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How to be more decisive?

Updated on May 8, 2011

It has been said that more is lost to indecision than to wrong decision.

If you have ever been in a situation where you just couldn't make up your mind, you are not alone. Scientists estimate that up to one fifth of adults suffer from indecisiveness. (Díaz-Morales JF, Ferrari JR, Cohen JR.)

What are some practical tips to become more decisive?

First of all you should consider that indecisiveness may be coming from a lack of self confidence. We've all seen people who are highly confident just breezing through life, deciding their next steps without any difficulty. I believe you can be like that too.

The most important and yet the most difficult step towards being a decisive person is to stop worrying about what others will think about your choices. Usually decisive = independent. This is very hard for most people so that's why the matter should be approached in a step-by-step way.

You should try to get into the habit of making quicker, small decisions on your own. It can begin with even simple things like choosing what to wear, what to eat, where to eat, who to go out with etc. If you get used to behaving in this way, you will have formed a habit that will be tough to break.

Another tip is to set time limits. Don't allow yourself to take ages before you reach a simple decision. Simply state to yourself that you will make a decision before a specific time. Of course this should be realistic, for example nobody can make an informed decision about what house to buy in a matter of hours.

Another obstacle in your decision making is probably fear of regret. We have all made choices in life that we regret. Nobody can make only good decisions. The important thing to remember is that good preparation will probably improve your chances of making the right call. It is also true that the more choices you make, the greater the chance of making more correct ones. Try to gain confidence in yourself with every little decision you make.

Writing this hub reminds me of this song by U2 (this is the live version with Bruce Springsteen):

Remember there are many people who have a hard time setting their minds on something. Always considering your options also means that you have a very open mind and would like to embrace more of the world around you.

Indecision also keeps us safe sometimes. Our conscience somehow prevents us from making really bad choices. It's important however not to let the fear of decision-making paralyze you. Accept who you are and present yourself to the world just like that. Think about it, what's the worst thing that could happen?

Most of us have great difficulty opening up but I'm sure you've had experiences where doing this only made other people open up as well. You may even discover that there are many people in the same situation as yourself, just looking for somebody to relate to. You may even find new friends.

Further reading

To conclude this short hub I would like to recommend some books you may find useful:

Thank you for reading and I wish you all the best!



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    • spotlight19 profile image

      Jennifer Pena 6 years ago from California

      Great and useful hub there Im sure this will really help other people break indecision and learn how to make decisions.

    • profile image

      Stu From VT 6 years ago

      Very good post. I think the root causes of indecision align almost exactly with what you pointed out:

      (1) Not seeking a middle between no analysis and analysis paralysis.

      (2) Worrying too much what other people will think of your decision.

      (3) Not aligning the amount of analysis with materiality. "Anything not worth doing at all is not worth doing well." If the penalty for a bad decision is immaterial, just wing it. It leaves more time for the decisions that really matter.

      (4) Failure to concede that you will rarely have perfect or complete information. Ultimately, you have to take a risk based on whatever information you can gather in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise, you are still making a decision, to accept the status quo, which may not be a good decision.

    • cwarden profile image

      cwarden 6 years ago from USA

      These are some really helpful tips. I realized I have had quite a few indecisive days lately and I want to thank you for the great information to help me snap out of it!

    • stefancando profile image

      stefancando 6 years ago from Iasi

      Thanks for the nice comments!

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      Great advice....I was not sure if I should comment....but after 3 hours of thinking about it....I decided to up

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      Great Hub. Lots of really usefull information that will help the majority of us to be more decisive. Many thanks for sharing.