An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory. – Ralph Waldo Emerson / Friedrich Engels

An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

As a species conditioned to get everything perfect, humans often fall easy victims to the rather dubious art of procrastination. We do everything in our power – from making silly excuses to simply putting too much thought into everything – to get everything right, so much so that we often disregard the most important aspect of problem solving – action.

Now, do not get us wrong. We are definitely not advocating a rash approach. Things do need to be planned beforehand, and provisions must be made for every contingency. That said, this should not come at the cost of delaying action to a point of no return. After all, what use is a well-planned action after you have worn yourself out planning it?

It is better to make mistakes after due preparation than spending a lifetime working out every minor detail. Mistakes will at least leave you with a clear blueprint for corrective action. On the other hand, endless preparation is not very likely to take you anywhere.

Another downside of over-planning is that it takes the fun away from the action itself. You must have noticed that the more meticulously you plan something, the less enjoyable it gets when you actually do it. It could be something as complex as a much-anticipated project at work, or something as simple as a long-awaited summer trip with friends.

The correct approach is to have a clear schedule for both planning and action. It is no use making sublime plans if you are left with little or no time to put them into action, hence the need for having ample time for their implementation. Ralph Waldo Emerson was a well-known American philosopher and lecturer. His following quote is quite relevant to the matter in hand: “An ounce of action is worth a ton of theory.” It is noteworthy that the quote is also often attributed to Friedrich Engels or even the Orlando Sentinel.