pick your battlesSometimes it can feel like the world is purposely getting in your way. It’s like the red lights know you’re getting close and the flu is hunting you down. If reality had a face, you’d have half a mind to punch it.

Or at least give it a serious talking to.

Because you don’t condone violence.

But it would be well worth, you suppose, finding the person in charge, filing a formal complaint and seeing if there’s any way to affect a change in company policy.

Sadly, the greatest and most pressing issues we face in this world can’t be so easily dissolved. It’s impossible to identify a solitary fault in the system that, if repaired, would make it all better. Instead, the foundation itself is saturated with flaws and holes and corruption. To try to fix them all – or just to campaign for that right to try – would burn you out before you ever got anything done.

When you look at the number of problems faced by each government, each community, each individual, the situation is exactly the same. There is far too much to take on at once. They don’t know where to start. They don’t know what should take priority because the sheer volume is so overwhelming and no specific problem is clear any more.

Instead, they’re all tangled up together, blurred into one huge, dominating wall of mess threatening to flood your entire existence.

And it’s hard to break out of that mind set, that conviction that you are too small and too powerless to make any difference.

So try not to think of it all as one big untacklable obstruction. Remember that it’s lots of little ones that you are more than capable of dealing with.

Just not when you try to hurdle them all at once.

It’s not worth wasting your good effort on an issue that won’t be a great relief to be rid of. It’s not worth fighting a war you’ll never win.

Think about what it is actually worth your time and energy to stand up for. Think about the difference the change will make to your life – or someone else’s – or both. Think about what makes a fight worth fighting – to you. This has to be a completely personal decision and only you can choose when it’s right for you to act against or accept a given situation.

If you can teach yourself to remain calm when you’re only annoyed or disgruntled, you can reserve the bulk of your energy for the issues that really matter. If you can control the little frustrations, you can channel the true force of your passion into something that will really make a difference.

If you can learn to think clearly and logically about your own values and priorities, your definition of self and sense of purpose will become much clearer. If you can determine beforehand what is worth your fervour, you will never have to waste a second rising to bait you don’t want.

Don’t jump at everything that teases you, but know what you care enough about that you would suffer for it and fight only when a cause is worthy of you.

Kirstie Summers,

Daily Zen.