Chess has a lot of moves. There are a lot of possible options on a chess board mid-way through a good game. You can pick one of a myriad of courses, but an interesting note: you can’t pass. You can’t choose to just skip and not move a piece. I’m sure there are plenty of times where it would be strategically advantageous for you to do so, but you can’t.
That’s a good foundation for understanding decisions. Ultimately you have a finite time span in which to make and act upon any and all decisions. At a certain point life or other people will make a choice for you. (That’s why I advocate controlling your default, at least.)
There are a shockingly small number of situations where inaction is not worse than any action at all. In 99% of situations where you don’t know what to do, picking any option out of a hat and committing to it would be better than doing nothing.
I want to clarify that I’m not advocating acting rashly or irresponsibly, nor am I saying that patience isn’t a virtue. It absolutely is. But there’s a world of difference between patience and inaction.
For instance: you’ve applied to a job, interviewed well, and sent a great follow-up email. Then you hear nothing back, and the allure is strong for you to send another email the next day. That’s probably the wrong decision, but while I advocate not sending the email, I absolutely don’t advocate doing nothing.
Inaction would be doing nothing and just saying “wait and see.” Intelligence patience is taking other actions – applying to new jobs, putting together a project so you have something to actually offer in a follow-up email to the first one, or practicing your interview skills to close those deals even better next time. There’s a whole host of things you can be doing while you’re being patient.
While I said I didn’t advocate sending another pesky email, you know what? I absolutely think it would be better than doing nothing. If you’re seriously just sitting around waiting for a “yes” or “no” from one other company – send the email. They’ll send you an official rejection, you won’t get the job, but that means you’ll be pushed to once again get the ball rolling on something, which is infinitely better than sitting around waiting for life to happen to you.
Take your turn already.