The Weekly Dream: Life Decisions
“The Most difficult thing to do in life is to make a decision”
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
Growing up, my father always told me that as a leader and a man, all that I could do was to make the best decision I could with the information I had. Throughout my childhood, there was tremendous pressure to make a decision and stick to it. Compound that with living with Garlin Gilchrist II, the most decisive person I know, I learned how to troop it out whether I was right or wrong.
But lately, I have noticed how indecisive we are as human beings. At first, I was a little annoyed and frustrated because dealing with indecisiveness slows down the process when time is of the essence. Everyone can relate to the agony of having to wait for someone who cannot make up their mind.
A particular pet peeve of mine is when I go to a restaurant with someone who takes forever to order. They make it a life decision, while everyone else is starving. Equally frustrating is indecisiveness in the relationship context. Most common is when an individual’s indecisiveness causes the other person to feel like they are being led on. It is not like the restaurant example where eventually you can order without them. As a team, everyone must be on board with a decision. Indecisiveness must be the sixth man of team dysfunctions.
The Horns of a Dilemma
After I moved pass my initial aversion, I found the reasons behind indecisiveness to be fascinating. The way I figure, people hesitate to make decisions for basically three reasons. First, they do not have enough information to make a quality decision. They are either waiting to find out some more facts, they are in the process of seeking more information, or there are independent variables that will affect their decision.
Second, an individual has too much information at his disposal and is suffering from “Analysis Paralysis.” They try to account for every permutation of a situation and end up never making a decision.
Third, an individual knows what to do, but cannot bring themselves to do it (i.e. fear). For example, there might be that young man or young lady you know is no good for you, and you know you need to stop dealing with them, but for whatever reason, you do not. To me, this last type of indecision is the most insidious because it hurts credibility and makes a person look weak because of a seeming unwillingness to accept responsibility. On the other hand, who can really know what is around the corner?
What To Do, What To Do?
It is quite effective to know what category you are operating from. Equally important is to be aware what decisions are yours to make and which are not. You cannot keep passing the buck. At the same time, you cannot rob someone of their freewill. God does not do it, so we do not have the right.
When we have difficulty coming to a decision, we should seek guidance. Proverbs says, “lean not unto your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path.” How many of us begin our decision process by including God? I know I am guilty of not coming to Him first. But we should remember that He is always there as a source of strength and guidance for all the challenges life presents us with.
Next, we must embrace our own fallibility. We do not have to be right all the time, but we should do our best to do the right thing in every situation. Who can really know what the future holds? Mistakes will be made, but it is how you rectify those mistakes and use them as stepping stones that makes all the difference.
Finally, discipline yourself and your thinking. Move from the initial emotional level and try to articulate why you believe a course of action is correct. If something just “feels right” that may be a clue to seek more information by going down that road. This is especially important when your decision impacts others. There is an affirmative duty to communicate to all concerned parties why you decided to do what you did. If you change your mind, communicate why. Doing this maintains people’s confidence in your ability to make sound decisions.
Your life will be defined by the choices you make. In the moment of decision, you learn about your true self. Do not take that gift lightly. In the words of my mother, if you do not make a decision, someone will make it for you.
Share with us your “decision experiences.” What was the process and the ultimate outcome of a recent decision you made? Or why do you think people are so indecisive sometimes?
Truth and Peace,
Steven M Devougas