Why picking your battles is important in today’s world

The only battles worth fighting are those that deserve your time and energy and resonate with your values and goals.

14 March, 2024
Why picking your battles is important in today’s world

Fights and conflicts, whether in your personal or professional life, are a part and parcel of life and, unfortunately, take up two very important resources—our time and our energy. You might feel the need to march into battle every time you’re angry, but, here’s the thing, not all fights need to be fought. Because we’re constantly bombarded with information, the ability to pick and choose battles becomes an essential tool, allowing individuals to navigate the complexities of life with ease. This doesn’t mean you’re running away from a problem, it just means that you know what you’re willing to invest in.

So how does one pick and choose their battles better?

Set healthy boundaries 

Every decision you make and every problem you solve takes up mental energy. Being wrapped up in conflicts can drain our mental resources, leading to emotional exhaustion and decision fatigue, which increases the chances of making poorer choices as your mind is exhausted. And so setting boundaries and picking your battles makes sense from both a resource allocation and emotional perspective.

Assess the situation and weigh your options

You need to figure out when to push forward and when to step back and focus your time and energy on things that matter. Instead, focus on what you can control and ask yourself if your opinions and inputs matter. Will you be acknowledged? What’s the change and impact that you’ll be making? Asking yourself these questions will not only help you conserve energy but also lead to better decision-making, productivity, and improved well-being.

Always assess conflicts carefully because not every conflict or disagreement requires (or even deserves) your full attention. Most of them are insignificant and temporary and usually get resolved over time. Ask yourself if what's bothering you now will matter in the future, if the answer is no, it’s better to focus on what's important at the moment. Moreover, when dealing with unreasonable people, contemplate whether investing your time and energy is really worthwhile. If it’s not significant enough, be the bigger person and walk away.

Think about the consequences 

Another important thing to do, before choosing whether to fight or not, is to consider the consequences. Will it solve the problem or make matters worse? What will winning the fight mean?

Waiting for the right time to tackle a problem can yield better results. Sometimes, letting go of short-term gain can result in long-term success. The ability to play the waiting game and differentiate between instant gratification and delayed rewards is an important lesson.

How do you ensure that you don’t get into a fight all the time?

Sometimes you’re choosing your battles because every conflict is a fight for you. So, what do you do? You're getting triggered because all of your opinions are driven by emotion, which makes everything a fighting matter for you. One way to avoid this is by only thinking about the facts and leaving out everything that is an opinion. This way, you're able to rationalise the situation and conserve your energy. The moment you do so, you stop being angry and realise that this isn’t a battle that would, in other instances, see you charge full steam ahead. 

Inputs by Mehezabin Dordi, clinical psychologist, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital, Mumbai, and Sherene Aftab, psychologist & founder Serene Hour Counselling and Career Advice Consultancy

Also read: Here's why you need to be emotionally intelligent at work

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