We’re all human and when we feel slighted, attacked or threatened in some way, our instinct is to respond in some way (yell, argue, fight, hold our ground or, in other words, ENGAGE). In some (rare) cases, it’s important to engage, but in most cases, it’s a COMPLETE WASTE OF ENERGY and something the Smarter Sooner person would avoid. Why avoid these types of thing? Because nothing good comes from these exchanges, other than unhealthy stress, negativity, embarrassment and more. I most recently saw an episode of this happening in a WalMart…
A customer became enraged due to somebody apparently cutting in front of her in line to pay. She angrily engaged with the person who ‘cut’ the line and even included the WalMart cashier, reprimanding her for not controlling the situation. The dialogue escalated quickly with the upset customer cursing loudly (in front of her children and other bystanders), the cashier challenging the customer, the manager being called and the entire scene becoming overblown. Dozens of other customers quietly observed, somewhat entertained and shocked as this angry woman decided to continue ‘engaging’ to prove she was right. The angry customer would not stop and continued ‘huffing and puffing’ for more than 5 minutes. And why did she choose to engage? She simply felt slighted that somebody either intentionally (or not) cut in line making here wait an extra 5-minutes to buy her groceries. Because this person engaged, she elevated her stress level and those around her, offended a bunch of people, embarrassed herself, made herself look stupid and dragged multiple people into this unnecessarily. And what did she gain from this? NOTHING! ZERO!
In the above scenario, the WalMart customer was the fool. She felt it was important to flex her muscles and engage about something so silly. By simply keeping her mouth shut, she would have been finished shopping sooner in a stress free manner without creating a scene. This person unfortunately is not evolved and doesn’t have the mindfulness to stay calm. Staying calm and avoiding engagement is soothing and so easy. It just takes one extra moment to take a breath and move on without event.
We are all going to feel slighted or moderately offended from time to time. Most of the time, it’s due to other people being unaware and not intentionally trying to affect others. And even if somebody intentionally tries to provoke you, ignore it. Be smarter than the instigator. Almost every time you ‘engage’ (or retaliate in some way), you’ll regret you did. It’s an unhealthy waste of time that creates stress in your life for no reason.
The next time somebody cuts you off in traffic (a common event that provokes us all), take a deep breath and don’t let your heart rate increase by one beat. If you do this, you’re the winner of that exchange. The Smarter Sooner person stays calm, rarely engages and thereby wins.
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[…] with some of the thinking in a previous blog called Don’t Engage (https://smartersooner.com/2016/06/03/dont-engage/), this blog suggests a very important strategy when dealing with conflict among friends, family and […]