Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Win the battle, or win the war?

One of the biggest, the most important things that I have learned in life, is two part.

First, to try to eliminate ignorance when and where ever I can. You know, there is so much ignorance, misunderstood facts, misinformation and disinformation, that whenever one can, we really have a responsibility to speak up. Now, we have to be careful there because if we have that misunderstood / misinformation or disinformation (something the world learned from the old Soviet KGB days), well, we don't want to be spreading around the insanity, do we?

So I always try to be sure of my facts, to triangulate in a good journalistic (old) fashion attempt to be as correct as possible and to STOP talking when I get into grey areas. Better to say, "I don't really know about that" than to keep talking on what you THINK is true. At least say, I THINK this is true, but I'm really not sure. That too is dangerous, but at least you placed the caveat to emptor.

Second, I need to know when to drop the discussion and just let it go. One can, as they say, win the battle and lose the war. I want to win the war, as it were.

Sometimes, it is so easy to get caught up in winning the battle, or making your point, or pushing it to where the other person has to nearly (perhaps only in their minds) kowtow to you, that you lose them in the end.

About that, I don't think I really count. It is true that the chest beater will get the attention and move up in the world, I've seen it many times. People who call attention to themselves, sometimes when I was even the one to point things out and they got the profit. The thing about that is, you have to know that you are making a difference. Many times people have come back to me to say, "Hey, you said that first" or "He got that from you." Which feels pretty good. And later, they have a deeper appreciation for my sensibilities and I reaped a later benefit that was more hidden.

Still that being said, I have learned that putting your head down and working hard, can easily get you nothing. Certainly not as much as the chest thumpers. So you have to let people know, you are intelligent, especially if you are wise, that you are knowledgeable and have a good sense of self and purpose. When you do that, I've seen many times, that those in power, deferred to me, who was quiet in the back of the room at times, over that of the noise in the front, much to their disdain as I had "stolen their thunder". But I didn't, did I? I think it is good if you come across as smart, and classy, rather than otherwise.

Anyway, it is really too easy to get caught up in winning that battle. And you really don't want to lose them in the end. It is many times better to simply make your point, and move on. Frequently with people I have known, if I did that, they would later come to say they see things in that way, or claim it as their own discovery, disclaiming my responsibility in their change in attitude or understanding.

But really, what is more important? That they now see things more clearly, more correctly? Or that I get due credit for making the world a better place?

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