Indecision

How To Deal With Indecision

“People say I’m indecisive, but I don’t know about that.” – George Bush

“Ummm… I’m not sure…” We all suffer from indecision at times. If we are not careful, this can become a debilitating problem which feeds on itself. Indecision is often related to lack of self confidence and a tendency to worry about potential problems. To overcome indecision we need to have the faith to follow our intuition, bearing in mind that sometimes it is not what we do, but rather how we do things that is important.

Both Options Can Work

“Indecision is often worse than wrong action.” – Henry Ford

Sometimes we feel that it is of vital importance to choose the right course of action. We feel that one choice must be the ‘right’ one and the other option ‘wrong’. However, this is often a mistake. What is important is how we make use of our choices. Maybe we have a choice between going to two different places; as long as we have the right attitude we can cultivate happiness wherever we go. If we are constantly worrying about our decision, then we will not be able to enjoy life even if we choose the so called ‘right action’.

I know a friend who regrets a choice he made at age 21 (not getting a certain job). He blames this for unhappiness in is life 15 years later. This is a mistake as the choice is much less important than he thinks; life is what we make of it and is not just about making the ‘right choices’. Don’t fret about making the perfect choice; just retain the best attitude to wherever life might take you.

Generate Self Confidence

Indecision often occurs because we lack self confidence and doubt our abilities. Perhaps we would like to take a trial for a sports team, but we fear whether we are good enough. The internal debate becomes about whether we should risk taking the trial. In this case, we should not be worrying about our potential limitations. Instead, we should follow our instinct – we have much less to lose than our mind would admit. If we ignore our misplaced anxieties, it will be easier to follow new choices, without worrying about whether it is worth taking the step.

Don’t Worry About What Others Expect You To Do

Related to the previous point is the concern about what others may think of our decisions. We all face choices where our instinct is to go one way, but then we worry about what people will think of our decision. We can take the advice of other people, but, if we really feel one course of action is the right choice, that is what we should do. Don’t give too much importance to the opinions of society; it is your life, not theirs.

Speak With A Friend

Sometimes the indecision can go round our mind in circles, creating a downward spiral of indecision. When this occurs it is good to discuss the problem with a trusty friend. We should not ask the friend to choose for us. But, talking about the issue will help to clarify the problem and get a better perspective; once we have done this it will be easier to choose.

You Won’t Regret Being Kind

If you are having difficulties choosing, consider your motives. Sometimes we want to take a selfish approach, but, some inner conscience is holding us back creating indecision. In these circumstances, we will not regret being kind to others, but, if we act only for our self interest then we often will.

Set Priorities

In life there are always things that we won’t have time to do. We can’t do everything nor should we try. What is important is to have a clear idea of our priorities – family, relationships, our inner life, sport or whatever. When we are faced with decisions, we can quickly refer to our priorities. Maybe your boss wants you to work overtime – the extra money would be nice, but, if you are clear about prioritizing your family life then it will be much easier to immediately say no. It is not possible to have the best of all worlds. We cannot expect to dedicate everything to our career and also spend quality time with our friends and relatives.

Nothing Ventured Nothing Gained

Sometimes we become indecisive because our mind is worrying over all the potential problems. Rather than looking at the problems consider the opportunities. An indecisive mind will always pick up on drawbacks of decisions. Focus on the potential of the situation and this will help make your more decisive; when an opportunity comes along go for it.

 

Tejvan Pettinger lives in Oxford where he writes on issues of self improvement and self development. He updates a blog Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. Recent blog posts include Listening to the Inner Voice.

Image by DerrickT.

  • http://www.valeriemorrison.net/blog Natural

    study long, study wrong. the longer you take to make a decision, the worse it can get.

  • http://shanelyang.com/blogs/articles/ Shanel Yang

    What is it about parents and teachers that makes them want to punish us for making bad decisions? By the time we get out of high school, we feel that every decision is so important that the rest of our lives depend on it. “Neglected to take the right electives in high school or participate in the right extracurricular activities? Well, then you’ll never get into the right college, to get into the right law school, to get into the right law firm, and your whole life is ruined!” No wonder we’re so afraid to take a wrong step!

