Discretion is the Better Part of Valor


When is the best time to back out or not do anything at all? Sounds strange but there are certain situations that do not require one to act on something. It is considered a chicken-hearted response, a non-courageous act to cope and deal with a problem. However, it is not all the time when what is right, proper and expected is the best solution in the reality. This is the focus of this blogpost.

Choosing one's battles: Courage versus caution

A human being is not designed to handle all types of situations at the same time. We have limited memory, capability, tolerance and resources to utilize when confronted with various sources of stress. If one pushes himself or herself to embrace all kinds of stress simultaneously, exhaustion is more likely to happen. No one wants to reach such phase when all energy seems to have been used. There is no more left for the next things to come. This is to say that stress in itself should be filtered and regulated by means of acting on a several problems when it is only necessary. If one only can endure three out of ten challenges, then allow one to do so. There is no glory in acting upon all ten when after one has no more left to act on the next ten. Being cautious is being courageous in itself when one sees the benefits in the long term.

Being discrete versus unnecessary exposure

There are things others should not know about ourselves. Life is not about disclosing everything that happens to ourselves, instead it is about respect for ourselves and secondarily for others. Respect must be mutual phenomenon. Of course, there are things that we do not disclose that affect others if they remain ignorant about it. That is not respect. There should be other greater reasons if this case is even allowed. However, information about ourselves are seldom affecting our confidants and significant others. No one is obliged to tell their even close friends about things that do not even matter to them. Sharing experiences with friends is part of an enriching social activity, but most of the time discretion and limiting flow of crucial personal information are manifestations of self-respect valued to have the highest priority of all.

Righteous, brave but not stupid: Ethics versus reality

What is ethical may not be a good option in reality. If what is right is simply destructive for a long time to one, the option is no better than not doing anything at all. Doing the opposite may even yield more benefits as the status quo is upheld in a manner that change is alllowed when the time provides more light and clarity to the problem at hand. White lies are actually good examples of these situations. Twisting facts may somehow influence another's decisions, but the responsibility to validate information is taken by everyone, not just the person telling white lies. Laziness in confirming facts and naiveness are equally ethically incorrect with dishonesty in a rational perspective.

Not doing something is also an option. Waiting for new information or developments are quite smart to do when the best available active option is entirely inconvenient, irrelevant, unclear or simply self-destructive. One should understand that in finding solutions, one should first show respect to oneself before others. What is beneficial for oneself should outweigh what is best for others. It may sound egoistic but one can not achieve happiness by being martyr for others without seeing the meaning and relevance of a chosen alternative or action. Live not for others, but for oneself, being secure enough self to help others thereafter.

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