03 June, 2009

Choosing your battles

Someone once told me that every opinion and belief that I hold tends to be extreme.

And this was a revelation to me. I guess I have always been aware that I am animated, and that I can definitely debate a point for quite sometime. But hearing that, and then thinking about it, I realized that there was quite a degree of self-absorption in my attitudes. I like to tell people that I have "amazing powers of subjectivity".

The consequence of this has been that I have not been very good at choosing my battles, so to speak. Because, with my attitude, every battle has had the appearance of being one that I could not afford to lose. I would be tenacious, persuasive, argumentative, persistent, passive-aggressive, dismissive, patronizing. Whatever it took. Hell, whatever it takes, because I cannot truly claim to be cured of this disease.

For example, in the studio, during the mixing process, there had been one point regarding some aspect of the mix of a song that I had been arguing for, and I was overruled. And it's a good bet that I was moody about it. And our fearless leader made a very appropriate remark to me. He said "You've fought for a lot of things on this CD, and you've pretty much won on every one of them". Again, that realization that I don't necessarily choose battles well. But it helped. His comment helped because there was a compliment buried somewhere inside of that remark.

To reassure myself a little bit, I guess it would be fair to say that my powers of analysis are not bad. Dissecting things is one of my better skills. And that is probably part of the reason why I argue so emphatically; because I am sure that I am right, if only people would hear my side. Well, first of all, I am not always right. But I don't often realize that in the heat of the moment. Second, even if I were right every time, which I am not, it does not exactly amount to "playing well with others" to constantly employ the philosophy of ruling by logic alone. And often when I step back, I realize that my capacity for logic can result in an abuse where I try to assert logic as the justification behind matters that are actually personal and emotional.

I could go on and on about this.

But the bottom line is that I need to learn to choose my battles.

Someone once asked me "Would you rather be right, or be happy?" And for a time, I had always thought I'd rather be right. In recent years, I have been convincing myself that I would rather be happy. But I think that a part of me is still subconsciously trying to be right.

1 comment:

  1. You can be both (right and happy). You just have to find an approach that works both ways.