[image by hugh, flickr artist](http://www.flickr.com/photos/urbancity/)
image by hugh, flickr artist

when i was team manager and assistant coach with the penn state ice lions, we had a saying that we used often:

“stay out of the @#$!!*“… i.e. — poop.

it was a simpler way of saying, when the game degenerates into a bunch of people trying to hurt each other — don’t get involved.

usually when people act out in aggression, it’s because they’re frustrated. they’re unhappy with the way things are going, and they usually act out in aggression because they haven’t the skills, abilities, or position of authority to change the situation to favor themselves. people will act out in aggression because it’s the only thing they can do.

and the only thing that you should do is stay out of it. if someone is trying to provoke you, how does it benefit you to get involved in a fight? you already have the upper hand, so why risk giving up your position of strength? it’s natural to want to defend yourself — to want to chirp back (trade words), reciprocateface-washes, and possibly throw somefists. you have to resist nature, however. that poise is what separates normal players from the great players. it’s the gulf between the good teams and the championship caliber teams.

the reason i share this pearl of wisdom is on my blog about what makes for good business is because of office politics. no matter where you work, or what the recruiter tells you (_cough_*lockheedmartin*_cough_), no office environment is ever a true meritocracy. there are politics that you have to navigate if you’re going to be successful. sometimes, that could mean taking your fair share of abuse: being assigned tasks that no one else wants to do, listening to a superior ranting about how awful your idea is without listening to what it is exactly that you want to say, watching a group of people edit and re-write your work to the point that it no longer has a piece of you in it, or even being put in a position to be set up as the scapegoat.

but it’s in those situations where you have to ask yourself if you want to be a good player, or if you want to be a championship player.

champions put their head down and skate hard on every shift. champions take the hit along the boards to get the puck out of the zone. champions will take a punch to the face after the referee blows the whistle…

but champions also score on the next powerplay, because hard work pays off in the end.

do the right thing. keep your head. and stay out of the @#$!!*