‘Look before you leap’ – Meaning, Importance and Expansion of the Idea

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‘Look before you leap’ – Meaning, Importance and Expansion of the Idea

Introduction: It is wise not to leap in the dark and then cause injury. It is much better to make informed decisions, to avoid negative surprises.


The saying ‘Look before you leap” means: think carefully about the possible outcome before making important decisions.

Before getting into an action, you should always consider the possible consequences or end-result of the action. The above saying further means:

  • Decision made in haste often turn up to be costly decisions.
  • It is wise to avoid troubles by exercising caution while performing acts.
  • You should exercise diligence and care while doing something, so that you do on repent in the future.
  • You should act only once you have made careful evaluation the possible risk or danger associated with it.
  • You should gain full knowledge and get an insight of the future, before committing any new task or job.

This  proverb means it is good to be cautious. A leap, here, means any challenge or big event in life.


We derive many teachings from this proverb. The importance of the proverb is discussed below:

  • We live more safely if we consider potential dangers.
  • Remembering this proverb keeps us level headed. Thought before action is the focus of this saying.
  • This proverb reminds us to think of the consequences of our actions. It tells us to ‘look’ where we are going.
  • The proverb reminds us to only commit ourselves when we have thought things through. Remembering this saying teaches us not to say yes to things we aren’t sure about.
  • When we look before we leap we avoid rash decisions. Instead, we carefully choose our path in life.

Expansion of the idea

The saying warns us against hasty actions. Remember, Haste is waste. Some people are tempted to act swiftly without much thinking. They fail to think of the possible outcome.

To look means, metaphorically, to think carefully. This proverb helps us to counter:

  • Rashness.
  • Poor planning.
  • Bad decisions.
  • Acting without thought for the future.
  • Jumping into things without forethought.

People should direct their gaze in the direction in which they are about to jump. If a person jumps into the dark, there are chances of him being hurt. Thus, one should always fix his gaze towards the ground before he or she is about to leap.

Some people overestimate their talents and take on to do very difficult tasks that are beyond their capability. It is very important to know your limits. If you fail to judge you ability or talents, then you may end up with some assignments that you may fail to complete.

Again, some tasks are so un-productive that they are not worth doing. Remember, Knowledge is power. A vast army loses the battle if they are ill-informed of important facts of their opponents.

Action done without giving any prior thoughts to its utility may lead to undesirable results. However, if actions are done after through planning, then there are huge chances for success. Hence, it is said that ‘look before you leap.’

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