Pick Your Battles

In 2005, more than 135 million children were born; a little under 10 million children under the age of 5 died.

As a medical professional who has devoted his career to caring for kids, my heart aches at these statistics.

No child should die.

That’s my dream. It’s also a gargantuan challenge to meet.There are battles to fight – against infections like measles, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and malaria, against birth asphyxia and neonatal tetanus, and against birth defects.

I have to pick my battles – so that I can win, not merely fight.

We all face similar choices every day.

  • Which issues to address?
  • What actions to take?
  • How to make a difference?

Injustice and unfairness is innately oppressive and disgusting to every normal human being. We want to believe in a world where justice prevails, where the good are rewarded and the evil punished.

And that is why violations of these ‘rules of natural justice’ make us angry.

Yet anger alone is useless. Even if it spurs you on to taking action, unless the action is focused and directed in the right way, you may not achieve the desired result.

A chisel is more effective at cutting through mortar or rock because all its energy and force is concentrated along a thin, sharp edge. It isn’t spread out over a large area, and therefore can break through tough barriers.

Be a chisel.

Pick your battles.

Make a meaningful difference.

It’s a hard choice – because it means you’ll have to ignore some unpleasant things, turn a blind eye to some forms of injustice, pay only passing attention to some unfairness in the world – and live with that burden of guilt.

Just make sure you don’t use that as an excuse to ignore everything.

Pick your battles.

Don’t run away from the battlefield!

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