Don’t Sit and Stew. Go and Do.

Aaron Pace
2 min readFeb 10, 2024
Photo by Irham Setyaki on Unsplash

There’s a story of a young man tasked with something that seemed impossible: build a ship large enough to carry his family across unfamiliar water, a voyage that would take several months to complete.

The young man had a few older brothers who thought he was foolish, and perhaps not without reason. They had watched their little brother put up a tent in the past, and he couldn’t even do that right.

But the young man was determined. Undaunted and undeterred by the jeering of his brothers, he climbed literal mountains to find ore to make tools. He gathered wood from far away. Both of these activities served to strengthen his body, so when it came time to work the heavy timbers, he was capable.

It’s worth noting that the young man’s skeptical brothers, after some difficult experiences of their own, helped him build the ship, and while it took considerable time, he and they succeeded in building a ship that didn’t sink (to the relief of his family).

I talked to a friend while running (we don’t run fast enough to making talking impossible) about this particular story because it’s one that’s familiar to both of us. My friend wisely said that the young man is a great example of this principle:

Don’t sit and stew. Go and do.

It’s an important lesson. Most of our problems won’t be resolved if we sit around and think about them. To solve a problem, action is almost always required.

Complex problems often require some kind of plan to solve. However, there’s also a danger in analysis paralysis in solving problems. This takes us back to the challenge of sitting and stewing. We can create and evaluate a number of plans, attempting to find the best way to solve a problem.

What that planning often reveals is that there is more than one way to solve the problem. It may be there is a best way to solve it, but doing it “the best way” is often irrelevant. Taking action — just doing something — is the only way to evaluate if a potential solution will even work, and that action provides the feedback necessary to adjust the plan as you go along. No amount of “sitting and stewing” will address all the issues that may (and probably will) arise while trying to solve the problem.

Taking action is the only real way to solve a problem, no matter the size.

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Aaron Pace

Married to my best friend. Father to five exuberant children. Fledgling entrepreneur. Writer. Software developer. Inventory management expert.