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Pressure to Act August 25, 2012

Posted by Jason in Management.
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I just finished the book Skyward by Admiral Richard Byrd.  Byrd was the first person to fly over the North Pole and the South Pole, in 1926 and 1929, respectively.

The book has several themes around aviation, exploration, and the future of commercial travel.  But it also has a theme that the author couldn’t have envisioned: it maps the pace of life at that time, which is all the more significant given our modern technology for communication and planning.

In Byrd’s day, radio communication and telegrams were common, but long distance telephone calls were a special event.  By far, letters and newspapers were the primary means of communicating to the masses and between individuals.  How did major undertakings like polar expeditions get off the ground?

Byrd admits directly that the plans were laid years before in his own mind, mapped, studied, and validated with others familiar with the risks.  It was his own careful planning and even invention of special navigation instruments that allowed the trips to occur at the time they did.

Contrast this with the expectation of speed that comes with instant messages, texts, emails, and video chats.  Have we lost our awareness of the need for “deep thinking” and contemplation that builds memories and connections?  Have we forgotten that weighty decisions and risky undertakings should at least be contemplated over a good night’s sleep?

The pressure to act is strong.  We are often quick to take on a challenge or a task without contemplation of risks or workloads.  But it is this contemplation that allows for both creative solutions and daring explorations.

Don’t forget to sleep on it.

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