When Inaction Trumps Action

when inaction trumps actionWe can be driven to want to do “something” or “anything” in a crisis just because there is a sense of need to do so when the fact is that it was our doing “something” or “anything” just for the sake of taking action that gummed things up to begin with.

Sometimes, inaction trumps action and this is especially true in situations where you insist on doing the same things while expecting different results instead of realizing that if you keep doing what you were doing, you are going to keep getting what you got.

And don’t believe for a second that inaction is the easy way out. For those unaccustomed to practicing patience, caution, or restraint, the act of “doing nothing” can be the most difficult thing to do.

When I was a teenager, I had a falling out with my girlfriend at the time and there was an opportunistic other lad who was more than glad to swoop in and take her out on a date that weekend. I was not happy about it at all. Being a young man full of young man spirit, I was not about to let that go unanswered.

While I was plotting my course of action, my stepfather stopped me and asked what I was doing, in which case I told him what was going on and what I was going to do about it. His reply was the wisest words that he had ever shared with me…

“There may be a bucket of shit in the corner and that bucket of shit might stink but if you go over and stir that bucket of shit up with a stick, it is going to stink even worse.” – J.S.

Translation… leave well enough alone and don’t go off half-cocked and only make matters worse. In effect, this was my first lesson that in certain cases, inaction trumps action, and it is best to adopt a “wait and see” attitude rather than to stir the pot.

You can’t paddle upstream, you can’t sail against the wind, and you cannot turn back time, sometimes you can only go with the flow of things the best you can and your best “action” is to sit back – relax and wait until it is the appropriate time to take a “next step.”

Remember this the next time that you are compelled to react in a situation rather than respond. Remember that in certain cases, the act of doing nothing is the most powerful option and that inaction trumps action lest you dig yourself into an even deeper hole.

Andy Wooten M.A. Counseling – Certified Life Coach – Aspen, Colorado

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Photo By Andy Wooten 11 August 2011

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