The best dating advice I've heard is composed of five words.
These words make a simple phrase, but it took me years to understand. After attending therapy, reading Julius Caesar's biography and going through adversity, I could appreciate this advice. And to set you up to understand these five words, let me give you a scenario.
Say you see a cute girl sitting on a bench outside.
She looks back at you and smiles. You smile back and feel you should go over to her. Yet, a little bit of doubt creeps in.
The girl is waiting for you to come and say hi.
And you want to but feel stuck. All the signs point to a potentially positive experience with this girl. But you're frozen like Medusa's victims.
The girl waits and waits, glancing at you in the process.
Minutes pass by, and you're still frozen. The girl is still waiting for your arrival. Yet, you can't bring yourself to move, no matter how much you want to.
Her interest in you expires.
She gets up and moves on with her day, never seeing you again. And you're frustrated. You can't understand why a golden opportunity slipped through your fingers.
All you can do is wonder what could have been. And add this to the countless list of missed opportunities in your life.
A sad tale, right?
Well, the five words that could have prevented this sad tale are:
"If you hesitate, you masturbate."
Now, this article isn't about masturbation, but it is about hesitancy. Perpetual hesitancy to be correct.
I say perpetual because many people struggle with hesitancy as a default. As a result, we have to treat it as a condition instead of a one-time thing.
But, before treating it, we must understand the consequences of perpetual hesitancy. Because if we know what we lose from it, it will become simpler to choose the courageous path.
Obviously, there are a lot of consequences to being hesitant. But in this article, I am going to cover three, which are:
Makes fear worse
Too many regrets
Alright, let's boldly go to the first one.
One of the most apparent issues with hesitancy is how it rots your self-trust. Any time a thought, plan, or decision pops up, you can't help but bail on it.
Crippling thoughts like, 'you're not good enough,' 'dumb,' or whatever. This instantly puts you down and makes you abandon whatever you are pursuing.
Your mind is like a nation engulfed in civil war. Where everyone is attacking, spying, and accusing each other. Basic mayhem.
The Bhagavad Gita put it aptly:
'The self is the friend of a man who masters himself through the self, but for a man without self-mastery, the self is like an enemy at war.'
Too much hesitation signifies a man who is not at peace with himself.
No unison in mind and spirit.
So anything outside the comfort womb seems too daunting. So no adventures, no new experiences, no risks.
Although staying in the comfort womb feels safe, it creates a personal hell. A hell where fear grows and feasts on your hesitancy.
Makes fear worse
One of the more insidious aspects of hesitancy is how it feeds into fear. Each time you hesitate, fear gets a deeper hold on you. Because you are hesitant, the reasons fear starts spewing seem attractive.
And in a lot of cases, fear wins you over.
Keeping you stuck in the same spot. And this isn't some random rambling. Publius Syrus put it succinctly in the following aphorism:
'Audacity augments courage; hesitation, fear.'
And this isn't even the worst part with fear. After augmenting fear for so long, your lens becomes somewhat tainted with a fearful tint.
So whenever you look out into the world, you see the only horrific part of life. And completely forget about the beautiful parts of it.
Again, this is not me making random statements. Because I got this idea from Publius Syrus as well:
'The timid man sees dangers that do not exist.'
So a simple formula to remember is that perpetual hesitancy makes you fearful. Which goes on to make you timid. And life like this is bound to have countless regrets.
Too many regrets
All the hesitation and self-doubt lead to missing opportunities in life. Opportunities to show your courageous, ambitious, exciting self.
And over time, this leads to being disappointed with life and wondering:
Why didn't I ask her out?
Why didn't I go to that company event?
Why didn't I stand up for my team?
Why, why, why.
Those reverberate in your head with such pain you wonder what's the point anymore.
But there is a point.
All that pain and suffering can be your salvation if you promise not to let hesitancy be your default. Look at life with perpetual hesitancy as the First mistaken-filled Life. And you can bring that wisdom to your Second Life. Just how Viktor Frankl put it in his book, Man's Search for Meaning:
"So live as if you were living already for the second time and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly as you are about to act now!"
So with your second life, let's reduce hesitancy.
This deserves its own article, but I will give you a cliff notes version of this future article.
To start reducing hesitancy, acknowledge that you will feel fear and doubt.
And that it's okay.
Anyone who comes off as not hesitant still feels fear and doubt just as much as the timid man. But they still move forward despite all that.
So with that understanding in place, I recommend the following:
Remembering your mortality
Daily courageous actions
Trying one or all (I recommend all three) will help you learn to trust yourself. And explore the world with all its scary but beautiful challenges. And funny enough, the more you commit, the less fear gets a hold of you. It will still be there, but it will have no hesitant energy to feast on. Thus being impoverished and powerless to have any hold on you. That being said, some people will see there is value in hesitancy.
