Everyone should know how to fight fair and win. Some of you have been exposed to relationships where fighting is the norm, others exposed to relationships where fighting is foreign, and now find yourself making an extra special effort to avoid fights at all cost. However, no matter what you have been exposed to, you learn that fights are a part of life.
As you continue to evolve and grow, you discover what’s most important: how you enter the ring. Do you enter the fighting ring to draw blood, or do you enter the ring where both parties walk out as winners?
Can you think of a time when you had a disagreement with a co-worker, family member, friend, or acquaintance? As easy as it was to start a fight, how easy was it to fuel the ring of fire? For you, was it easier to fuel the ring of fire, easier to take control of the fight, or put the fire out?
While many of you probably answered it was easy to fuel the fire versus put it out, when you were fueling the fire, how did you feel after? Were there words you wish you could take back or tears shed? What about that outburst of anger that you thought you could control.
Although, taking control of your emotions, and responding to others, is never an easy task, it is most valuable to you to gain control of your emotions and to provide purpose, safety, structure, and predictability to the fighting ring. Do you have what it takes to be a champion fighter? Here are 5 simple ground rules for learning how to fight fair and win.
1. Watch Your Mouth
Do you remember Mom telling you to watch your mouth as a child? What did your mom know that you didn’t? That words speak life? “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the words of the wise brings healing" (a proverb). What you say and how you say it matters. Your words have an impact so think before you speak. Words can cause damage. The damage can be so profound that it forever severs a relationship. In a business setting, words could permanently impact your career in a negative way. And that's why it's so important to learn how to fight fair and win.
The words you speak have emotional potency with the power to influence others. Language holds the colossal power to motivate or discourage, build someone up or tear someone down. Take the time to care for words that come out of your mouth. Be responsible for being the voice of reason that defuses an argument. Put a smile on someone’s face, not the tears that trail down someone’s face when a harsh word is spoken.
“Perform every act in life as though it were your last.”- Marcus Aurelius
2. See the Truth
Sometimes you can find yourself telling lies. You can be the biggest liar in your own story of conflict. Have you majored in storytelling? Have you earned that degree in honor? Who wrote and produced the story you call life? You did. Can you remember an intense argument? At that moment, you need to be a listener and investigator. Remember, when you investigate the lie, in most cases, the lie will become your reality and that is all you can see.
Always, take a step back and ask yourself would a reasonable and rational person do that or say that? You are more introspective than you give yourself credit for. Tap into that place, of security for your decisions, conflicts, and solutions.
“Everything we hear is an option, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” -Marcus Aurelius
3. Stay Calm
Losing your cool is never the answer. Losing your cool only escalates an argument. The art of winning an argument is to refrain from losing your cool and beliefs. I am sure there has been a time or two when you find yourself asking, who came out in that argument, must have been my alter-ego…. Bon Qui Qui. When someone is yelling at you, you know you want to yell back, but have you ever lowered your voice in a fight or spoke to someone in a nice soothing voice and they mirror your voice and energy. Remember, energy fuels energy. Someone yells at you, naturally, you yell back. Have you ever tried the opposite, someone yells, and you address them in a friendly manner? Addressing someone kindly disarms the other person from making an argument out of it. It will also keep the person from going for a defensive stance, position or defensive use of language.
“Calmness is the cradle of power.” -Josiah Gilbert Holland
4. Argue to Resolve
Argue to resolve, not to fight. The key is to never leave an argument unresolved. Create opportunities for a win-win solution, where everyone within the disagreement is a winner. Win-win solutions are created in a variety of ways - through brainstorming and the mutual development of a pros vs cons list. Both need to be present and in agreement with the decisions of all parties. Don’t forget when you are finding your solution, admit to your piece of the disgruntled pie and forgive, forgive, forgive!
“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.”—Ambrose Bierce
5. You Are Right, so What
Just because you are right, doesn’t mean you should let everyone know, especially the one you are in the ring with. I am sure you have all heard, “you should spend more time listening, than talking.” Listening is a form of humility. Humble, a term that may not be in your vocabulary as much as you like, but is necessary if you truly want to win the fight. Winning the fight as we learned in Rule #4, means walking away with a resolution, not with battle wounds or a trophy that you won.
A question to ask yourself, would you rather be right or be happy? Many, fall into the trap of the need to be right, which sidetracks your life and hinders happiness. Having differing points of views, doesn’t make you right and the other person wrong, it should bring positive attention to the diversity of thought in the room. Before chasing the hyper-culture sound bite of being right, maybe ride the humility wave to happiness.
“Choose being kind over being right and you’ll be right every time.” -Richard Carlson
Fighting fair is not the most appealing road to take, but knowing the ground rules around fighting fair is a powerful thing. Fighting fair takes practice, but in the end, you learn the rules of a champion fighter. A champion fighter will bring you closer to getting what you want, living a more emotionally free life, and creating more meaningful relationships.