    All those negative thoughts replay in our brains like a broken record thousands of times a day, making it difficult for us to break free from our indecision. However, there are ways to train ourselves to better, healthy habits of thinking. I write about how at http://shanelyang.com/2008/06/18/10-harmful-thoughts/ and http://shanelyang.com/2008/06/27/50-negative-v-positive-thoughts/

  • http://www.varsityblah.com/about Eugene (Editor, Varsity Blah)

    “Until you’ve lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was.” – Margaret Mitchell

    I think this captures the idea of making up your own mind!

    • Jeff

      meaning is?

  • http://jobmob.co.il/ Jacob from JobMob

    To me, indecision is a like a mini-depression. Once you’re in it, it seems like it will never end. Also, no advice given can instantly wake you out of it. It will either pass by itself or you’ll change as a result of much effort.

    • Hotty

       not really..lol

    • Passerby

      I think this is true. Hotty may not think so but I suffer from indecision, over both little and big things. So much so I may become stagnant because of it.
      Advice can’t snap you out of it; you just fall into the mindset again after a while and it starts all over.
      So this article is less about how to stop indecision and more how to be more confident in stepping forward and making a decision; regardless of what it is. And only through effort and the desire to change will you overcome it.

  • RaAr

    Good article, many things explaned about decisions making which realy help, their is one more thing that we do right or wrong decision our desired to be make good out of it & things which to happen that will sure happen what ever we try, like some times we takes decision which we thinks that how I taken that decision however I know that its wrong, so what ever decision we take happy in it & give to our best service to it.

  • http://www.expressyourselftosuccess.com Laurie

    Good article – lots of good advice.

    Indecision is a decision, it’s just not one we make purposefully and is a do-nothing approach. I think that at times we believe that when we make a decision, and it turns out to be wrong, that it’s “game over” – but it’s not. It’s a different game with new decisions to be made. Understanding that we can handle whatever comes our way relieves stress and is empowering. It allows us to move forward by choice, not by default.

  • Michael Carthy

    Indecision is directly affecting my life, in a very much negative way. Since leaving school I have made little progression in my life in terms of my career choices, so far I have been in two jobs and attended three different colleges, and I still feel like I need to change.

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  • Maverick

    The article was really helpful. I’ve gained a lot of things through it. My self confidence increased. thanks for wrting the article.

  • Rafael

    Amazing article!! I wasn’t expecting to see such great advices. Thanks!!

  • Courtney

    Indecision has affected me in such a negative way. I have not pursued dream of going to university, or finding a new job because I am terrified of the outcome. However, this has showed me that I have to focus on the positive, and things will improve. My life is not going to get better if I am never trying anything new.

  • Nudina

    Thank you for the article. It really helps me.

  • Zeehussain 786
  • Gillwarner

    I agree with Laurie. My husband suffers from indecision, it is a scapegoat for non committal!

  • michael Edinger

    good . 
    a way of challenging your own indecision is this tactic:  
    assuming you have to decide between two options : 
    flip a coin . 
    now  stick with the decision dictated by the coin. 
    If you don´t have to act immediately, 
     you can then tell yourself the decision is made, and that ´s that. 
    Accepting the decision as final , does it make you happier or not ?
    later on, 
    you may  imagine you have to stick to it,  and sense  your gut reaction 
    that gut feeling tells you what the right decision from your own perspective would be.  

  • Amy Mandy M

    I realised just a moment ago that i was suffering from indecision…i generally thought it was just confusion…i am thankful for this article…its just opened the eyes of my heart in this very difficult situation…

  • Blamie
  • Littleblackangel

    Thank you so much for this advice. This is so helpful!!

  • Paul

    What about the opposite of indecision? Impulsiveness-

    You have a decision to make and you either do it out of fear or out of peer pressure. 

    Either way you feel better for having made a decision but now you have to live with the unhappiness for just going along with the crowd or you relive the decision - 

    I’ve made many decisions like this and been salty afterwards for just having gone along with the group when I knew I had a better way or regretted just going along. 

    Conversely, I’ve had decisions that I’ve made on my own and in not being sure of myself will discuss it afterwards with someone else and open it back up to critique. 

    Wonder if you have any thoughts or comments on that? 

  • Paul

    What about the opposite of indecision? Impulsiveness-

    You have a decision to make and you either do it out of fear or out of peer pressure. 

    Either way you feel better for having made a decision but now you have to live with the unhappiness for just going along with the crowd or you relive the decision - 

    I’ve made many decisions like this and been salty afterwards for just having gone along with the group when I knew I had a better way or regretted just going along. 

