Thursday, January 22, 2009

Never Act Solely Out of Passion

From the pen of Balthasar Gracian comes another gem:

“Never act in a passion... If you do, all is lost. You cannot act for yourself if you are not yourself, and passion always drives out reason. In such cases inter-pose a prudent go-between who can only be prudent if he keeps cool. That is why lookers-on see most of the game, because they keep cool. As soon as you notice that you are losing your temper beat a wise retreat. For no sooner is the blood up than it is spilt, and in a few moments occasion may be given for many days’ repentance for oneself and complaints of the other party.”

The easiest thing any of us can do is lose our cool. It happens without a moment’s thought, and suddenly we’re children again, and as the above quote alludes, we’re certainly not our rational, reasonable, responsible, realistic or logical selves.

We’d be loath to accept this behaviour from our children so why would we go on accepting it from ourselves?

It reminds me of such an important thought brought to birth through Thomas Jefferson: “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain cool and unruffled under all circumstances.”

We know nothing of benefit when we strike without a good plan--we’re bound to fail and hence have serious cause for regret. How disdainful!

We are in a sense our own agents, and if not, we’re agents for someone else or something else. We have a firm responsibility then to ensure we act for the benefit of who we act for, and not against it or them--most of all ourselves, whom we have primary accountability for.

We can take twenty years to build that reputation, and then have it destroyed in a moment’s recklessness.

Caution has love about it.

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

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