How Do You Fight?

I’ve had a chance recently to notice how much the way people fight defines who they are. It’s easy to be nice and pleasant when everything is going your way, but how you handle moments of stress usually says a lot about who you are as a person.


However, what you do when things get tough, how you handle someone when they step on your toes, when they cut you off in traffic or they purposefully try to hurt you, that’s the part that says everything about who you are. Talking a big talk, acting superior, those are all attributes of a weak mind, but having the ability to stay true to your beliefs, to stay calm under pressure, to not allow yourself to feel without getting overcome by feelings, that’s the true mastery.

I’ve had a couple of conversations in the past few months with people that always put on a good front as if they are in control of their lives that completely turned into different people once they weren’t able to control their outside situations. And let’s face it, we are never in control of our environment, the only thing we can control is how we interact with our environment.

Here are a few things I’ve noticed about these people:

  • Things turn personal really fast. Mentally strong have differences in opinions and they can have a calm and composed conversation about those differences even if they don’t agree with the other person. The mentally weak resort to personal attacks such as physical offenses or cuss words that have nothing to do with the situation at stake.
  • Everything is an attack. They mentally weak never attempt to understand the other side of the story or how things look from any other perspective than their own.
  • Drama and blame. It doesn’t even matter if someone actually is at fault, they will make the other person wrong by yelling and becoming aggressive. Sometimes it’s verbal aggression, other times it can actually get physical, but the aggression is there from the moment a perceived confrontation appears.
  • Bringing up the past. They will bring up every little detail from the past to use as ammunition, even if that detail was completely resolved and settled in the past.
  • Addressing vs. Confronting. They rarely address things as they happen and attempt to resolve them. Rather they wait for the opportune moment to dump it down on someone and complain about how much they’ve been putting up with and how hard it’s been for them
  • Having a resolution vs. Fighting for the sake of fighting. There is no doubt that conflict can yield grown, but mentally weak people are not looking to build growth out of a conflict, they are just looking to win an argument at whatever cost. This is the reason why they are willing to use personal attacks and violence to win it. Conflict is not a growth opportunity for them, but yet another opportunity to express their aggression.

If you’ve found yourself anywhere on this list, don’t be discouraged. All it takes is a great decision to be different next time and an even greater decision to stick with that original intention.

As the wonderful Seth Godin said in his post about how your worst moments are your best opportunity,

“You are presumed to be showing us your real self when you are on deadline, have a headache, are facing a customer service meltdown, haven’t had a good night’s sleep, are facing an ethical dilemma, are momentarily in power, are caught doing something when you thought no one else was looking, are irritable, have the opportunity to extract revenge, are losing a competition or are truly overwhelmed. 

What a great opportunity to tell the story you’d like us to hear about you.”

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