Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in. – Napoleon Bonaparte and Andrew Jackson
What does that mean?
Put another way, there’s a time to cut bait, and a time to fish. You can only prepare for so long. Beyond a certain point, it becomes pointless. It also implies that we shouldn’t rush in without some thought, either.
There is such a thing as too prepared, where you stop learning new things and begin to become complacent, or even sloppy. And, of course, things could happen which call you to action immediately.
Either way, there is a time for doing all the preparations, all the deliberations, and all the planning. Then there is the time to do things, the time to take action.
Usually there is a fairly clear indication that life has changed from one to the other. Sometimes we choose to ignore taking action, and remain where we are comfortable, in a risk-limited environment. But that’s not how life works.
Why is taking action important?
You took action to click to this site. You took action to read this far. What ever you do next is another action. You already know how to take action, right? That’s actually a fairly easy thing to do. But there are times when it becomes difficult.
Taking action usually is only difficult if you’ve managed to get comfortable in the thinking and deliberating stage. That leads to too much thinking and not enough action. And that just won’t get it done, now will it? Action, with a bit of thought and deliberation beforehand, will serve us well.
So we need to figure out how to motivate ourselves so that we can move, quickly and decisively, from the planning stage to the doing stage. And that’s taking action. The more we do it, the more comfortable it is for us to do. Taking that first step is the most important action we can take.
Where can I apply this in my life?
This quote, while uncertain in lineage, is pretty clear that there is an inverse relationship between planning and doing. In short, both need to find a happy medium. Too much or too little of either is not going to yield the best results, right?
So how often do you get stuck in the thinking, deliberating, and often debilitating stage of inaction? These places are where you might want to consider applying this quote to your life. What are the circumstances, and why are you reluctant to transition to the action stage?
For me, the most difficult time is when I have deliberated, practiced, thought, and considered a situation for a very long time. It has become a comfort zone, a place where I know exactly what is going on, and there are no surprises, and no fear. But what if I take action?
Taking action is where things get interesting. All that careful planning is often shattered by the first unexpected turn of events. Now what? You’re acting, and there is no time for another round of thinking or deliberation. What ever shall you do? Is that something you fear, even a little?
Life is like that. Learn to plan in broad strokes, and with plenty of room for the unexpected. Because stuff is going to happen. Unexpected stuff, or expected stuff, but in unexpected quantity. It happens. Learn to think on your feet, and make the best of the situation.
Both the men given credit for the quote were military men, leaders in large battles. They didn’t always have the opportunity to pull back and think and deliberate before taking the next action. However, we often have that luxury. We can often take the time to regroup and adjust the plan.
But once again, there comes a time to stop with the planning, the thinking, and the deliberations and take action. Action is what is going to get it done. Like I had mentioned in a recent post, action is the key. The best plan in the world, without action, is just a plan.
Well, it’s time to decide. Will you fish, or continue to cut bait? There are things to do, and they aren’t going to do themselves. What are you waiting for? 8)
- Leap Forth (pdinspire.wordpress.com)
- It’s Not Perfect, It’s Ok (casualminimalist.wordpress.com)
- Take what’s yours: USE your balls to achieve success (ryanpotter93.wordpress.com)
- The mind that is anxious about the future is miserable. (philosiblog.com)