Choose your battles wisely.
Just about everyone has a cause or causes they believe in. Not just something that you support passively, but actively give time and attention to.
These causes can be found at many levels of our lives. Some are deeply personal, some involve friends and family, some are global.
Examples include: supporting cancer research and autism awareness; equality and fairness in a hobby you play in; stopping climate change or supporting equal pay; and so on. We can each become super-passionate about these causes, and fight tooth and nail to impact them.
Passion in life is important. Living a life with passion means you have drive and ambition, and you clearly have deep feelings on whatever you are passionate about. This is a good thing, because it can give you something to focus on to build bigger and better for yourself and beyond.
Be mindful when picking your battles
Yet sometimes you have to pick and choose your battles. This can be the case for any number of reasons, but the following are some examples to take into account:
· You cannot control anyone else. We may seek to make changes, but we can’t force them on anyone.
· You can’t open a closed mind. If you are trying to get someone to shift perspective, and they are utterly set in their opinion, and unwilling to budge, you’ll get nowhere.
· You should not sacrifice yourself. Nobody wins if you sacrifice yourself to an idea.
· You might be wrong. Sorry, I know there are causes we all believe in. But we also all can hold opinions, and as such all have the potential to be wrong.
· You might need to yield the battle to win the war. This is not sacrifice because you are not putting yourself out to win. This is letting a single issue go for a greater one.
Some battles are best won by not being had in the first place.
This is why it’s important to be mindful of the battles you choose. Recognize that you might be in this for a long-haul, and that you might meet some very disheartening resistance. Go into fighting your cause with passion and intent, but also with open eyes.
The world is in a constant state of change. The battle plan of today might be best replaced with another tomorrow. Or maybe the objective shifts. Whatever the case, being mindful of the battles you choose is vastly important to your wellbeing.
Know your cause
I am in no way advocating AGAINST standing up for a cause you believe in. However, and this stance may come across as a bit controversial, it IS important to know your cause.
What does that mean? If your cause hurts someone, denies basic human rights, costs lives, or is otherwise negative, why are you supporting it? Would you want to be in the shoes of a person your cause is going to hurt? Know your cause, and the impact it could have.
Yes, sometimes you need to stand up in opposition of the status quo, but that opposition should be to increase options and rights for people to grow and flourish, not to diminish them. You need to really know if your cause is going to bring more good into the world, and help people, or slam doors shut and hurt people.
For example — denying people the right to vote due to the color of their skin or religious belief is not a cause that helps people. Standing up for election reform and working on more people getting a voice, on the other hand, will help a lot of people.
I would not argue this particular point further, because if you disagree with it strongly, I am unlikely to change your mind. Ergo, this is a battle I would not choose to begin.
Know the battlefield
It’s also important to be familiar with the battlefield. No battle happens in a void, so it’s a good idea to be aware of the terrain.
Where will you make your stand? Facebook, Twitter, other social media sites, blog post, e mail, phone call, all of the above? Will this be a conversation, discussion, or a lot of one-sided writing? There are any number of fields where you can have your battle and stand for your cause, and certainly there can be more than one.
Knowing where you will make your stand matters. If you choose the bully pulpit or invite open debate, the where will make a difference in approach, actions and reactions, and strategies and tactics.
For example, let’s say there is a law that is going to be passed that is awful. You can write a blog about it. Or, you can send an e mail. Of course, you can also enlist everyone you know to call your local representatives’ offices. There’s nothing to say you cannot do all of these and more. But the strategies of one battlefield will not work on another, and you may need to employ different tactics towards different groups.
If you feel particularly passionate about a particular cause, while you may want to shout it from the rooftops and get it as much exposure as possible, recognizing where best to make your stand will garner you better results.
Change the world for the better. To do so, choose your battles wisely.