Being hesitant

Being hesitant is a virtue – wisely used. Photo by Semyon Borisov on Unsplash

Hesitating is an important action to learn.  Children with little or no sense of risk can expose themselves to a lot of danger.  Adults, without the ability to stop and consider, remain mere children.

We have several character traits which we say overlap with being hesitant.  We describe people as ‘shy’, which means less likely to come forward towards others socially.  We describe people as ‘cautious’, which refers  to plans as well as people, and implies someone is likely to weigh the downside of risks quite heavily.  Many of these hesitancy-related words sound pejorative.

But to hesitate can bring us good fortune, and more than a little wisdom.  To hesitate is to be able to pause before action.  When we hesitate, we ask ourselves:

  • Is this the right action?
  • Is this the right time?
  • Is this the right place?
  • Am I the right person to do this?

All of these are wisdom questions, and being able to process them makes us more mature.


Just for today, practice the art of hesitation.  Take time to consider everything you do.  Before you speak or act, observe again the situation, and ask yourself:

  • am I the right person to say or do these things?
  • am I choosing the right words or actions?
  • is this the right time and place for them?