This post was written by Brian Zeng, an entrepreneur by spirit and owner of Ponbee.com.
Have you ever felt a piercing pain in your stomach when you are unable to arrive at an important decision?
There is no need to feel disturbed. The most powerful leaders throughout time have grappled with the problem of indecisiveness. What distinguishes them from the rest, however, is their ability to identify the cause of the mental block and get rid of it.
Whether it is deciding which college to graduate from or choosing the right life-partner, decision-making can make one nervous. This inner conflict causes stress and makes one feel less confident.
Decision-making skills are vital in every walk of life.
Swift decision-making ability is a quality that is always in style. In the commercial world, managers are paid big bucks to make tough decisions. People who make good decisions are generally perceived as wise and successful by society.
Indecisiveness can make others doubt your abilities. And if you experience this often, it’s high time you do something about it.
Here are five major causes of indecisiveness and ways to overcome them.
1. Fear of Taking Responsibility.
At times, you fear making decisions either because you do not want to take ownership of the consequences or you’ve had a discouraging experience in the past. Either way, you avoid making a decision by brushing the problem under the carpet as you do not want to take the blame if something goes wrong.
The Way out: Learn to live with the consequences of your decisions – good or bad.
Take responsibility for your choices and learn from your experiences. If your decision has led you to move away from close friends, know that you can make new ones.
Choosing a dream job in another city will separate you from your family, but look at the positive side – you are living your dreams. Moreover, you can always meet them on weekends.
Fearing the outcome of a choice can keep you from taking risks and trying new things. When you dare to stand by your decision, you learn to find your feet in tough situations.
Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?”
When you identify your fear, you are ready with concrete solutions. By doing this you weaken its power to control your decision-making ability.
2. Having Countless Choices.
Research has shown that excess of choices can baffle you and drive you into decisions that are not in your best interest. Moreover, asking for too much advice from others will lengthen your list of options and bring you back to square one. So beware of the paradox of choice.
The Way out: Make a list of your choices and write down the pros and cons of each.
This strategy sounds quite obvious. However, the simple act of sitting down with a calm mind and evaluating your options makes you understand every facet of the situation.
You get clarity on your objective and figure out the best way to achieve it.
3. The Call for Perfection.
Often, the desire to be one hundred percent sure of the accuracy/correctness of your decision makes you indecisive. While this aspiration is laudable in most situations, it can trigger excessive stress and lead to a lack of self-trust.
If you strive for perfection in everything, chances are that you will put off making a decision for as long as possible because you fear failure.
The Way out: Procrastination is bad, but perfectionism is worse. Avoid waiting for conditions to be perfect to get started. Start small and accept the fact that new challenges will crop up later. Enjoy the journey and learn to take challenges in your stride.
Mark Zuckerberg started with a small business objective of connecting college students and faced multiple decision-making issues when he launched Facebook. However, he decided to take some calculated risks backed by solid groundwork.
Mark approached every problem by asking “Will this help us grow?” and this helped him plan in advance for contingencies. Facebook now connects the world and is a global phenomenon.
Thus, don’t wait until the conditions are flawless; simply go for it!
4. Being a People Pleaser.
Nothing leads to indecisiveness faster than letting the desire to please others dictate your actions.
Everything, from choosing a new dress to deciding what to eat, seems like a life-altering choice because you are allowing people’s views to drown your voice.
The Way out: Make self-awareness a priority. You cannot make everyone happy.
For instance, your friend asks you to pick the cuisine for dinner and you choose Mexican food. Maybe he longed for Italian food? But he asked you and you were honest, and your opinion is acceptable!
This principle applies to the bigger decisions of your life as well. Only you can make decisions that are right for you so focus on your own likes and dislikes.
5. The Analysis-Paralysis Issue.
Indecisiveness can be the result of over-thinking.
After over-processing the issue, there comes a time when you feel handicapped about making a decision.
Without a doubt, analysis is done with the intention to come up with judicious decisions and strategies. However, over-analyzing will worsen your ability to make a prompt decision.
The Way out: Accept the limits of analyzing a situation.
Understand that over-analyzing a situation will not help you in any way. Take quick action, examine the consequences, learn from mistakes, take corrective measures, and move on.
Let’s say you desire to pursue a course that will help you gain an edge over your peers at your workplace. In such a case, fretting over your ability to cope with the additional challenges that will come with pursuing further studies is futile. You will face challenges while managing your home, work, and studies. Accepting these challenges and overcoming them will make you more confident.
Making decisions, big or small, is like standing at the crossroads of life. Every decision you make comes with a certain proportion of risk attached to it, yet you ought to make a choice.
The above pointers will help you banish indecisiveness so that you are able to make up your mind.