Recently while travelling in a group in Europe we rushed into a local sandwich shop to grab a bite. We had walked in at 9:50 pm and their closing time was 10 pm.

They had only 10 minutes to prepare 6 sandwiches.

One of the guys behind the counter got grumpy. And rude.

I was the one placing the order for sandwiches; he threw rude remarks three times at me in the first five minutes.

I did not react. I clarified my request when he was cheeky about me not being clear enough and we were out in 10 minutes with 6 sandwiches.

Some people in the group got upset at how he behaved and also the fact that I chose not to react.

“Why would you just play along?”, they asked.

“I had a couple of good reasons”, I explained.

“What might those reasons be?”

There was still quite a lot of charge in the group.

I explained my reasons:

  • Probably he was grumpy because he had a long day at work.
  • Maybe he was generally going through a hard time in his life and it was showing up in his behaviour. In either case, a little compassion would not hurt.
  • Why should I spoil my mood because someone else behaved rudely? Would I not be stupid to get affected and carry resentment because of their behaviour?
  • Last but not the least: My priority was to get us food in ten minutes so that we did not have to go food-hunting at 10 o’clock in the night.

It is important to fight your battles but it is equally important to choose which battles you fight. Every time we react to other people, we make someone else’s battles our’s.

We do not need to.

We have a choice.

Anyhow…An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind” -Mahatma Gandhi

So, what would you choose today:

Love or ego?

Judgement or compassion?

Being powerful by choosing your response or being a victim by reacting to what others do or not do?

Remember that the only thing we can control is our decisions. Let’s make the ones that work for us and not the other way round.


Tired of reacting to people, events and what life keeps doing to you? Need help in choosing battles that really matter?