Many of our worries arise from our postponement of decisions. Don’t vacillate. It is better to make a wrong choice than to tear yourself apart making and unmaking the same decision.
Where there is indecision, there are doubts. Where there are doubts, you have conflict. Where you have conflict, you have symptoms. The longer your indecisiveness lasts, the more difficult the problem seems to become. If you vacillate long enough, your state of anxiety can become chronic.
There is no recipe for infallibility. The trouble with most of us is that we want some sure-fire recipe for being right 100 per cent of the time. There is no such recipe.
A successful business executive once said that the difference between success and failure lay in being right 52 per cent of the time, instead of 48 per cent of the time.
In nearly every business decision someone must have the courage to take positive action without having in hand all the facts and data to make that decision risk-free. To wait for all the necessary information may mean missing an opportunity, may mean a more aggressive competitor will take the important initiative, may mean a timing failure. Timing in business affairs is vital. So usually someone, a manager with courage, must stick his neck out and decide to do something—now!
The amount of time you take to make a decision should be based on its importance. “Will my decision make any difference in my life a year from now?” is a hackneyed question. Still, the amount of time and thought you should devote to the decision will be affected by the answer.
Don’t waste too much time on trifling decisions. Probably it will make no difference a year from now whether you wear your blue suit or your gray one. If you’re wasting time over that decision, you may be running away from a more important one.
Write down advantages and disadvantages of important decisions. If you have a fairly important decision to make, get all the facts you can that have a bearing on it. Then get a sheet of paper and draw a line down the center. On the left side, write the reasons in favor of the step you are thinking of taking. On the right side, list the reasons against it.
You might even assign a figure from one to ten for each reason, giving your estimate of the importance of that factor. If you find your reasons for taking a particular step add up to 80, and the reasons against it to 110, you have a clear mathematical picture of what you ought to do.
Then “sleep on it.” The unconscious mind is able to evaluate factors that the conscious mind sometimes skips. So sleep on your decision. Let the unconscious mind pass along its answer to your conscious mind.
At times the decisions of the unconscious mind represent clearer and sounder thinking than you can produce with your everyday conscious mind. Accept the guidance of your unconscious mind for cues to your best course of action.
Most importantly, make a decision. Not only will failing to make a decision cause anxiety, failing to make a decision is itself a decision. If you do not decide to start a blog, or join Toastmasters, or take some other action, you are deciding not to do those things.
Take stock, list the pros and cons, tap into your subconscious, then make a decision and act on it.