There is a saying that “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
But over time and a level of professional maturity, I’ve learned that rather than act, there are times when the more prudent thing is too hold your tongue and your will to take immediate action.
In the Revolutionary War, they said, “Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”
Back then, the strategy was employed to conserve ammunition, and today, similarly, it is way to preserve relationships and manage conflicts.
Indeed, sometimes, it’s harder to do nothing than to do something–when we are charged up in the moment, it takes a strong leader to keep their head–and hold back the troops and the potential ensuing fire–and instead focus on keeping the peace and finding a genuine resolution to tough and perhaps persistent problems.
An important exception is when ethics and social justice is involved then everyone must find their inner voice and speak up for what is right–that is not the time for a wait and see approach.
The lesson for me is that while it can be challenging to at times hold your fire, and at other times to find your inner voice and speak out–this is where sound judgment and willpower come into play.
In this light, I said to my daughter that “It is sometimes hard just to be yourself.” To which she replied wisely, “yeah, and it’s a full-time job too.” 😉
She’s right–we have to be ourselves and follow our conscience all the time–whether it means taking the shot or holding our fire.
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Oh Candy)