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Look Before You Leap….Or Not

Look Before You Leap….Or Not

We tend to cite apothegms and aphorisms to support our points, even though they are often in direct opposition to each other:

Birds of a feather flock together…yet…Opposites attract

Great minds think alike…yet…Fools seldom differ

Look before you leap…yet…He who hesitates is lost

You get the idea. So how did all this paradoxical thinking come about? It’s because this oral tradition has really developed to encompass situational decision making by an individual. We justify following and supporting someone because that person reflects our own thinking, thus, “great minds.” Yet, when we oppose a group’s decision, we come up with an observation to dismiss their views (they’re fools).

It’s not so surprising. It’s about finding some existential justification in the ethos to make us comfortable with our decisions and justify them to others. Of course, that’s in place of actually proving our point empirically, focusing on fact not opinion, and working to influence and persuade others. It’s the difference between appealing to blind emotionalism and pragmatic, mutual self-interests.

The early bird catches the worm…yet…the early worm gets eaten.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

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