There is this famous saying in Chinese about thinking and acting, 三思而后行, which means think thrice before action.
In Chinese, three is a synonym for many. So the advice is about thinking many times before acting. It does not mean for us to repeat the thinking many times; which surely will not help much except causing a delay.
But what are we to think differently?
A typical answer from the Chinese is "思危，思退，思变。“
That is to:
- Think about the danger. (Risk Analysis, Prevention, and Management)
- Think about withdrawal rather than advancing. An implication will be to do the inverse thinking.
- Think about change. The external situation may change causing us to change our minds too,
Some say to think about the advantages, and then the disadvantages and do a final review before taking action.
Some proposed that before we said anything, we should think about the following three questions:
- Should it be said at all? (What is encouraging, meaningful, rational, and beneficial?)
- Should it be said at this time? (When will be a better time?)
- Should it be said by me? (Who will be a better person than me to say it?)
Ancient Chinese Wisdom teaches us about 天时地利人和 which tells us about
- The right timing 天时
- The right place 地利
- The right relationships and harmony with people 人和.
Of course, if we think too many times, we will end up with analysis paralysis.
Hence, we may need the boldness or the guts to decide decisively what to do or not to do.
Hope it helps you in your thinking about just what you want to do.
Lim Liat (c) 26 Nov 2022