Good Leaders don’t procrastinate

“In a moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing to do. The worst thing you can do is nothing.” – Theodore Roosevelt

In 1901, President McKinley was assassinated and Roosevelt became the 26th President of the United States. He attempted to move the Republican Party (GOP) toward Progressivism, including trust busting and increased regulation of businesses. Roosevelt became the first person elected to a term in his own right in 1904 after having ascended to the Presidency (from the Vice-Presidency) upon the death of his predecessor, winning the largest percentage of the popular vote since the uncontested election of 1820. Roosevelt coined the phrase “Square Deal” to describe his domestic agenda, emphasizing that the average citizen would get a fair share under his policies. As an outdoors man and naturalist, he promoted the conservation movement. On the world stage, Roosevelt’s policies were characterized by his slogan, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”. Roosevelt was the force behind:

  • the completion of the Panama Canal
  • negotiating an end to the Russo-Japanese War, for which he won the Nobel Peace Prize.

What is procrastination? It is the practice of carrying out less urgent tasks in preference to more urgent ones, or doing more pleasurable things in place of less pleasurable ones, and thus putting off impending tasks to a later time.

President Theodore Roosevelt is probably one of my favorite presidents for the fact that he was not afraid to make a decision. If you look at his life he had to make some significant decisions. I don’t know for sure, but I would assume that he always “took the bull by the horns” and didn’t shrug his responsibility as President of the United States. I am also going to assume that he learned the importance of not procrastinating from his parents. He did come from a wealthy family. You didn’t become wealthy in those days if you procrastinated. The late 1800’s and early 1900’s were times of vision and building. Imagine what it took to get the Panama Canal built. Imagine the impact the Panama Canal has today on transportation. Billions of dollars of goods run through the Panama Canal each year.

Procrastination is a wide spread preference in our society. We think and dream of ideas and concepts each day only not to take action on them. A good leader is one that takes those concepts, thinks about them and then takes action on the ones that can make a difference. I have several affirmations written on my office wall. They are positioned such that each time I lift my head up from my monitors, and I have a few, those affirmations hit me straight on. One of those affirmations says, “stop waiting and just do something.”

In conclusion, remember the words of President Roosevelt, “the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

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