“If I gave in to silly then, I’d be giving into silly forever.” ~Norman Lear on an early stand he took with the network to defend the language in All in the Family on its very first episode
You’ve got to pick your battles, and they aren’t always the big ones. You’ve got to pick the battles that matter in meaning. Meaning correlates with significance. Every time I face a battle I have to step back and look at how it plays in the larger landscape.
I ask a lot of questions to determine significance. If I do or don’t fight, am I setting a precedent? What is actually at stake, even if it’s not immediately apparent on the surface? Who am I fighting, and why? If I do or don’t fight, will I have to compromise my personal principles and ethics? Will the outcome have a longterm impact, and if so, what is that impact? Do I care enough to fight? Am I protecting someone else who needs my protection? And let’s be honest – we can only fight so many battles with the limited amount of time we have. So for every battle I do fight, it means I have to give up fighting for something else.
This is not an easy negotiation to make. The decisions are sometimes painful and I often have to be prepared for a variety of outcomes. As I get older, the process goes faster and my choices are always better informed by the choices that have come before. No matter what the outcome of my choices, I do take time to reflect on how they went and I get down the learning from each of them. Experience is always the reward. We are our choices.