“It is not their passions I shall appeal to – I ask only for their cool and impartial reason…” – William Wilberforce (1759-1833)
Choose the middle path : Be daring, but don’t be stupid
When we propose to do something, let’s ask how far it is daring, and how far it is stupid. This will take us to the middle path.
While ideals are our compass, our actions need to be guided by pragmatism. We must first choose to be daring enough to do the right thing. But this on its own will not be enough. We must do the right things, the right way – for the right reasons, in the right degree and at the right time. This is true whether in society, in business or in politics.
At work, young people learn that it is good to be daring, but never stupid. To propose new ideas is a bold move, and sometimes it is good to challenge old ways; but to do so without considering your seniors’ feelings and the existing culture, systems and processes, is unwise.
Successful businesses too are defined by the moderate balance between risks which are too high or too low. If we take risks which are too high, it is like gambling; but if we only want to take extremely safe, low risks, we might as well not be in business.
Businesspeople who are successful know how to take calculated risks. They know that they must act on what they can deliver based on the growing readiness of the market. They are aware that building a business is more of a marathon than a hundred meter sprint; carefully pacing themselves gets them further than short bursts of activity that leaves them finished before they reach the finish line.
The same goes with proposals affecting our society. Our vision cannot outpace our ability to take action. And we cannot force an idea into a situation which is not ready to accommodate it.
When we choose our leaders, let’s look for those who are daring, but not foolish. Wise leaders measure their actions. They do what needs to be done, in the right way and at the right time. Those who are daring but stupid, however, charge forward like rebels without a clue, trying to become heroes. Sadly, they end up fighting just to prove a point; and if these become our leaders, like the blind leading the blind they will inspire more daring but foolish actors and actions in our society.
To fight for principles is simple, but it is knowing it in practice which makes the real difference. True progress towards our goals takes time, careful discernment, lots of consideration and compromise. Some daring steps will be needed, but more so, we need to always act wisely. We need to know what to do, when and how to act, and when to stop and wait, for what is best for society.
At zubedy, our programs draw strength from shared values and traditions. We believe that at heart, all Malaysians want good things for themselves and for their brother and sister Malaysians, simply because our nation cannot prosper as a whole if some of us are left behind.
Let us add value,
Have a meaningful Christmas