The Peril – And Promise – Of Uncertainty
By: Rick Boxx
Many business leaders believe a primary reason the global economy continues to struggle and has demonstrated little evidence of renewed strength is due to uncertainty. Taxes are creating a strain on everyone. Many economic indicators are unsettling. And the political landscape in much of the world is filled with unknowns. As a result, business leaders are hesitant about moving forward with new projects, hiring new staff, or engaging in any significant activity that could put their corporate bottom lines at risk.
In one respect, such cautious approaches seem warranted. Would it be wise to proceed with reckless abandon even though economic conditions do not seem favorable? In the Bible’s Old Testament, the book of Proverbs endorses taking action with prudence. For instance, it says, “The prudent sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it” (Proverbs 27:12). In other words, failure to recognize dangerous situations and act accordingly can lead to disastrous consequences.
Yet waiting until conditions seem perfect might not be the most prudent course to take, either. By then it might be too late. As the adage reminds us, “The early bird catches the worm.” Sometimes the best time to launch something new is when everyone is gripped by inertia. While everyone else has become immobilized by fear of what might lie ahead, some of the great success stories in the history of business have been individuals with the courage – and foresight – to proceed with well-conceived ideas.
So how does one tell the difference? How can you discern when it is best to be cautious and wait, and when it is best to move forward despite prevailing uncertainty?
While no one can offer guarantees of success even in the most favorable economic conditions, the Bible offers some helpful guidelines worth considering. Again the book of Proverbs provides sound insight:
Gather all the information needed. One of the major contributors to failure is unwillingness to conduct sufficient research and prepare properly before taking action. “The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out” (Proverbs 18:15).
Seek counsel from trusted associates. One way to get that information is consulting with friends and peers that are knowledgeable about the steps you are considering. They can provide viewpoints you might not have considered. “For lack of guidance a nation falls, but many advisers make victory sure” (Proverbs 11:14). “Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22).
Proceed motivated by a desire to honor and please God. Too often plans are driven by selfish desires or prideful motivations. Those potential pitfalls can be avoided when the individual’s intent is to follow the direction God reveals. In the Bible’s New Testament, Romans 8:5 teaches, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”
Prudent planning and awareness of dangers are imperative in business, yet when you truly sense that the Spirit of God is prodding you to move forward, the wisest course is to listen to God’s Spirit.
Until next week!
Copyright 2010, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org.