    Conversely, I’ve had decisions that I’ve made on my own and in not being sure of myself will discuss it afterwards with someone else and open it back up to critique. 

    Wonder if you have any thoughts or comments on that? 

  • Paul

    What about the opposite of indecision? Impulsiveness-

    You have a decision to make and you either do it out of fear or out of peer pressure. 

    Either way you feel better for having made a decision but now you have to live with the unhappiness for just going along with the crowd or you relive the decision - 

    I’ve made many decisions like this and been salty afterwards for just having gone along with the group when I knew I had a better way or regretted just going along. 

    Conversely, I’ve had decisions that I’ve made on my own and in not being sure of myself will discuss it afterwards with someone else and open it back up to critique. 

    Wonder if you have any thoughts or comments on that? 

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  • Hind Tariq

    I’m currently in this kind of phase ( indesicve ) and I can’t pull myself out of it.
    But after reading your article I’m going to try my best
    Thank you.

  • Rags

    I googled indecisiveness and came across this article. A lot of self-help articles aren’t all that helpful but this article is great. There are lots of helpful suggestions! Thank you!

  • Cameron

    I am not indecisive about major things, but I do notice sometimes and its just annoying to think about. This article I can say was very helpful, it helped me step back and analyze myself.

  • HBCUGRAD

    I found this article helpful even though some comments below may disagree. The article touched on key points; roots of indecisiveness. I lack confidence, and I do tend to worry about potential problems that could occur if I make the ‘wrong’ decision. I read the article to find out “why” I am indecisive. I’m not here to find ways to fix the symptoms of my issues (meaning learning to cope with it), instead I want to get to the bottom-line reason that causes me to feel this way; fixing that will fix this. Now that I know why I do what I do, I’ll begin working on ways to build my confidence level and learn how to look at my past decisions as being nor good or bad but a choice that I made that I’ve learned from; hopefully becoming a better person. I’m learning that how we deal with our decision is bigger than the decision itself.

  • Cesar_of_21yrs

    My biggest issue right now has been either deciding over whether to fix or sell (give away) my truck.

    *It broke down almost a month ago on feb 16.

    Having read this article I’ve decided that I will give it away for $600, because I do not have money to buy or rebuild the transmission.

    It’s the best way since I will get some money and I will no longer have this ordeal in my mind.

    Thanks for writing it sure helped me feel like I can breathe again.

  • tayokarate .

    I think some decisions can be really difficult life changing risky decisions.I m a doctor in my country in a residency training program.I m financially stable i have a car and my place.I m already 33yrs old and single .I m nt happy living in my country because i feel the govt. does not care abt the people hospital facilities ,roads and infrastructure are poor coupled with the emerging terrorist insurgency,and great unemployment.I wish to make a move to canada to have a better future for me and my future family.My fears are having to do menial jobs wen i leave my country,the high cost of writing professional exams in medicine in canada,l also feel i m getting older and that my chances of getting a specialty training after passing the exams may be slimmer because i ll be much older by the time i m through with them.My parents are in their 70s and i also have a dependent sibling with mental illness living with my parents.I m really finding it difficult as i feel i could jeopardize my future making this move because i would spend all the savings which i could have used to get married in my country and execute other life projects.Are my fears real? Any advice?

    • Jasmin Noelle

      Look at it this way. If you never step out to Canada and follow your dreams (of making a better way of life for your family) then you will be dealing with regret on the other side of things. You’ll get older and may say “what if” I went to Canada and “oh how my life would have turned out if I had gone”. If Family is a high priority in your life, do what it takes to make a bright future for your family. Don’t worry about the money or the menial jobs. Have faith and believe that things will work out fine. You can’t let fear & what ifs hold you back. You only live once & the world is our oyster. It’s here for us to explore it and go on adventures. God is watching over you & will take care of you wherever you go, so you can’t worry about how things may be. Even with all the worrying, it will probably not turn out anyway yo imagine. My advice is to pray about it and seek wisdom from God. He will often confirm things to you either through a person, something you read, or a guy feeling. Things that may seem like “coincidences” may really just be Him confirming things to you. And know even if you make the “wrong” decision His grace still covers you and He will look out for you! I hope this helped some! Don’t keep yourself in a box, last thing you want to do is look back over life and say woulda coulda shoulda. Have faith in yourself and your abilities. Don’t worry about age. Look at all the great ppl of the world who went against the odd&s & broke the rules of the norm..nothing is impossible. God bless!!