One of the sad truths about living in a social media prolific world is everything becomes a “now culture.” Immediacy is the preferred action over acting on the best solution. Having said this, I do recognize what General George Patton said about “a good plan today will beat a perfect plan tomorrow.” But, the word “plan” is involved in both sides of the equation.
Reacting is not a plan, unless you have to act quickly given the urgency of the matter. Even then, your subconscious set of experiences will kick in and help you decide. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Blink,” he identifies your subconscious tells you things all the time. He likens it to your collective experience and observation skills and habits.
In his book, he notes an art expert knowing a painting is a forgery at first sight, but not knowing why until further investigation. Or, a firefighter knowing something is amiss about a fire as it is burning funny asking his team to back out quickly. These decisions were based on years of experience, but were subconsciously made.
On any given issue, especially ones where politicians and their public relation spin doctors are involved, quick action is rewarded, while taking your time to get it right is seized upon as complacency. Sadly, the spin doctors will encourage quick action that can be apologized for later. Yet, this happens in real life all the time. A spouse may think the other is having an affair when that is not the case. Yet, the spouse may act rashly and harm the situation.
Yet, like the subconscious giving us information, we also need a baseline set of ethics and morality doing the same. We need to take the time to get things right, but when we need to move a little more quickly, we should try to focus on solving a problem rather than winning some zero-sum game making sure the other side loses. This is done all the time in politics and we need to move away from it. There is one clear loser in a game of zero-sum politics – the citizens. We are the ones who lose when hasty decisions are made or are made to win some fictitious battle.
So, what does this meandering post tell us. Take the time to get it right. Use the facts to help you decide. Don’t devalue what your subconscious is saying, but try to validate those instinctive urgings. And, don’t try to force-fit your research to meet your initial reaction. A person who is not skilled in an area will have a different gut instinct from those who are.
Your subconscious is based on knowledge and experiences; it cannot be made more accurate just because it exists. It has to have some basis for the subconscious advice it is giving for the circumstances at hand. The gut instinct of an experienced firefighter has a more sound basis than that of a trainee, for example. In the example above, the fire was burning on the floor below, so if the firefighters had not backed out, they would have fallen through the floor to their deaths.