You may have read the title of this post and thought to yourself: “I already have a pretty good idea of what I like! What do you mean be more decisive?” Every single day we face a number of important decisions. Each decision will affect you in some way. What you order for dinner will likely have only a small impact on your life. Maybe it will cause you an upset stomach, but that’s about as extreme as it can get. Other decisions will have greater consequences.
Deciding to quit your job, for instance, is sure to have more obvious, long-term effects on your life. But even though this fact can be scary, you cannot let it slow down your decision making process. Sure, there is more information that you must find out first when it comes to choosing a college major versus ordering dinner, and the decision will likely take longer as a result. However, it’s important to realize that the dangers of prolonging the decision making process almost always outweigh the benefits of gathering more information.
Here are five reasons you should be more decisive and making quicker, concrete decisions:
1. Most Decisions Are Less Important Than You Think
There is a saying that roughly 20 percent of causes generally account for 80 percent of the results. This means that roughly 20 percent of the decisions you face will account for 80 percent of the impact on your life. However, aside from obvious long-term decisions like buying your first home or getting married, you won’t be able to accurately identify most of these choices. This means you shouldn’t waste time or energy on most decisions, because it will likely cost you more than the outcome affects your life.
For example, I often stress myself out about stupid things like what shirt to wear out or what restaurant to go to. Even after countless repetitions, I can let a routine decision like this affect my peace of mind. I have to remind myself that in all likelihood, it doesn’t matter. No one cares about what you have on because they are more worried about how they themselves look. This allows me to be more decisive about what I wear out.
Having a little common sense will allow to differentiate that which requires more thought, and that which probably doesn’t matter much. If you are not sure what is important, ask someone older and more experienced in what you would like to know.
2. What Appears To Be A Good Decision Today, May Not Be Tomorrow
This fact can be eye-opening. It’s extremely common to make a decision that grants you an immediately beneficial result, yet you come to regret it in the long-term. The opposite is equally true: it’s not rare to make a decision that seems like it was a terrible choice right after you make it, yet turns out to be a great choice a few weeks, months, or even years down the line.
A common example here might be breaking up with a girl or quitting a job. It’s a decision that often causes you tremendous pain and suffering in the weeks and months that follow the decision. However, you usually bounce back with a fierce determination across all areas of your life that propels so much growth that you look back and realize it was actually a good thing overall.
The point is, because external circumstances and prolonged time can change how you view a particular outcome, you shouldn’t waste time worrying about making the “perfect” choice or regretting having made the “wrong” one. At the end of the day, there’s no such thing.
3. Making Concrete Decisions Will Give You Peace Of Mind
When there’s something on your mind, an issue or challenge you’re facing, the only way to get it off your mind is to make a decision that addresses the issue at hand. In my case, it doesn’t matter if it’s what topic i’ll write about next or what date I should schedule a particular appointment, I can’t stop thinking about it until I’ve come to a firm decision.
The process I’ve recently adopted is keeping notes and reminders on my phone. Whenever I catch myself repeatedly thinking about something to the point that it’s distracting me from the task at hand, I make a decision about it and write it down in my reminders. The act of writing it down helps my mind put the issue to rest—it makes me feel like I’ve made a firm decision that I won’t second guess.
We often underestimate how important peace of mind is. Naturally, when you are able to be more decisive you will find it is a lot easier to have a calm state of mind. It is just a beneficial byproduct of concrete decision-making.
4. People Quickly Identify And Respect Decision-Makers
It usually doesn’t matter if it’s in a social setting, work environment, or with a girl you’re dating. When you consistently offer a firm decision to any situation that requires one, people recognize it. They unconsciously start to identify you as a leader. You aren’t afraid to make decisions and shoulder the responsibility that comes along with it. You are able to be more decisive for the good of the situation you are in.
With your friends this could mean choosing the bar or restaurant you’re going to check out on Friday night. I often am looked to and asked where we should go because I try to think of a few options prior to meeting everyone. At work it could mean presenting a particular solution when everyone else in the room is sitting on the fence, fearful of committing one way or the other. With your girl this could mean always picking which activity you’ll pursue when the question arises.
Long story short, people will almost always respect and work with someone who shows they can be more decisive. It creates an atmosphere of certainty and less flip-flopping. Show those around you that you are not afraid to take the reigns.
5. Indecision Can Spread To Others Quickly
Decision-making is a habit like any other. If you’re at dinner with someone who can’t even choose what they’d like to drink off the menu, chances are they can’t make any other decisions without their stress levels shooting through the roof either. If you are also indecisive, it will only make the other person equally unable to form a decision.
What this means for you is if you don’t start practicing making quick, firm decisions you’ll be practicing not being able to make decisions by default. There’s no middle ground. When you’re at dinner, make a quick choice and forget about it. When you’re with your boys, voice your opinion about what you think you should do. By constantly making small decisions quickly, you’ll be able to face the tougher ones with a firm resolve as well.
The ability to be more decisive will prevent larger or more complex problems from forming. Indecision spreading to others can be catastrophic in certain environments like the workplace. You definitely don’t want to be the reason you or a co-worker got fired. If you are entirely unsure you can always do a little research before collaborating again. You may even come back with fresh ideas.
So there you have it – 5 great reasons to up your decision-making abilities. It will benefit you and everyone else around you to be more decisive in your actions and ideas when it is needed. Just remember, some decisions are minor and do not require all your brain power!