“If you have anything to do, get on, get cracking, and do it. Procrastination and delay kill slowly, steadily, and surely. Invariably, there is no better time than now. The opportune time you are waiting for may never come. As you make the best of what you have in hand, also make the best of the time at your disposal. Do not be inflexible but do not be a weathercock either. Never you be afraid of making adjustments when it is absolutely necessary, but remain focused on the goal. Remember this saying, “Satan has a shop in hell where he sells instruments of destruction. But he keeps three for his personal use because they never fail to destroy. The three are doubt, delay, and disbelief.” Never succumb to any of these three satanic instruments of destruction. And never be demoralized to the point of loosing focus.” Excerpt from: Olusegun Obasanjo. My Watch.
Very well said in the excerpt above by a master who understands the Art of War. The passage above touches on a topic I have lamented over for some time. That is getting people to actually “do” stuff rather than just talking. People meet and plan frequently. Decisions are taken, and you expect that people will hit the ground running, but by the time of next meeting, you find that you are sitting with able bodied men and women discussing why things did not get done!
To those who consider themselves watchmen, or would be watchmen, either of their cities, nations or of the world, the watchman per excellence has admonished that when any ideas come, we must get cracking. Do you have work to do to contribute to the fight against COVID-19? Get cracking! Do you have something to do to contribute to humanity? Get cracking! Do you need to extend a helping hand? Get cracking! How do we know the watchmen? How should they be selected?
“… their provisions should be only such as are required by trained warriors, who are men of temperance and courage; …
…”Then there must be a selection. Let us note among the guardians those who in their whole life show the greatest eagerness to do what is for the good of their country, and the greatest repugnance to do what is against her interests.”
Excerpts From: Plato. “The Republic.” http://andeelishaphilosophy.com/on-leadership-part-2-and-half-with-socrates-and-aristotle/
“… Thus, though we have heard of stupid haste in war, cleverness has never been associated with long delays…”
Excerpt from The Art of War. Sun Tzu
Some delays and procrastination are caused by fear. Fear of failure, fear of the unknown, fear of change, fear of dangers that are inherent with change and being agents of change. Epictetus advises against fear. Hear him:
“So now if you should come and tell us: “Fearful is the state of affairs at Rome; terrible is death; terrible is exile; terrible is calumny; terrible is poverty; fly, my friends, the enemy is near,” we shall answer: “Begone, prophesy for yourself; we have committed only one fault, that we sent such a scout.”
Diogenes, who was sent as a scout before you, made a different report to us. He says that death is no evil, for neither is it base; he says that fame (reputation) is the noise of madmen. And what has this spy said about pain, about pleasure, and about poverty? He says that to be naked is better than any purple robe, and to sleep on the bare ground is the softest bed; and he gives as a proof of each thing that he affirms his own courage, his tranquility, his freedom, and the healthy appearance and compactness of his body. There is no enemy near, he says; all is peace. How so, Diogenes? “See,” he replies, “if I am struck, if I have been wounded, if I have fled from any man.” This is what a scout ought to be. But you come to us and tell us one thing after another. Will you not go back, and you will see clearer when you have laid aside fear?”
The discourses of Epictetus (Translated by George Long)
The Amateur Philosopher