A paved Roman road in Pompeii, Italy.

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Taking the high road is one of those throw away lines that people sometimes use when in conflict with others, but it’s a phrase that’s very rarely explained.  

According to John C. Maxwell there are three roads that we can take in life:  

  1. The low road – where we treat people worse than they treat us
  2. The middle road – where we treat people the same as they treat us
  3. The high road – where we treat people better than they treat us

There aren’t many people who would admit to taking the low road, but I’m sure that many would admit to taking the middle road, treating people the same as they treat us.   

Whilst there is good reason for this, I would advocate always taking the high road.  

You see, taking the middle road suggests that we change our response according to how people treat us.  If someone treats us poorly, treat them poorly.  If someone treats us well, treat them well.  If most people do this , then we end up with a society where all we do is respond to life, rather than positively impact it.  

What if the person who treated us poorly was having a bad day?  We’ve just made it worse.   

To quote Gandhi, “An eye for and eye and whole world goes blind.”  

The true test of character and maturity is to always treat other better than they treat you.  Whilst that may seem like a strange way of thinking, you’ll be amazed by the positive impact this has.  

Instead of people taking advantage of your kind, generous response, people will treat you better.  

Instead of anticipating negative interactions with others, you begin to assume positive interactions and your expectations will be matched.  

Instead of having your values and behaviours impacted by others, you begin to influence the values and behaviours of those around you.  

Instead of keeping the company of cynics and bores, you’ll be surrounded by optimists and fire-lighters.  

Instead of focussing on the flaws in others and hiding your own, you’ll be looking for ways to forgive them and finding that others are similarly obliging.  

Instead of wrestling with pigs, you’ll be soaring with eagles.  

In the gospels, Jesus taught and role-modeled high road living on a daily basis.  That’s good enough for me.  

See you on the high road!  

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