Pick Your Battles

Pick Your Battles

In 2005, more than 135 million children were born; a little under 10 million children under the age of 5 died.

As a medical professional who has devoted his career to caring for kids, my heart aches at these statistics.

No child should die.

That’s my dream. It’s also a gargantuan challenge to meet.There are battles to fight – against infections like measles, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and malaria, against birth asphyxia and neonatal tetanus, and against birth defects.

I have to pick my battles – so that I can win, not merely fight.

We all face similar choices every day.

  • Which issues to address?
  • What actions to take?
  • How to make a difference?

Injustice and unfairness is innately oppressive and disgusting to every normal human being. We want to believe in a world where justice prevails, where the good are rewarded and the evil punished.

And that is why violations of these ‘rules of natural justice’ make us angry.

Yet anger alone is useless. Even if it spurs you on to taking action, unless the action is focused and directed in the right way, you may not achieve the desired result.

A chisel is more effective at cutting through mortar or rock because all its energy and force is concentrated along a thin, sharp edge. It isn’t spread out over a large area, and therefore can break through tough barriers.

Be a chisel.

Pick your battles.

Make a meaningful difference.

It’s a hard choice – because it means you’ll have to ignore some unpleasant things, turn a blind eye to some forms of injustice, pay only passing attention to some unfairness in the world – and live with that burden of guilt.

Just make sure you don’t use that as an excuse to ignore everything.

Pick your battles.

Don’t run away from the battlefield!

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1 Comment
  • May 5,2009 at 12:50 pm

    Doc, I have taken the cue – from:

    No child should die.

    I have to pick my battles – so that I can win, not merely fight.

    – – – – -pay only passing attention to some unfairness in the world – and live with that burden of guilt.

    Just make sure you don’t use that as an excuse to ignore everything.

    Pick your battles. Don’t run away from the battlefield!

    ————————————————–
    As I see it,

    Life itself is the war.

    Purpose & the Passions so consumed is the chisel.

    When do we pick up the chisel – congruently, how do we recognize the battle?

    A beautiful extract to share:

    “” It is striking, for instance, how many different professions and disciplines have a word to describe the particular gift of reading deeply into the narrowest silvers of experience. In basketball, the player who can take in and comprehend all that is happening around him or her is said to have “court sense.” In the military, brilliant generals are said to possess “ coup d’oeil” – which, translated from the French, means “power of the glance”: the ability to immediately see and make sense of the battlefield. Napoleon had coup d’oeil. So did Patton. The ornithologist David Sibley says that in Cape May, New Jersey, he once spotted a bird in flight from two hundred yards and knew, instantly, that it was a ruff, a rare sandpiper. He had never seen a ruff in flight before, nor was the moment long enough for him to make a careful identification. But he was able to capture what bird watchers call the bird’s “giss” – its essence – and that was enough.””
    Blink – “Malcolm Gladwell”
    Chapter 1.6 – The power of the Glance

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