Hesitation or hesitating is the psychological process of pausing in the course of making a decision or taking an action, typically due to uncertainty as to the best course of action. Hesitation is described in both positive and negative terms, with some perceiving it as an indication of thoughtfulness, while others characterize it as a sign of indecisiveness or lack of the will to act. In literature, a period of hesitation on the part of a key character has sometimes been depicted as having substantial consequences.
- He who hesitates is lost.
- In ipsa dubitatione facinus inest, etiamsi ad id non pervenerint.
- Determination in a single instance is an expression of courage; if it becomes characteristic, a mental habit. But here we are referring not to physical courage but to courage to accept responsibility, courage in the face of a moral danger. This has often been called courage d'esprit, because it is created by the intellect. That, however, does not make it an act of the intellect: it is an act of temperament. Intelligence alone is not courage; we often see that the most intelligent people are irresolute. Since in the rush of events a man is governed by feelings rather than by thought, the intellect needs to arouse the quality of courage, which then supports and sustains it in action.
Looked at in this way, the role of determination is to limit the agonies of doubt and the perils of hesitation when the motives for action are inadequate.
- Carl von Clausewitz, On War (1832), chapter 3.
- Does a tear of hesitation fall on everything you touch?
- Mind that has no hesitation, no anticipation, is meditation.
- Ravi Shankar, "What is Meditation?" (2006).
- Dualism, contradiction, torments of hesitation - is something of illness, integrity is health, people strive for it instinctively.
- Audendo virtus crescit, tardando timor.
- Audacity augments courage; hesitation, fear.
- Publilius Syrus, Sententiae, Maxim 63.
- Variant translation: "Valour grows by daring, fear by holding back."