What do you think is the most difficult thing in life? Personally, I think it is making a decision to surge ahead or stay back; to “go for it” or to wait. Yes, the toughest decision is whether or not risk it all, or risk nothing at all.
Of course, as a society, we reward those who make the choice to surge ahead and then go on to win. But we tend to butcher those who do the same and then go on to lose.
“They were careless,” we often say. And sometimes they were.
Yet the toughest part has nothing to do with having the guts to go forward. It is in having the patience to wait. Nothing is more difficult than having to wait. And waiting is often tough because of one word that has, with time, taken on a very negative connotation. That one word is “postponement.”
Postponement is one of the least respected words in the English language and rarely do you see the world use it in a positive way. Yet often, postponement is exactly what, in hindsight, is most appropriate.
Of course, there are plenty of situations where you might think postponement is the best action to take. Yet rarely do you put things off, simply because society hates and disrespects postponement. Why is that?
According to Mr. Dictionary, postponement means to put something off to a later time or to defer. It also means to place something after, in order of importance or estimation; to subordinate.
So, “to place in order of importance” also can be seen as being synonymous with being organized or being on top of things. And to “subordinate” can often times mean “to sacrifice” or to put others first. So, in that context, rather than being a villain, postponement might be considered a heroic act.
James Rohn, the American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker once said: “Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” In that context, the word "postpone" is being used in a negative context.
Meanwhile, Tertullian, a prolific early Christian author from Carthage, in the Roman province of Africa once said: “Indeed, it is better to postpone, lest either we complete too little by hurrying, or wander too long in completing it.”
Tertullian is speaking of postponement in a positive way, saying that we should use it to delay things so that we might be able to savor them or better use our situation.
In other words, we should not rush through something, lest we not enjoy it and, in that way, postponement can be an ally. But then he adds that we should not wander too long in completing it, either.
Somewhere, too, in all of that, is a hint at what the apostle Paul said in the Bible in Philippians 4:11: “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.”
That’s really the most difficult thing in life, isn’t it? To be content in whatever circumstance.
And yet, to be content in every circumstance, there is still one thing that you must do. You still must “go for it.”