Does it sound funny?

Well it is not – it is a Gandhian concept (for the more ignorant people, I mean Mahatma Gandhi, no relationship to Feroze Gandhy who changed his spelling to Gandhi).

Mahatma Gandhi too would have had many small problems – stomach ache, headache, injuries – but he choose to concentrate on the Indian freedom movement. We also do it all the time – our headache vanishes when we have some important task at hand. Or when we have a bigger problem – like an injury!

Similarly we have to choose our races. We have to choose with whom we will run a race. If I am an industrialist and run a net-worth race, it is nice to run a race with Mr. Mukesh Ambani and Mr. Ratan Tata. Losing in that race is not as disgraceful as running the race with a couple of small unknown industrialists!

Similarly we have to choose our battles. Yesterday one kid in our office was sweating the small thing so much, I was amused. I am clearly of the school of thought that there are only two important rules in worrying:

1. Do not sweat about small things and 2. When you consider your whole life, relationships, etc. everything is a small thing!

“Choose your battles wisely” is important in living a happy and contented life. It suggests that life is filled with opportunities to choose between making a big deal out of something or simply letting it go, realizing it doesn’t really matter. If you choose your battles wisely, you’ll be far more effective in winning those that are truly important.

Certainly there will be times when you will want or need to argue, confront, or even fight for something you believe in. Many people, however, argue, confront, and fight over practically anything, turning their lives into a series of battles over relatively small issues. There is so much frustration in living this type of life that you lose track of what is truly relevant. For example I tell boys and girls as long as your parents let you choose the partner do not fight about where the wedding should be held, who should be the priest – believe me, these are insignificant.

The tiniest disagreement or glitch in your plans can be made into a big deal if your goal (conscious or unconscious) is to have everything work out in your favor. When a husband and wife are setting their goals, they can argue over such small things, it pains me. Do not get into so much of detailing. Similarly when partners are planning their retirement, they start from where to invest, how to invest….the major story has to be first put in place.

The truth is, life is rarely (if at all)  exactly the way we want it to be, and other people often don’t act as we would like them to. There is no guarantee of rational behavior by others. In fact there is no rational investor – except in text books. Moment to moment, there are aspects of life that we like and others that we don’t. There are always going to be people who disagree with you, people who do things differently, and things that don’t work out. If you fight against this principle of life, you’ll spend most of your life fighting battles.

A more peaceful way to live is to decide consciously which battles are worth fighting and which are better left alone.

Making this choice is perhaps very difficult, and hence not too many of us are clear about the races we run, the problems we choose to tackle or the battles we decide to fight.

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  1. Hello Sir
    Thanks a lot for writing such a beautiful article. Very practical and makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
    Will look forward to more of such articles, alongwith the financial ones.

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