Let a night pass!

July 6, 2021
Let a night pass

‘Let a night pass!’

Tried and tested strategy

Many a time, when my team members at work used to bring up a seemingly intractable issue – often of a personal nature – I would listen to them completely and then say, ‘let a night pass!’

It was my age-old tried and tested strategy to think through clearly.

Often, when we are faced with a significant issue, we get so overwhelmed by it that we are unable to think clearly. We could be thinking of a very narrow set of options, and, in some situations, no options at all.

2 helpful maxims and a philosophy

When confronted with an issue, I have always believed in the following two maxims:

– I am not the only person on Planet Earth to face this particular issue.
– Every issue has a solution.

Armed with these two maxims, and the ‘let a night pass!’ philosophy, I have largely led my life.

A couple of instances

While I can think of many instances when my philosophy of ‘let a night pass’ came in handy, I recall the time when my 86-year old mother had a fall at home a couple of years ago. She was in pain.

My wife and I were not in town. My elder sister and my brother-in-law were at home and they rushed her to a super specialty hospital. The hospital where she was taken, gave her some painkillers that brought her pain under control. Once that was done, they advised surgery of the spine to be done immediately.

‘Let a night pass’ in action

Since the pain has subsided considerably, based on consultation within the family, we decided to ‘let a night pass’. While my wife and I rushed back to Bangalore, my mother was discharged from the hospital and she returned home.

By the time the dawn broke, we had our strategy clear. We had identified another senior doctor through one of our doctor-friends. We took my mother’s X-ray and the reports and met with this doctor the following day.

Considering my mother’s age, the doctor ruled out surgery. In fact, in his view, surgery could lead to complications.

Under his care, my mother entered a long period of bed rest and convalescence. Gradually, her pain subsided and after a few weeks, when she was in a better position to move, we took her in an ambulance to meet the doctor. He was very pleased with the improvement. In fact, he introduced my mother to his junior doctors as an example of a super senior citizen who, in full compliance with the doctor’s instructions, had almost fully recovered.

The philosophy of ‘let a night pass’ had worked. Instead of acting on impulse and wheeling her into the Operation Theater, the ‘let a night pass’ philosophy had played a critical role in arriving at the most optimal solution for my aged mother.

‘Let a night pass’ in action…again!

Recently, a very senior professional connected with me on LinkedIn and engaged me on a coaching assignment.

During the first call itself, he appeared desperate. He had decided to resign from his current job and was just waiting – thankfully – for a round of discussions with me.

I understood the predicament that was leading him to his decision. Since he would have quit without a job in hand, I was able to prevail upon him to delay putting in his papers – another version of my ‘let a night pass’ philosophy in action.

Later, as we began our in-depth discussions, several options other than the option of resignation emerged. Even after months after having had our first coaching conversation, he is still in the same organization, albeit in a different role. This option of a change to a different role was the result of our coaching conversation. The philosophy had worked.

‘Let a night pass’ and my career

I worked in the corporate world for over 30 years. Those were different times.

During those 30 years, I would have felt like resigning from the job at least fifty times. I would have felt like resigning on the same day at least thirty times and about a dozen times at that particular moment. Yet, I resigned from my job only 4 times in my life. The fifth occasion was when I quit corporate life for good.

The intention of sharing this particular example is not to glorify any kind of persistence or suffering. Far from it.

Things that seemed very dire acquire a different hue the next morning because we are calmer and more collected.

When we see the issue in a new light, it helps us take a more rational and well-considered decision. We begin to appear bigger in stature than the issue that confronts us – more in control.

Now, just in case this post is spurring you to take any urgent action at all, just hold on.

Let a night pass!


What are you thinking? Does this post resonate with you? Do let me know at [email protected].

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