To delay can be a downside or an upside in our lives. We can all probably remember when we were presented with an opportunity but procrastinated with our decision to accept it, the wait was too long then the opportunity vanished. There are also those times when postponing the decision revealed that we avoided being enmeshed in a faulty deal had we accepted it.
Then there are the times when we are progressing with plenty of enthusiasm and energy only to face several obstacles blocking further advancement. This scenario can be beneficial in the long run because it forces us to search for alternate ways to enable our plans.
Yet there are those times we get carried away with an idea or plan that is hastily thrown together or is otherwise faulty. We forge ahead anyway and loose a large amount of money in a get rich quick scheme or some other trap. An extra day spent investigating the scheme more fully could have prevented the loss in the first place.
There is a “sweet spot” between these versions of delay. How do we find it? Will taking a closer look cause further delays that are harmful or helpful?
A major problem is that many of our most important choices have an expiration date. If we delay the decisions one way or the other, the opportunities are gone forever. If we have the wrong kinds of doubts, we will avoid making choices that involve change. In the meantime, another person, who does not wait, plucks the opportunity away and runs away with success.
What about that “chance of a lifetime” or limited availability offer that is pitched to us? Is it a mere marketing ploy to ensnare us or is it a legitimate opportunity to generously benefit us? We could consider the advice of the ancient Roman Senator/historian Cornelius Tacitus, “Truth is confirmed by inspection and delay; falsehood by haste and uncertainty.” How much and what kind of pressure are we under to follow through on the deal? What is procrastination and what is prudence?
What about our emotions? They are deeply involved in our decision-making processes. We can feel a wave of excitement and ride it to an unwise conclusion or it can give us the necessary momentum to follow through on an excellent plan. When it gets to this phase, we know it’s time for the decision. This is when we say “yes” or “no” for keeps. Then we find out if a hidden rocky shore lurks ahead or if there is a smooth, sandy beach. The only way to know for sure is to promptly, decisively ride the wave towards land.
The best case scenario involves hunches or a prompting from intuition. You see the opportunity for what it really is, and it seems all positive. You pause briefly, but do not delay. You take a leap of faith and go with it. In spite of some hard work and reasonable struggles, the opportunity yields generous rewards. In the end, you feel grateful that you followed your intuition.
The same goes for a scenario that does not feel quite right. You might feel a strong pull away from following through. Your hunch says you might get in over your head. Then, a little delay might reveal whether or not your hunch is right or wrong. Purposely delaying a decision in order to “sleep on it” until the next day might be the most wise thing to do. This allows the rational mind to confirm or settle conflicting emotions about the opportunity. Ideally, the delay should be brief.
Overall, the prudent practice of short delays should not devolve into procrastination. A delay works best when it is only a short pause taken in order to gather and solidify your thoughts.