Thursday, February 01, 2007

Digging and Pushing

I wish there was a rule that would make this easier. A very wise man, Jake Rens, once told an inmate (who was talking a very small issue into a very big one), "Son, when a smart man figures out he's in a hole, he stops digging." Good advice. It's something we hammer in DTs and Officer Survival and Use of Force: If what you are doing isn't working, do something else.

This goes for life and relationships and careers and everything- if what you are doing is not working, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

But.... but... but.... Don't give up. Never, ever, ever give up.

Both these things are true. Both these things are contradictory.

When you are making things worse, you need to stop. But sometimes things get worse just before it's over- sometimes a threat who is exhausted and ready to give up gives it one more burst of speed and power before meekly letting himself be cuffed.

And yet the person who reliably gets hurt is the rookie who got really good at ONE wrist lock at the Academy and tunnel visions on the one technique when he is getting himself slammed. He needs to do something else...

"That's my story and I'm stickin' to it..." people have successfully brazened out things by sticking to a story (no matter how improbable) and other people, who could have have saved friendships and careers by simply admitting... burned all their bridges.

Maybe that's a piece of it. Always stick with the truth... except what is the 'truth' is often opinion. New facts are allowed to influence opinion, but 'truth' is above influence. Many people call things truth far too early.

So, when do you push on in the face of adversity and loss and when do you change your tactics? When is change really just quitting?

I really wish there was an easy rule of thumb.

2 comments:

Mac said...

I think it's because our rational and emotional brains are so poorly connected. In an emotional state, there is little chance at rational decision-making, and in the rational state, one discounts deep but subtle feelings. It's why drug abuse is so difficult to escape - it not only makes you feel better, but keeps you in an emotional state.

The Moody Minstrel said...

This goes for life and relationships and careers and everything- if what you are doing is not working, DO SOMETHING ELSE.

Why is it that so many people in the teaching profession seem particularly unable to grasp this so very obvious bit of logic?