The origin of this phrase is open to some conjecture. But the veracity of the proverb is unquestioned. In other words: “A person who spends too much time deliberating about what to do loses the chance to act altogether.”
Related famous sayings:
“A stitch in time saves nine.”
“Postponement is the father of failure.”
“One of these days” is often “None of these days.”
But on the other hand, I must remind you of the balancing proverbs: “Look before you leap!” and “Haste makes waste!”
Here are my “Top Ten” examples of the painful consequences of Hesitation:
10. Look at all the athletes in precision type competitions who have seen their years of dedicated discipline and practice go down the tubes due to some paralyzing point of hesitation.
9. Financial transactions provide a wealth of painful examples: that hot stock tip that you decided to research for a couple of weeks, that home purchase that you and your wife decided to sleep on; that failure to anticipate the meteoric rise in interest rates …
8. Some guys agonize over asking out that special gal … only to discover that someone else has moved with alacrity and swept her off her feet. (Not a problem for those of us who remain committed to the sovereignty of God )
7. One of the keys to being a successful entrepreneur is the drive to take action on your vision. Hesitation has killed many a potential business venture.
Some attribute similar sentiments to Yogi Berra: “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Yogi is giving directions on how to get to his home. He lived at one end of a large circular road. No matter what direction you took the fork, it led to Yogi’s house.
From a management point of view, it simply means that a clear decision is better than no decision. So when you come to a place where you need to make a decision, don’t hesitate. He who hesitates is lost. Is that a Yogi comment?
6. I bet when squirrels get together on their major holidays, they all have sad stories to tell of family members that became road kill because of some fatal error of hesitation.
5. Sometimes hesitation is not an option … ask anyone who has ever been chased by a bear.
4. One of the major reasons that it is appropriate for the elderly to be denied their driving license at some point is the fact that their reaction time has slowed to the point of imminent danger for themselves and others.
3. How many times at the supermarket or department store have you stood in line to pay for your purchase and questioned whether the line next to you would actually be the faster choice? While you are debating the wisdom of making the switch, all of a sudden two other shoppers fill in the gap and the opportunity is lost.
2. How many people wish they had listened to the warning signs of their body and submitted to a physical before their condition deteriorated? Sometimes it is better to err on the side of caution.
1. But hesitation in the physical realm pales in comparison to hesitation in the spiritual. “Today is the day of salvation.” (2 Corinthians 6:2; cf. Hebrews chapter 3) It would be the height of presumption to put off getting right with God since our life is but a vapor and tomorrow may never come… No Joke.