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Alfred Stevens: Hesitation [Madame Monteaux?] (c. 1867)

"I might just be playing chicken with myself."

All who hesitate are not necessarily lost. Some certainly must be lost, but many engage strategically, not wanting to waste effort by expending it overenthusiastically and in a naive fashion. Especially immediately after experiencing some fresh revelation, people tend to go off half or even less than half-cocked, exercising freshly-discovered muscles in ways most likely to undermine intention and strain unaccustomed ligaments. I believe it essential then to resist that urge to charge forward holding that newly-discovered sword, lest that nascent swordsman do more damage than good to their cause. The first use of any insight might well best remain a sparing one. It's far too easy to overuse or even abuse unfamiliar forms of magic. It's often best to just use a sprinkle at first.

I have been encountering insights as I've explored Publishing.
I keep discovering things I didn't know existed, and I might characterize each insight as blinding. Each certainly initially blinds me to its true power. Not every insight seems destined to provide a huge impact. Some seem modest, more glance than actual sight. Others seem downright visionary as if destined to change almost everything before me. But whether modest or Earth-shaking, each initially proves misleading, for it's probably impossible for anyone to see where even the least of them might be heading. Entranced by the fresh, bright light, I might not notice myself digging myself in deeper rather than out. I should probably gingerly discover any power I first invoke.

My new A-Eye Grammar Engine reports that I successfully parsed 176,314 words with it last week. I might have gone just a little overboard with my newly powerful swift sword. Since I was changing history, I could have easily destroyed a couple of weeks of work with it, transforming an asset into garbage without really noticing. My attention was drawn to the bright and shiny differences, not to what should not have necessarily changed with these actions. With my guard down, I could have inflicted a severe wound and set back my progress by more than the weeks I thought I was improving. After a frenzied first twenty-four-hour period, I came up for a breather. Not until then had I remembered the injunction to hasten slowly at first lest all be lost while making progress.

I'm not just chicken when I first engage with an innovation. I think myself strategically stalled, recalling all those times I've set myself behind by chasing fresh rainbows. The transformative influence of blinding insights primarily comes from the trances they induce. The spark you feel might be one of the blindnesses encroaching: The kind of blindness that comes from being here rather than there or even there rather than here. Head in clouds, navigation becomes iffy—head above clouds, landings, speculative. We operate to big what-ifs when we first attempt to make any improvement. A step in what seems like the right direction will almost always be easier to recover from than any leap made in any direction. Persistent changes need not necessarily ever be accomplished in a single sitting. I say I am engaged in StrategicHesitation, though I might just be playing chicken with myself.
©2023 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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