The Most Important Trip You May Ever Take
We're told that 19th Century German statesman Prince Otto von Bismarck once became so incensed at the criticism of a professor (he must have ruffled the prince's feathers), that he challenged him to a duel. Protocol had it that the one challenged was to have the choice of weapons.
The professor made his choice... sausages! He sent word to Bismarck, along with a pair of sausages, that one sausage was safe to eat. The other had been poisoned with trichinae, which would cause a slow and lingering death, or at least long invalidism. He informed the prince that he should choose which sausage to eat and said he would eat the other one.
Bismarck reasoned that a man might die with some sort of honor on a dueling field, but never by food poisoning. He sent the message back, "His highness has destroyed the sausages and asks that you be his guest at dinner this evening. After due consideration he feels he may have been slightly in error. He believes an agreement can be reached."
One of the most important trips a person ever takes is "to meet someone halfway." Bismarck met his adversary halfway and chose to bring something useful from his conflict.
When others ruffle our feathers, we always have a choice. We can meet them on the dueling field, where one will clearly win and the other will lose, or we can meet them halfway. Even armed only with words, we can seek to hurt or we can seek a solution.
The choice we make will make all the difference.