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Pick Your Triumphs, Not Just Your Battles


The expression “pick your battles” is a solid bit of advice that I’ve often ignored, sometimes wasting my time by going after unworthy enemies that leave me winning a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.

But I’ve always felt that people should choose their triumphs, too!

In other words, don’t say yes to every opportunity that comes along (another message I’ve often ignored).

A friend recently told me, “Actors are known in the business for what they’ve turned down as well as what they’ve done” — and that’s a valid way to size them up.

Some actors have built brilliant careers based on knowing how to reject offers that simply aren’t worthy of them. The résumé of things they didn’t do is really impressive.

And even outside showbiz, learning to say no is one of the most useful skills you can develop, both professionally and personally.

If someone asks you to spend six hours being interviewed for an Internet radio show that’s conducted on Dixie cups tied by string and that’s never been clicked on by more than four people, then chances are it won’t be worth your time.

And if a friend begs you to drive them three hours to a cemetery so they can pose you with Judy Garland’s remains and send it out on a Christmas card, then there’s really nothing in it for you.

Especially if they won’t even chip in for gas.

Just say no.

In fact, say, “No way!”

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