Sunday, May 31, 2009

Confucius said: Twice is Enough

Today's life lesson comes to us from Confucius, via Shaun Rein at Link here.

Here is the relevant text from the Analects: "Chi Wan thought three times before taking action. When the Master was informed of it, he said: 'Twice will do.'"

As Rein interprets it, Confucius was saying that we should think before we act but that we should not overthink. In Rein's words: "Think hard before doing something, but then take decisive steps. Wait too long and your advantage in the market disappears."

Once you've decided, be decisive. Act as though your decision means something. Act as though you are willing to allow your word to dictate action.

Another implication of Confucius's statement is: you cannot cure impulsive behavior by thinking too much.

And just because Hamlet thought too much, that does not mean you should not think too little. You cannot cure excessive rumination by not thinking at all.

An executive needs to think through a problem to measure the potential risks and rewards of different actions.

If he does not think enough he will be reckless. If he fails to think through the consequences of his actions he will surely be caught off guard.

But, if he thinks too much he will miss his opportunity. The market waits for no one.

1 comment:

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