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The Meaning of Being Decisive or Indecisive

Updated on August 24, 2017

What is Decisiveness

Being decisive is the ability to quickly, effectively, and confidently make decision. Can you do that? Or do you find yourself doubting, struggling, feeling overwhelmed, changing your mind and procrastinating?

Indecisive people tend to be people pleasers at their core. They want to make peace and harmony with everyone, They can subtly pick up details that may make the decision more challenging. They want everyone's opinion before figuring out what they should do. They're scared of making the wrong decision. They don't want to take charge. They worry excessively about which decision to make. They take a long time to make up in their minds. They don't want to mess anything up. they put a lot of pressure on themselves to choose correctly. After making a decision they agonize if they made the right choice. They are not risk takers. They like to know the outcome as soon as possible because waiting causes more anxiety. They may make a pro-con list. and when they do make the right decision they are so so proud.

What Do You Feel When You Have To Make a Decision?

Little and Big Decisions - What they Mean

Making decisions is always difficult, but there is a cost to being indecisive. When you hand your choices over to someone else, you lose some autonomy and some of your happiness.

If someone else is in charge, all the things that matter from the little things that add up, to the big things that have real meaning, you are being led by someone else. How can you possibly achieve the level self satisfaction that you seek?

What Does Our Brain Do When We Make Decisions

You tell yourself you don’t really care about the decision. But you should care. Because being indecisive can have a long lasting impact on your quality of life. Autonomy gives you freedom and satisfaction and is an integral part of your own happiness. While decisions are hard, having someone choose everything for you would crimp your style.

Decision making occurs in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. When you make a decision, the mind uses its executive functions to think ahead, think of consequences, and assess the value of the choice.

Decision making involves a means-end analysis. You decide what you want the end result to be, and work backwards to create a path forward. It’s a lot of work, with a lot of possible paths, and choosing can be overwhelming.

Sometimes, or most of the time, you may not want to choose out of fear of making the wrong decision. Research has found, people who are indecisive, feel emotionally unstable about making a choice. Making a decision often causes a level of anxiety. People who indecisive often question themselves. They have less confident in their ability to succeed, fear mistakes and are full of doubt, causing them to question themselves over and over again.

Emotional Intelligence and the Ability to Make Decisions

Annamaria DiFabio and her team conducted research in 2013,at the University of Florence in Italy, on indecisiveness. They found emotional intelligence (capacity to be aware, and express emotions, the ability to sense others feelings) was the biggest factor in being able to be decisive.

Lack of emotional intelligence can cause someone to be stuck with even small decisions. The study found people who have trouble making decisions, have trouble coping and manging their own emotions.

The good news is emotional intelligence can be taught, which can ease the chore of making decisions. The more aware you are about your own difficulties in making decisions. This is the first step toward building an inner strength, resulting in decision making being more fulfilling.

Benefits of Being Decisive

There are many benefits to being decisive. Even if you make the wrong decision, you are telling yourself you care about the end result. Indecisiveness can cause you to shut down more than one feeling. Apathy can cause you to have less feelings about other things.

You will feel more invigorated, more energized, and more in touch with yourself when you find yourself making decisions. In the big picture, you want to have a say in your life, to feel a sense of satisfaction, and to engage your emotions. It is perfectly fine to consider others, to compromise, to respect what others want to do. But it is also important for you to consider yourself, to not sacrifice your own needs, and to respect yourself.

Your preferences matter. What you care about has meaning to you. And you do count. Your happiness depends on you taking responsibility for yourself, your desires, your wants, and your needs.

Believe and Decide

Your mind is great and wonderful and has an awesome processing unit designed to make decisions. Believe in yourself. Believe you have the ability to make just as good decisions as everyone else. Believe you have the power to think, to adapt, adjust, and the rationality to take on the issues and situations you are debating. Being decisive will bring you progress.

  • Observe
  • Weigh the information
  • Get more information if needed
  • Choose a course of action even if you are uncertain

The best decision is the one you make with the available data, even if it is flawed. In reality, most decisions are made with incomplete information. Even when you are sure about something, things change. You can drive home the same way everyday, and some days there are unexpected detours. This is the metaphor for life. Nothing is guaranteed. Just make a decision the best way you can. It might fail, it might succeed, but you will learn, you will adjust, and you will grow.

Making no decision can have more damaging repercussions than making a wrong decision. The more decisions you make, the better you will become at making decisions.

The Two Sides of Decision Making

There are two sides to a decision. One is the skill. The more you practice it, the better you will become. The other is the feeling. Decisiveness comes from feeling confident, sure, and strong.

When you are faced with a decision you are unsure about, engage your body. Physically put yourself in a position where you are standing tall. Hold your head high. Make your breathing steady. Pay attention. Your mind will start to get more focused and feed into your own body language.

Think back to a time when you felt decisive. Engage this feeling. Let this internal emotional energy become a source of strength within. Don’t let yourself get confused, or overwhelmed.

Don’t become frozen by the choices. Think clearly, critically, with the idea you are assessing, evaluating, and refining the information you have.

How To Be More Decisive

Sometimes the reason to not decide is regret. Regret is a bitter emotion. Feeling the right decision could have been made with a better result causes feelings that may never leave your mind. But with regret comes forgiveness. Bad decisions happen to good people all the time. No one has a crystal ball. You will get over the consequences and the opportunity to make better decisions is even more promising. Move forward, there are more decisions to be made.

Being decisive is a 5 step process

  • Describe the situation

  • Outline the options

  • Look at the big picture

  • Make a choice based on what is the wisest, or what will make you happiest

  • Compliment yourself for making a decision

  • Don’t revisit your thinking

Decisiveness is the willingness to take a chance and believe you can make a choice amidst complex and uncertain circumstances.

Decisions can be a burden, but the outcomes can offer relief. Know who you are, your values, your personal objectives. Live a life of quality, of joy, of autonomy, of competence, and of connectedness and you will have a fulfilling life. A great and a good life comes from self responsibility. Don’t hand the reins that your control over to someone else. They may lead you on a path you never wanted to be on. Keep your power by gaining the courage to make the right decisions for yourself.

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7 Moments That Are Terrifying For Indecisive People Boldly Boldly

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