On the Shoulders of Giants

by Brian SperonelloIcon

Balancing Speed and Effectiveness

In 33 Strategies of War, Robert Greene makes the point that often speed and mistakes are inversely proportional. The faster you go, the more errors you make. The slower you go, the fewer you make.

"We live in a world in which speed is prized above almost all else, and acting faster than the other side has itself become the primary goal. But most often people are merely in a hurry, acting and reacting frantically to events, all of which makes them prone to error and wasting time in the long run."
"People hate the feeling of being rushed and are terrified of making a mistake. They unconsciously try to slow things down — by taking longer to make decisions, being noncommittal, defensive, and cautious."
The key to being both fast and effective is "Grand Strategy." It allows you to see past your immediate situation and to stay focused on the future objective you are trying to achieve. This will prevent you from constantly reacting to circumstances dictated by other people, moving fast simply for the sake of moving fast, but frantically in every direction instead of with a clear aim.

Seeing the world around you with the kind of long-term clarity that Grand Strategy requires will also prevent you from being held back by the fear of making a mistake. Most people are afraid of mistakes because they over-estimate the negative consequences of making one. Recognizing that mistakes are unavoidable, and rarely fatal, allows the Grand Strategist to move swiftly and with a clear focus.

This is not to say she is careless. She does do her best to minimize errors, and having a targeted long-term objective makes this easier for her. But reaching her goal quickly and effectively is always the driving force behind the Grand Strategist's actions, not avoiding mistakes at all costs.

This post stands on the shoulders of:

33 Strategies of War by Robert Greene


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