Sunday, September 16, 2012


It is time for someone to say a good word for procrastination.

Our world is full of deadlines, late fees, demands for instant gratification. Computers trade millions of stock shares through high-speed programs every minute all over the world. Twenty-four hour news channels, blogs, and tweets constantly bombard us with information. Fifty-nine percent of Americans, including many professionals, are paid on an hourly basis, and so many feel like they can't afford to take a day off or to have a vacation. A quarter of Americans dine at fast food restaurants every day. Wasting time is considered a social sin.

But is it wise to be so obsessed with speed? Isn't there something to be said for wasting time, dithering, savoring, waiting? Don't we make better decisions when we think about it rather than making snap judgments? Isn't creativity dependent on the brain having enough slack time for bursts of insight to be generated?

What if Sam Houston had succumbed to the pressure on him to engage Santa Anna prematurely? Flavius Maximus, the Roman General, earned the nickname "the Delayer" because he chose to bide his time when Hannibal's army invaded. And he was victorious because of it.

Obviously it makes no sense to delay tackling issues that will grow worse if ignored, but most things can wait awhile.

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