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The Fear of Making Decisions

Updated on September 2, 2014

“Please do make your decisions in life and feel confident that they are right. However, if fate is involved, feel just as confident even if they aren’t.”

― C. Elizabeth, Absolute Obsession

Romance writer C Elizabeth is certainly confident, despite a relatively short writing career. The writer of short novella Absolute Obsession has many creative outlets, including photography, cooking and of course, writing.

Decisions are a pain to make, for many understandable reasons. We have difficulty making them every day.

Yet not making them creates a scenario of guaranteed failure. Being more decisive, as with all matters of personal development, is gradual, deliberate and in most cases, certainly painful.


1. Why we fear making decisions.

That pain causes us to balk when we have to make choices. It comes in different forms.

We are brought up not to fail. Well-intentioned parents, with their desire to set us up for success, tell us that it is undesirable. The social circles in which we interact discount us when we do not make successes of ourselves. The fear of such ostracism is enough to make us balk at making tough choices.

To add, we doubt ourselves. We are afraid to embrace new concepts. We fear the challenge of new ideas. Our ever-present lack of knowledge holds us back from moving forward.

Humans need the security of the tried and tested. They need to understand the waters in which they sail so that they can charter them.

We fear the responsibility of dealing with the consequences of an inevitably sinking ship.

The Key to Better Decision Making

2. The consequences of indecision

Ironically, the ship does sink when we refuse to make these necessary, though fearful, choices.

If we do not make them, we never move forward. Our growth is paralysed.

We are unable to cope when change is inevitable, with no way to run to higher ground when a tsunami strikes.

Not making the decisions you have to actually makes you more insecure. Though every decision involves risk, not making it guarantees failure.

Not making the choice between abandoning your home and moving to higher ground means certain fatality in a tsunami. We cannot stay still and retreat within a shell.


3. How do we become more decisive?

How, then, do we become more decisive? Stability is never assured when we weigh our decisions, then painfully make them.

No matter how we try to avoid the crushing wave of defeat, it comes. Pounding. Hard.

It is a rogue, but we can counter it when we know what is making us indecisive. When we understand our fears, we can better address them.

We can start to develop the tools to counter these frightening anxieties. Perhaps it is the fear of losing savings in an investment. It is better, then, to make a smaller one.

Then, developing healthy self-belief, without arrogance, does not hurt. Belief that you are capable, no matter the naysaying, always pushes us to positive rewards.

Practicing a little positive visualisation helps in this area, without a doubt. If we visualize the rewards of our choices, we attract them.

It helps to have a concrete plan and not be impulsive.

And then, embrace failure and mistakes. They will be there, perennial nuisances that they are.


Mirror Cinquain Poem: Retreating Turtle


Head drawn in shell

Fears tender flesh exposed

And the oncoming flood of tide



Its wrecked shell covered in old weeds

It stays blessed within

Still protected

It rots.

4. Conclusion

Make a choice. You are not friends with the turtle that retreats within its shell.


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    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      You come across as decisive, Devika, from you hubs and writing!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you, Blossom!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      I guess it's easier to remember perspective, Janet!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Certainly is, Denise!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Change is not easy to like at all, Barbara!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Manatita.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Bill.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks. Chirptra!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Brie.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Yes. Finding support is one way to make decisions, Rasma!

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Some people are fearful of going over the deep end, Bill.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      6 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      I never thought of myself of showing fear when making decisions. I always do what I think is right for me. You have created an interesting and helpful hub on decision making.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 

      6 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      It's so difficult to make decisions sometimes - and it's worse when there's no one but yourself to blame if it wasn't the right one. Well written and pithy.

    • janetwrites profile image

      Janet Giessl 

      6 years ago from Georgia country

      I'm a person who always struggles with making decisions. I always need people to help me with making decisions. When I make a decision I often tend to regret it. That's so bad. I try to work on that but it's such a damn habit. Thank you for sharing this interesting and well-written hub.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      6 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Self-doubt is a tough one to overcome. The indecision that results from it can tear families apart and wreck jobs.

    • manatita44 profile image


      6 years ago from london

      Beautifully written and to me covered well some essential truths. The Maths guy? well .....

    • Barbara Kay profile image

      Barbara Badder 

      6 years ago from USA

      I am one of those people that don't like change. Without change we just stay stagnant though with the same old life.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      I like the turtle, as well. I know many folks just like this. Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      6 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Nice hub and very clever of you to bring in Turtle to make your point.

      As you said many people are not decisive and sometimes they think and think a lot but are unable to decide.

      Voted up as interesting!

    • Brie Hoffman profile image

      Brie Hoffman 

      6 years ago from Manhattan

      I read somewhere once that the key to success is to fail faster. Also, while I believe in making good decisions sometimes it does help to marinate on a plan for awhile to see if it will work so there is a balance.

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 

      6 years ago from Daytona Beach, Florida

      It is difficult to make decisions at the best of times. I was reminded of the saying damned if you do damned if you don't. When it comes to decision making my hubby and I do it together. So to say share the burden. Making decisions when called for online is an entirely different matter and often I find my self taking more time than necessary and have a time or two almost missed an important deadline for something I might or might not want to be a part of. Passing this on.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have people in my family who are terrified of making important decisions, so much so that they literally become paralyzed. That's not me. I just make them and deal with it. :) Very original way of making your point here, Michelle.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Dianna!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      You did this very well, Michelle. The use of the turtle photos is clever in making a point. I'm sure many will learn to make good decisions from following your advice.

    • midget38 profile imageAUTHOR

      Michelle Liew 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Decisions, decisions. What a dilemma!


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