Tuesday, July 21, 2015

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the opposite direction." - E. F. Shumacher

It's really hard to not do anything. To not solve a problem for someone else. To not create a program to fix something.

But sometimes, not doing anything is the best thing.

For example, when a student needs to go through the discovery process on his or her own. Or when solving a problem for a group would ultimately be disabling, thwarting the building of their own constructive and creative capacity.

I can remember when I had significant responsibilities for a lot of people. A wise friend said, "don't ever respond immediately to any problem that is not life-threatening." He told me to wait 24 hours before calling people back, because doing so allowed them to figure things out on their own.

Not doing anything can look to others like a cop-out. But it can also reflect deeper thinking, which usually has a hard time competing with the enthusiasm, sense of purpose, and allocation of resources that come from taking action.

It takes some courage to defend not doing anything, but it's often the best decision.

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