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news and things sacred and irreverent put together by opinionated people.

Want to Stay Out of Trouble? Sleep On It

Posted by tothewire on December 9, 2008

sleepisgoodHalf the world’s troubles could be averted if people would follow one rule: sleep on it.

The delay rarely causes the loss of unrecoverable chances. A quick walk through history suggests that.

With overnight reflection, perhaps the Trojans would have thought to look inside that huge wooden horse disguised as a peace offering rather than bringing it into their city. The horse was filled with enemy soldiers, leading to the downfall of Troy. Our policymakers today are advised to look for other “Trojan horses” in matters ranging from economic recovery to national security.

If King George III had slept on it, perhaps he’d have realized that the American colonists couldn’t continue to abide taxation without representation. Had he compromised, who knows—maybe today we’d all be speaking with British accents. It’s a good thing for us George was such a tyrant! But our current lawmakers would do well to learn from King George’s folly. They should refrain from burdening us with additional taxation when we need to use the dollars we earn to save, spend or invest—all of which will help the economy.

Occasionally, something just can’t wait. But how many times have relationships been fractured, careers been derailed, sales been lost, money been mismanaged, and wars been started because someone didn’t take the pulse of an impulse simply by sleeping on it?

Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon might have averted serious mistakes in the Vietnam War had they taken more time to sleep on the clear proof that the Viet Cong had to be decisively broken or decisively negotiated with because they were as determined to fight to the death as America’s revolutionaries had been from 1765 to 1781. The new Congress and Obama Administration should act realizing that today’s terrorists are at least as implacable as yesterday’s.

Unfortunately, negative emotions like annoyance, anger, arrogance and panic can lead to rash and wrongheaded judgments.

Whatever upsets you today is often put in better perspective tomorrow when you give your hot-bloodedness a chance to turn into cool-headedness with the calmer perspective of overnight rest and reconsideration.

It is possible to chew some things over to the point that they become mush. But that rarely happens overnight. Most times, the chewing kneads your concepts, shapes them better, smoothes out their rough edges and helps you come up with an improved plan that will convince others to swallow and digest what you propose.

How much more harm could another day—or string of days—have caused if it would have given Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his team enough extra time to come up with a consistent set of standards and rules for dealing with investment companies and banks caught in the credit crunch and plague of toxic assets?

The case for quick decisions is “he who hesitates is lost.” But the better case for sleeping on it is “he who hesitates for the purpose of thinking it through lasts.”

By Jon Kraushar
Communications Consultant

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.

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One Response to “Want to Stay Out of Trouble? Sleep On It”

  1. Nice writing. You are on my RSS reader now so I can read more from you down the road.

    Allen Taylor

    Like

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