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The Danger of Too Much Preparation

  • Dan Miller
  • 2011 15 Aug
The Danger of Too Much Preparation

Most of us make fun of the idea that ignorance is bliss and pride ourselves in not being one of the ignorant.

However, I see a reverse phenomenon that is also quite interesting.  The paradox of knowledge is this:  the more we know, the more we realize what we don’t know.  Thus, a person who begins studying butterflies discovers the thousands of species that exist.  A person who wants to buy a car can get lost in consumer reports, safety studies, and resale potential.   I see students continuing the pursuit of more and more degrees, “getting ready” for that first job.  I see people looking for a job who spend six months researching companies and job search strategies.  I encounter the frustrated employee who wants his/her own business and spends ten years carefully planning every possible outcome.

“Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action.”  Benjamin Disraeli

One of Zig Ziglar’s famous stories is of a childhood neighbor lady who pulled some biscuits out of the oven that were no thicker than silver dollars.  When little Zig asked what happened, the cook laughed and said, “Well, those biscuits squatted to rise, but they just got cooked in the squat.”

I see people who have gotten “cooked in the squat.”  They are going to do something just as soon as they gather all the necessary information.  But weeks, months and then years slip by.  Protected in the safety of gathering more information they miss new opportunities all together.  A coaching client told me he had gone to work at the local bank – just as a temporary position until he could do a little research about which career field to really pursue.  Guess what?  That was 17 years ago and he’s still at the bank.  The acceptable illusion of still getting ready robbed him of 17 years of his life.

When do you have enough knowledge to start something new?  When you decide to take action!  The baby eagle learns how to fly as he is heading straight toward the rocks below, not while sitting on the edge of the nest.  The business owner learns while hiring, buying, and making mistakes more than while sitting in a classroom.  The unemployed person approaches success while knocking on doors, making phone calls, and getting repeated rejections, not while scanning the Internet and reading textbooks.

“There is no more miserable human being than the one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.”  William James

Don’t get “cooked in the squat.”  It will cripple you and cause you to miss the life you were intended to live!

What is a decision you have been waiting to make? Do you perhaps have enough knowledge to make a decision and move on?

 Dan Miller is today's leading authority and personality on careers and 'Work You LoveTM'. As bestselling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love, and now No More Mondays, Dan reaches over a million people every month in his newsletter, podcast, and blog with the best trends and opportunities in the workplace and small business. For more information, visit