Choosing Sides

by Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar portrait



One of my favorite stories concerns a young lad who was confronted by three bullies with violence in mind. Quickly the little guy drew a line on the ground, stepped back several feet, looked the biggest bully in the eye and said, “Now, you just step over that line.” Confidently, the big bully stepped over the line, preparing to commit mayhem on the little guy. Quickly the little fellow grinned and said, “Now we’re both on the same side.”


Physically, they were both on the same side. But emotionally they were still some little distance apart. The smaller boy improved his chances of getting on the same side emotionally by his touch of wit and wisdom. This is an excellent combination to diffuse most crisis situations and represents a major step in solving whatever problems exist.



There are several lessons parents, managers and educators can learn from this little vignette. First, whether it is a parent/child, management/labor or teacher/student situation, both really are on the same side and the best way for either side to win is for both sides to win.



Second, a sense of humor can be very helpful in removing communications barriers by revealing your human side and establishing rapport.



Third, sometimes it’s necessary for the big bully (the person in authority) to move to the other side of the table (across the line). This lets associates, children or employees clearly understand that they really are on the same side and open to listening to ideas from both sides of that line.



The fourth message is that it is always important to maintain our perspective by being open and fair-minded as we look at life from the other person’s perspective. Think about it and I’ll SEE YOU AT THE TOP!



A talented author and speaker, Zig Ziglar has an appeal that transcends barriers of age, culture and occupation. Since 1970, he has traveled over five million miles across the world delivering powerful life improvement messages, cultivating the energy of change.



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