Delay is preferable to error

curiosityIan King posted on his FaceBook page this morning this quote by Thomas Jefferson:

Delay is preferable to error.

Ian says it’s like being able to “press the ‘pause button.'” And that makes for a much “different life.”

His friend, Nancy Robinson, worried, in her comment to Ian, that delay might let her forget entirely.

But see, I read the quote differently. I thought it said “Delay is preferable to terror.”

That’s a whole different kettle of fish! Seemed a bit out of character for ole TJ. But hey, he lived in harrowing times.

So when I put these thoughts together, well, my mind goes a couple of ways.

If it’s terror

Sometimes the decisions I think I must make immediately really only seem that way because of some worry or anxiety I’ve got over the outcome.

A choice to delay an action removes, for me, a measure of anxiety and gives me space to consider options and possible out comes.

If it’s error

A choice to delay allows a situation to unfold a bit more and that may present different opportunities.

Now, sometimes, that delay could eliminate certain choices. But sometimes, too, fewer choices makes the decision easier.

How do I make the choice to delay?

I like to pay attention, as best I can, to the Morita notion “to do what must be done now.”

I can handle now.

  • Is the error inevitable?
  • Is it necessary to make the terrible decision now?
  • Will babies die if I do or don’t do this thing? (That would sure put a different kind of pressure on the terror.)

Must the decision be made NOW?
If not now, then the decision to delay is exactly the right one to make.

Read more about Shoma Morita here