According to Bob Proctor, decisiveness is one of the characteristics of successful people. He claims that successful people make decisions quickly, and change them slowly, while others make decisions slowly and change them quickly. I believe anyone can learn to be more decisive, and that decisiveness helps to build a positive self-image because it builds confidence which leads to success.
Truthfully, I’ve shillyshallied on decisions quite a bit in my lifetime. I thought that was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to make a mistake, or regret my decision. Besides, weighing the pros and cons of a decision is responsible and mature. Isn’t it?
When I read Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Multz, and again when I studied 12 Principles of Success with Bob Proctor, I learned that being decisive is actually important for several reasons. Being decisive helps you gain confidence, and conserves your energy. It builds your self-image.
Bob Proctor gave an example of betting at a roulette table that I found helpful. He said that if you’re playing roulette and placing a bet, there’s no point agonizing over your decision once your bet is placed. The time to weigh your pros and cons, and to be indecisive is before your chips are down. Once the bet is placed, and the wheel is spinning, there’s really nothing more you can do. At that point, all you can do is hope for, and visualize, the best outcome.
I feel this is true. I wonder how many times I shillyshallied over a decision because I was afraid of making a mistake. That sort of perfectionism is paralyzing. It wastes vast amounts of mental energy that could better be used elsewhere. Finally being indecisive, existing tentatively in the world, harms your confidence and self image.
Most people are quiet in the world, and live in it tentatively, as if it were not their own.
How to Be More Decisive
To become more decisive, begin by practicing with small decisions. Make your firm decision, then stop worrying about it. This will build evidence to support your self image as a decisive person.
A great, everyday-way to practice being decisive is when ordering dinner at a restaurant. Instead of agonizing over choices, pick and be done.
I feel like my problems with being decisive all relate back to my fear of making a bad decision. However, choosing between a chicken burrito bowl and a pulled pork sandwich should not leave me stuck and vacillating between one option or another. The potential for harm if I make a bad decision is what? A delicious dinner that I didn’t have to cook? Poor me!
I can waste so much time and energy looking at a restaurant menu, when really, it doesn’t matter. It is much better, particularly in these smaller, less consequential matters, to make a firm decision, and then forget about it.
By doing this, over time, I will see myself as a decisive person. Because I see myself as a decisive person, I will be a decisive person, and act decisively.
In his book, Psycho-Cybernetics, Maxwell Multz gives a prescription for freeing what he calls your creative machinery (your imagination) to support firm decision-making. He outlines 4 ways to make better decisions. Then, he gives a mental training exercise to help build your decisiveness going forward.
Creatively Make Better Decisions
1. Once a decision is made, focus on supporting it, not second-guessing it.
2. Focus only on the here and now.
3. Do only one thing at a time.
4. Sleep on it.
Mental Exercise to Strengthen Decisiveness
Immediately after reaching a decision, whether business or personal, create a little mental picture or mental movie. In this mental movie, see yourself taking all the information, and pros and cons, and concerns or reservations, and locking them away in a vault or lock-box. Now, anything that might make you indecisive is locked away.
Next, imagine seeing yourself writing your decision on a piece of paper, and sticking it in an envelope. Seal the envelope and write “DONE” along with the date on the envelope. Then, lock the envelope away as well. Brush off your hands, turn off the light in your imagined storage area, and walk out into the sunlight.
Repeat this visualization. After watching your mental movie a couple of times, you can shorten it down to stills or slides. Then, view them quickly: click, click, click, click!
Congratulations! Now, you are decisive.
Remember, perfectionism, or fear of making a mistake, will paralyze you. Make a firm decision. Once your decision is made, forget about it. Focus on supporting your decision instead of second-guessing. This is easier when you stay in the moment, instead of borrowing future troubles you may never encounter.
Begin by being decisive in small matters. This will build your confidence, and self image as a decisive person. Once your decision is made, you can use your imagination to reduce any second-guessing you may be tempted to do.
Anyone can choose to be more decisive. Being more decisive helps to build a positive self-image because it builds confidence which leads to success.