In our fast-paced world, people want immediate answers and instant gratification. We’ve forgotten how to be patient. We’ve become demanding. And we’ve become roped into believing we must satisfy people’s requests immediately. We must reply to our email immediately. We must have a solution to a problem immediately.
But we don’t have to do those things. We can learn to take time to think things through.
Have you ever written a letter or sent off an email you later regretted sending? Have you ever written a letter or email and then decided not to send it, only to find the next day your answer changed and you had a better answer?
Take time to think things through. Don’t let other people push you into doing something or making a decision about something until you are ready to do so. "I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you" is a perfectly acceptable answer. I recently wrote about being direct rather than using excuses. Don’t use "I have to think about it" or "I don’t know, but I’ll get back to you" as an excuse for being indirect when you already know the answer. But if you don’t know the answer, go ahead and take time to think about it.
Sometimes when we are invited to go somewhere, we hear our internal self shouting, "NO!" and we might immediately respond "No" to the person asking. But take a minute to think about it. Think about why your answer is "No."
Perhaps a friend asks you to go to a poetry reading with her. You both write poetry, but you never show your poetry to anyone. It’s an open mike reading where you’ll have the chance to read your poetry to an audience. "NO!" might be your first reaction, but why are you refusing? Because you’re afraid? It’s Monday and the reading isn’t until Thursday. Take time to think about it. On Tuesday, you might decide you’ll go just to support your friend. On Wednesday you might decide you’ll participate, but you’ll read a poem by another author. On Thursday, you decide if you can get up to the mike to read a poem, you might as well read one of your own. On Friday, you’re patting yourself on the back for the courage you showed and you were invited to come back next week because people loved your poem.
At other times, we might say "Yes" when it’s not a good idea. Again, take the time to think about it. If you don’t want to do something, but you feel obligated for some reason, you don’t have to say, "Yes." Tell the person you’re not sure what you’re doing on that date, but you will get back to him. Maybe you don’t have other plans, but you think about it and decide you don’t want to do what you were asked. It’s sufficient to say you have other plans and leave it at that. You have other plans with yourself to do something you’d rather do.
Sometimes we need a minute, a day, or a week to decide on something. Sometimes we need to figure out what we want to be true to ourselves. It’s okay to take time to think about it. You’ll make better decisions, and you’ll find life easier and more fulfilling.