Working vs. Fighting

Most things are far better “worked for” than “fought for”

Working for the Outcome

We work to achieve outcomes on the job or in business. We also work in relationships, in volunteer efforts, and in other environments. This is a tried and true method for getting things done when sustained effort is required. It is not often dramatic but it is virtuous. It also can involve collaboration and teamwork. We hear and see a lot of speech that implies quick fixes. It is worth reminding ourselves that “less talk and more work” is a good priority for our behavior. Also it is also good to reserve our attention and praise for quiet, steady progress rather than the noisy, sometimes flashy and ostentatious proclamations that cheap and lightening-fast communication enables.

Fighting for the Outcome

So often we hear that “I’m fighting for this” or “we will continue to fight” or “You’ve got to fight”. Our speech seems to glorify fighting. It may sound glamorous but it’s often just an unconscious reach for dopamine. It subtly suggests the need to overcome opposition and/or adversity. The truth about many situations is that they simply require sustained hard work and delayed gratification. This is not usually a combination that produces excitement or anticipation. We’ve conditioned ourselves to imagine that when we hear someone is going to “fight” for something we imagine something more productive than “working” for something.

“Win-Lose” vs. “Win-Win”

Something else subtle and unhelpful happens when we use the phrase “fight for” instead of “work for” or “work toward”. We imply that we are in a “win-lose” situation, where someone else must “lose” if we are to “win”. We should avoid a “win-lose” mindset (which is often followed by “win-lose” approach) because the opportunity for partial success and/or compromise is reduced. There are a few situations where there can (and should), only be one winner. They are much more rare than our current popular mood might suggest.

Most things are far better “worked for” than “fought for”

Jeff Linroth – Longmont


  1. Bones says:

    “Fight the good fight” as my grandfather used to say.

0 Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *