In the 1967 film, Cool Hand Luke, Warden is trying to impart empathy to the plight of Luke and his “failure” to understand his place in the prison. The movie is essentially about one man’s quest to remain true to who he is despite being in a rough prison. If you have never seen the film, do yourself a favor and rent it. You may swear off hard boiled eggs for awhile but you will be better off having experienced the film.

Luke endure beatings, time in the “box” and moving dirt, lots of dirt. Yet the Warden just can’t reach Luke. He is admired by the rest of the inmates for his strength and ability to maintain his identity until he is finally broken and conforms with the rest of the prison population. So the Warden won….or did he?

Luke eventually conformed to prison life after defying the guards, escaping and gaining the respect of the prison population. Yet, the Warden had to resort to extreme punishment to break Luke. The prison still had their martyr which gave them all a champion and an idol. The Warden may have won the fight but he lost the battle.

When we have conflict with coworkers, are we looking at the big picture? You probably don’t have the authority that a Warden has to control someone’s life so you need to look for compromise. Is it that big of a deal? Is there common ground? Could this other person have a point? I am not saying lay down and become a doormat, but sometimes the strongest person is the first one to refuse to fight. Sometimes it takes a step back and a different perspective rather than continuing to cram the same idea or position down someone’s throat.

Is it respect you are after, or fear and loathing? Refuse to budge and see other points of view and I guarantee that you will be loathed, kinda like a Warden.

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