Legal cartoons and humorous comment (c) Paul Brennan. All rights reserved.

I decided on 101 reasons as I didn’t want to depress the entire legal profession by having 1,001.
Paul Brennan, Lawyer, Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

# 51. They enjoy causing upset

How to fight your own battles
Other people upset you. One day you realize that the real problem is that some people will not surrender to your charm offensive and behave in the way that you think they should, even if it is for their own good.

You have tried standing up for yourself but win or lose you just don’t enjoy it as much as people toeing your line voluntarily.

The answer is to stand up for someone else. Fighting other people’s battles is far easier. For example, the risk of losing money is quite bearable when it is not your money, as is the risk of physical harm. In fact, you will find yourself being quite aggressive and even brave on their account.

Being released from their own commitments they may want to fight your battles. This is where your problem really begins as you do not want these potential champions, to mess it up. Therefore, fighting everybody’s battles is a mistake. You must pick and choose carefully, by assessing the fighting capabilities of potential champions which can be divided into three categories: physical, verbal or just not speaking to people and causing an atmosphere. It is best to have some champions in each category.

Next you will need to carefully analyse your opponents. Some opponents think that by making other people unhappy it makes them feel better, maybe it does. But, to get maximum enjoyment they must stick to their own area of expertise in order to reduce the risk of losing. For instance, the opponent who creates atmospheres is supreme in many work and family situations but is understandably afraid of a person who will beat them up for doing it. They will even avoid anyone who might shout at them. Whereas, you are a good loser, opponents are generally bad losers and therefore, must spend a lot of time working out who to pick on.

But, what happens if the person who you are fighting on someone else’s behalf makes it personal against you and you start to experience all the pain of fighting your own battles? In that case, you immediately hand it over. With the right champion you can even have them beaten up as an example to other opponents who want to step out of line. This works particularly well in the case of family members or work colleagues.

Once, you have a stable of champions you will be tempted to revisit old scores, the older you get the better the element of surprise. Resist it.

Extract from Suffering 101 © Paul Brennan

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