aftermath”.

  • Choose Your Battles Wisely

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