Act fast or think things through? Which is the best path?

Haste makes waste! He who hesitates is lost? These are two very popular sayings but they express two very different ideas and concepts about time. You well might ask which is true. Should I take my time, think things through, get a second opinion and then make a decision to act? Or is such carefulness a vice? In this day of rapid change, perhaps hesitating is to lose great opportunities. Should I act quickly and seize the moment? What do to? Act fast or think things over? Oh, why isn’t life simple? 

Alas, the world is full of information which contradicts itself. Perhaps, the contradictions arise from the simple fact that there is no ultimate truth. Sometimes it pays to act fast and sometime it pays to hesitate. On the other hand, perhaps it is the complexity of life that makes it so much more interesting. You have heard it said “All things in moderation.” This is good advice, however sometimes moderation can lack passion and commitment. To be too moderate, is to be very bland. It is to be in the middle. Non-assuming, vanilla and non-offensive.  It may be a foolish attempt to try to please everyone. 

There are times when you must take a stand on something. This means you might offend a few or even many people. Moderation is not always a panacea. In life, there will be times when you must rush and times when you cannot afford to rush. There may also be times when it pays to go down the middle road and there will be times when for your own integrity, you must take a stand. It was simple for Robert Frost since he had only two choices. He had a high road and a low road. Now we have many more roads to face. Today, most of us face multiple choices. The road now forks in ten or more directions.

Which path do you go down today? What kind of a day will this be for you? Will it be a day to be careful and deliberate or will it be a day for speed and uncertainty? Will you take a road of moderation or will you take a road of passion and commitment? How will you decide? At the end of this day, ask yourself if you found the right balance between haste and hesitancy and between passion and moderation.  Did you? What will tomorrow bring?

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. bgalbreath
    Jan 28, 2012 @ 19:15:47

    William Blake wrote that “The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.” However, it was part of a list of “Proverbs from Hell”, so it's hard to say if he was being serious or ironic. Everyone's life is a (different) mixture of caution and rashness. Looking back, I feel that I played it too safe in many ways, but we can never know what would have happened if we had done otherwise, and I'm happy to be where I am now.

    Most of my projects take a lot longer than I imagined they would. Right now I'm engaged in renovating a two unit rental property I own. Each month it stays vacant, I lose money, and no one gets the use of the housing. But, for some reason, doing the job the way I want and at the pace I want rules all other considerations. Every day I work on it, and usually in the morning I think I will get more done than I actually do by the end of the day. Instead of beating myself up about it, I have been trying lately to learn to not imagine I will get so much done. Another saying is that “A man's reach should exceed his grasp.” That may lead a person to do more than he otherwise would, but it is also a guarantee of perpetual dissatisfaction.

    There is a time to every purpose under the heavens, a time to be quickly decisive and a time to be slowly deliberate. Right now I'm reading Daniel Kahneman's book “Thinking Fast and Thinking Slow” in which he describes the different places for both in our lives, and the mental machinery that underlies them.



  2. John Persico
    Jan 31, 2012 @ 08:03:17

    I had read Kahneman's and Tversky's first book “Judgement under Uncertainty”, it is one of the great books of my life. I like the comment by the AA society about “give us the wisdom to know the difference.” If only, it was so obvious, life would be so much simpler. I am glad though that you are satisfied with where you are today Bruce. That is a the most important thing I think. Perhaps being nicer to yourself as you go forward is the key as you note.



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