People who stay or work together for extended periods cannot avoid some friction and even levels of fighting from time to time.
Yes, there will be times of harmony, peace and coexistence, as is only to be expected.
Yet the converse is also inevitable. There will be conflict, disagreement and even negative and sometimes confrontational engagement.
Such is the nature of society, throughout history, everywhere.
We fight for good reasons and for bad reasons, too. We fight for the greater good of everyone and even for petty and selfish reasons.
Whatever the drivers, we all fight at one time or the other. Since you will fight at one time or the other, the big question is, “How do you fight?”
I have had more than my fair share of fights with different opponents, in my tour of duty and in life generally.
They have taught me many lessons. You could be a fair and sober fighter. You focus on the goal for the fight. You are willing to cede space, time. You make concessions without comprising the greater reason for the fight.
Alternatively, you could be an egoistic fighter. You are out to hurt, and humiliate others. You are the kind that must win at all costs, even if the greater cause is lost.
You enjoy pyrrhic victories, which is to a victory that inflicts a devastating toll.
You therefore win the battle but lose the war.
In all this, it is good to remember that fights do not last forever. People will outlive fights. Some relationships also outlive fights, too.
When entering into a fight, therefore, know why you are getting into it. You should clearly know what the ultimate goal is and what good the fight will do everybody.
A good fight is fought with a minimum of emotional outpouring and low venom. It is common to hear people swearing how they are going to make a fight nasty. This may include bringing in unnecessary issues. We all have testimonies of such incidents.
When you examine some lost fights critically, you will see that they were lost even before they began. The reason is simple — they were ego driven. They did not focus on greater issues or goals.
If you must fight, do not allow yourself to be drawn into it simply because of your ego. If you fight because of your ego, you risk becoming a warlord.
This is particularly if you occupy a senior position. You even risk fighting for petty causes such as honorifics and precedence. How do people address you?
Where do you sit? Who was introduced first? Who shook hands with whom before shaking with the other? Did someone acknowledge what you said or not? You will become a bundle of nerves.
If you must fight, remember that you will take some body blows. Indeed, you may not always win. Yet victory is elusive.
It sometimes arrives when you least expect it, dressed up in least expected guises. It may take you time to realise that you actually won. This is because you did not clearly define what you were fighting for.
You did not, therefore, even realise when the moment to stop fighting came. This is dangerous, for you could end up carrying the fight to the wrong opponents.
You must know who the opponent is and why. Don’t go around suspecting everybody to be in the enemy camp and drawing them into your fights with others.
Remember, too, that some of the opponents today might be your allies tomorrow.
Today’s fight is not, therefore, necessarily the last fight. Go for your opponent with some level of decorum.
It does not do you much good to win today’s fight and lose future allies because of the ugly manner in which you fought a previous fight.
Fights are part of the greater game that is our lives. We live in times when even fighting has rules. People are watching you and making judgement on the fairness of your methods.
Are you hitting below the belt? Are you abusing your position? Remember audience sympathy is always with the underdog. How will you be judged?
Do it with decorum. You never know whom you will need tomorrow.
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