When things feel murky or complicated, or when it feels like we are not getting the result we want despite our efforts, the default response is typically to do something.
Do more. Push harder. Step it up.
This is our cultural conditioning. It’s how our society trains us to react to every problem.
What are you going to do about it?
We measure what gets done, what gets shipped, what gets produced.
But sometimes — in fact, almost always — the best response, at least at first, is not doing.
Do less (or nothing). Ease off. Step back.
Pause. Listen. Observe. Feel.
One of my favorite reframes is to change the question from:
What do I need to do?
What needs doing?
Answering this requires creating space to listen and observe.
In stillness, the mud settles to the bottom of the glass and the water becomes clear.
With space, solutions have a way of revealing themselves.
This pause doesn’t preclude doing something.
If there’s something to do, we can always do it — after a pause.
And if we’ve stepped back to observe first, there’s a greater chance that instead of doing something we’ll be doing the most effective thing.