But what if I'm trying to cut mistakes
I can understand this. Nobody wants to make mistakes, especially if there are consequences for failure.
But here is the thing.
Hesitancy will make you a failure. It doesn't seem so, no. But over time, hesitation leads most, if not all, to be some sort of failure.
Now, being bold and courageous also leads to failure. But only over the short term. And in these moments, many lessons are being taught. Thus, priming the brave individual to find success soon after.
But the hesitant person finds out they are a failure after too much time has passed. And often, it becomes difficult to change their situation as a result.
Themistocles understood this about hesitation.
If you don't know, Themistocles was a fifth-century BC Athenian politician and general. And during the Persian invasion of Greece, he got into it with a colleague about risking a naval battle. Here is the excerpt of this exchange in the Life of Themistocles by Plutarch:
When Adeimantus lacked the courage to risk a naval battle, and said to Themistocles, who was exhorting and urging on the Greeks, "Themistocles, in the games they always scourge the runners who start before the signal is given," Themistocles replied, " Yes, Adeimantus, but they do not crown those who are left behind in the race."
One person who got left behind due to their hesitancy was Pompey the Great.
Pompey's fatal disasters.
Pompey's hesitancy was not a one-time thing but something that had been developing for a time.
I'll forgive you if you don't know who Pompey the Great is, but not next time.
Pompey was Julius Caesar's rival.
But before this rivalry, Pompey was one of the most esteemed men in Rome, hence having Great included in his name.
Pompey had an illustrious military campaign at a young age. Rome was mesmerized by him. And after his military career, Pompey wanted to go into politics.
And it was this stage of his life where hesitancy started to get a hold of Pompey. He didn't trust his decisions as much and deferred to his colleagues or friends too much.
Even when Rome was in a crisis.
He was hesitant to make any decisions on his own. And against his own better judgement, he followed poor advice.
Which included going to war with Caesar.
This war was not a great move. But Pompey had a much better chance at winning it than Caesar. He had more resources and could soundly defeat Caesar with some good decisions.
Yet, Pompey's poor decision-making had him lose skirmishes (or small battles) to Caesar.
Yet, the tables turned.
And Pompey defeated Caesar in battle. In fact, Caesar and his army were on the run. They were perfectly placed to be destroyed in their entirety.
But to everyone's amazement, Pompey didn't.
Caesar could not believe his opponent did not destroy him. And then remarked, 'Today the enemy would have won, if they had a winner for a commander.'
Unfortunately, this was a costly move for Pompey. As Caesar regrouped and soundly defeated Pompey in a deciding battle.
Pompey lost everything and never recovered.
And keep in mind the hesitancy in Pompey was developing over time. And it came to be his downfall. he was no longer that daring and ambitious military commander from his past.
Now Pompey is a stark warning of what perpetual hesitancy can do. But this doesn't mean to go to the complete opposite of it.
When learning something new, getting too much caught up in the opposite form is easy. Which, in this case, is being reckless. Oddly enough, being reckless will hurt you more than perpetual hesitancy.
One extreme is never the way. It's all about being well-rounded, where you work on your weaknesses. That's all it is.
Sun Tzu, the blessed man, taught us about the well-rounded general:
"Command is Wisdom, Integrity, Compassion, Courage, Severity."
You can see there is no over-reliance on one trait.
But five features to round out the person. So as you work on your hesitancy, remember to not become reckless but well-rounded.
And to make this article well-rounded, let's get to the summary.
Perpetual hesitancy causes: No self-trust, Makes fear worse, Too many regrets.
Hesitancy puts constant doubt on your abilities, leading to no self-trust. Keeping you inside your comfort womb.
Fear feeds on hesitancy. And the more fear feeds on it and grows, the more it has a hold on you. Making the world seem a lot scarier than it is.
Hesitancy allows many opportunities to pass by. Causing many regrets in the process.
The way to reduce hesitancy is to accept fear and doubt as part of life. After that, therapy, remembering mortality, and practising daily courage will help significantly lower hesitancy.
Hesitancy can be looked at as a way to reduce mistakes. But this is a false promise. Because hesitancy leads to failure after too much time has passed. Compared to courage, failure happens fast but with lessons to improve the next time.
Pompey the Great lost everything he built in his career due to perpetual hesitancy.
Becoming reckless is a mistake that occurs after reducing hesitancy. To deal with life, we must remember to be well-rounded, like Sun Tzu's well-rounded general.
Only a nerd like me can write this much about hesitancy. But I can't help it because, during my loser years, the hesitation was beside me. I lost a lot due to it. And I don't want you to succumb to something that can simply be overcome.
There is so much more to life.
So much more than whatever hesitancy offers you. And if you stay committed to this new courageous journey, you might find yourself not masturbating. But spending some time making sweet love.
Until next time,
The Charismatic Nerd