My children love Treebeard from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He’s an ancient tree who walks and talks. When he rescues two hobbits, an interesting relationship develops.

Treebeard is super old. He has an ancient perspective. His long view of time makes him deliberately slow down. He speaks slowly, makes decisions slowly, and regularly teaches the hobbits: “Don’t be hasty.”

This philosophy is well and good until the hobbits realize that time is slipping away–something must be done in order to save their friends from certain doom.

In our lives, getting the balance correct between “Don’t be hasty” and “Seize the Day” is tricky. Endless deliberation without action is costly. Yet, hasty decisions that don’t count the cost may be catastrophic.

A few thoughts to consider:

  1. Sleep on it. Most decisions don’t need to be made immediately. Learn to discern the difference between false urgency and real urgency.
  2. Make your deliberation deliberate. The difference between healthy deliberation and procrastination is process. Healthy deliberation puts the decision on a timeline, names options, and lists consequences. If you’re not actively working on the decision, you’re procrastinating. Procrastination is a type of hiding. Fear of the consequences shuts down the creative process, and we distract ourselves to avoid the work.
  3. Seek counsel. This one is difficult. We hesitate to ask for help. Advisors may disagree. The situation may get even more confusing before the fog begins to lift–yet, it is the wise thing to do. Choosing qualified resource persons is critical–I recommend getting a referral if you don’t know whom to trust.
  4. Act. It can be so easy to do all the work, have the decision made, and then do nothing. Remember, It’s never going to be perfect, you’re never going to be able to see the future, there’s always going to be risk. If you’ve done the work, and it’s time to act, do it.