I witnessed the death of a squirrel. A few miles into a morning run on a brisk morning, I saw the squirrel in the middle of the road nibbling at something. Past the squirrel a car was approaching. The sound of the car must have caught its attention and it darted to one side of the road. The squirrel was safe or so it seemed. In a horrific turn of events, the squirrel ran back across the road only to be met with the tires of the oncoming car. It happened quickly but it seemed to be in slow motion as I watched the scene unravel. As I ran past the scene of the road kill, I blamed the squirrel for acting indecisively, which led to its untimely death.
It’s not only squirrels that fall victim to indecision. We too, can also be victims of this subtle but deadly habit. Napoleon Hill, who wrote one of the bestselling books of all time, Think and Grow Rich, said, “The worst of all human ailments: indecision.” Most, if not all, of the time, indecision is rooted in fear. When fear becomes a running theme in your life, indecision is normally the fruit of it. Even with as much information as possible, fear will still get the best of us and make us find a reason to dwell in the place of indecision. Continuous indecision lowers our risk tolerance. When we are indecisive, we evade responsibility, and with it we drown the opportunity of empowerment that comes through exercising our God-given ability to make decisions. Bestselling author, John Ortberg is quoted as saying, “Greatness is never achieved through indecision.” We end up living by default instead of by design. Indecision is equally born out of a denial of the inevitable. By refusing to accept the realities of the season or circumstance we are in, we settle for indecision. Words like “this is unfair” or “life is too hard” can make us numb to reality. As soon as we accept reality we are one step closer to a decision that can change our current predicament and inch us closer to our destiny. Denial makes us choose wishful thinking over intentional living. We misuse hope as we slowly gravitate into a life of poor planning and emergencies.
You can expect these 4 outcomes from a life of indecision:
- Missed opportunities: Often the opportunity of a lifetime must be taken advantage of in the lifetime of the opportunity. Indecision will make us miss out on moments in life that could have had a large impact on our future. Regret is often the outcome of missed opportunities largely due to indecision. Once again, I will defer to Napoleon Hill who said, “Opportunity never sneaks up on those who straddle the fence of indecision.”
- Death to passion and creativity: If you want to commit suicide in the area of passion and creativity, indecision is the noose that will accomplish this. Passion and creativity owe their growth to continuous decision making in the face of hardships. Decision-makers are never short on these two essentials because they use decision making to stoke their passion and feed their creativity.
- Stagnancy: Just like the squirrel’s life came to a stop, so does life become stagnant when it is riddled with indecisiveness. It’s better to venture out in the deep and discover what is out there, rather than stay confined in the shallow waters as life passes by because fear has held you captive on the shores of indecision. Additionally, indecision will cause your influence with others will wane. When you lose your influence you become less and less dependable especially in relationships that matter. Apathy and lethargy will be the symptoms that reflect stagnancy.
- Go with the flow mentality: Your thinking will be clouded with what other people are doing and you will simply copy others instead of living in your unique purpose and running in your lane. A go with the flow mentality is often the perfect cover for not making a decision. This mentality mortgages your life to the decisions of others and kills your critical thinking process. You will consistently find yourself going with what is trendy and new as opposed to what is tried and true.
How do we begin to gain the upper hand over indecision? Use these 4 questions as a simple road map to overcome any indecision in any area of life:
- How can I confront my fear to arrive at a quality decision and kick the paralysis of fear? You cannot change what you don’t confront. Face your fears head on with faith as your core conviction and get your confidence back. Faith is the outlook that gives you confidence to see the desired outcome and move towards it. Overcoming fear with faith will be a game changer in your life especially in decision making.
- Who can I share with, consult, or learn from regarding my current predicament? Indecision thrives best in isolation. But through prayer, close friends, a counselor, and learning from others who have been through what you are going through you will find necessary aid to move you to a decision.
- What will indecision now, cost me in the long run? Any time expenses are greater than income, a deficit will occur. This key assessment will create a sense of urgency to make a decision.
- In light of what I know, what is the most immediate decision I can make as small as it might be? You will never have all the information you need but if you walk in the light you have now you will discover more light along the way. Get moving!
Final thought: At the core of who you are is an innate desire to progress and live a significant life that benefits others. I challenge you to meet that desire by using the four questions I mentioned above to shrug off indecision. Your future beckons through the action you take based on the next decision you make.
Keep On Keeping On!