Action isn’t everything


Up to now I have placed store on action. Experiments are all about action and doing something a little bit different.

Even so, there are times when, as it says in the Green Cross Code, we can STOP, LOOK and LISTEN, rather than act hastily.

There is an experiment to help us look at some prior steps such as judging the situation and – before that – thinking enough to identify our options and make a judgement.

In short: using the steps: THINK-FORM OPTIONS-JUDGE-ACT


Use the worksheet below, with one example already in place. Record information about a disturbing event. Include a date and time and the Distress Rating or SUD created by the event.

Think Judge Act (2).jpg

Note how easy it is to mix up my thoughts and judgments. The big difference is to separate out the talk that goes on in my head and my ability to gather ‘facts’ to set priorities in order to form a sound opinion prior to taking action.

Note, also, that in the example I provide, the action – to work just one more hour – is based on a judgment about balancing the need to work late with getting up early. This serves to slow me down and not feel rushed before making an important presentation. I

n such matters that balance will vary from person to person. It helps to be sure where you stand on an issue. It rather assumes you’ve gathered enough information to ask yourself the question at all.

It is important to come to a conclusion – to make a judgment – BEFORE taking an action. Not doing this can undermine the usefulness of any experiments you implement.

Even so, in much of my work, I hear words telling some-one what they MUST do or SHOULD do. If you hear these words in your conversation, consider how you might use thinking to help edit the conversation. That way, it is possible to double-check the JUDGEMENT being made at this time.  Even if, you confirm that, indeed, something MUST be done, then is it possible to increase the number of ways in which something CAN be done.

What  are the choices of ACTIONS open to you? Must is no substitute for action and, indeed, ‘must’ can become a cover for not doing!

Note, if you would, how this brief safe experiments connects to the rather more complicated notion of Discounting. discussed on the page, listed below.

Return to:


What is a nudge?

Designing safe experiments

Obstacles to safe experiments