5 Reasons Being Indecisive Will Ruin Your Life

Will you take the job? Will you quit the job? Will you text her now or later? Will you break up with her? Will you move? Will you go out or stay in and work? Will you order sushi or thai?

Every single day we face a number of decisions. Each decision will affect you in some way. What you order for dinner will likely have only a small impact on your life. Maybe it will cause you an upset stomach, but that’s about as extreme as it can get.

Other decisions will have greater consequences. Deciding to quit your job, for instance, is sure to have more obvious, long-term effects on your life. But even though this fact can be scary, you cannot let it slow down your decision making process. Sure, there’s more information that must be gathered when it comes to changing careers versus ordering dinner, and the decision will likely take longer as a result. However, it’s important to realize that the dangers of prolonging the decision making process almost always outweigh the benefits of gathering more information.

Here are five reasons you should be making quicker, more concrete decisions:

1. Most decisions are not important

The pareto principle states that roughly 20 percent of causes generally account for 80 percent of the results. This means that roughly 20 percent of the decisions you face will account for 80 percent of the impact on your life. However, aside from obvious long-term decisions like buying a house or getting married, you won’t be able to accurately identify most of these choices. This means you shouldn’t waste time or energy on most decisions, because it will likely cost you more than the outcome affects your life.

For example, I often stress myself out about stupid shit like when I should text a girl or what I should write in said text when I’m single. Even after countless repetitions, I can let a routine decision like this affect my tranquility. I have to remind myself that in all likelihood, it doesn’t fucking matter.

2. A good decision today could be a bad decision tomorrow and vice-versa

This fact can be eye-opening. It’s extremely common to make a decision that grants you an immediately beneficial result, yet you come to regret it in the long-term. The opposite is equally true: it’s not rare to make a decision that seems like it was a terrible choice right after you make it, yet turns out to be a great choice a few weeks, months, or even years down the line.

A common example here is breaking up with a girl or quitting a job. It’s a decision that often causes you tremendous pain and suffering in the weeks and months that follow the decision. However, you usually bounce back with a fierce determination across all areas of your life that propels so much growth that you look back and realize it was actually a good thing overall.

The point is, because external circumstances and prolonged time can change how you view a particular outcome, you shouldn’t waste time worrying about making the “perfect” choice or regretting having made the “wrong” one. At the end of the day, there’s no such thing.

3. Making concrete decisions frees your mind

When there’s something on your mind, an issue or challenge you’re facing, the only way to get it off your mind is to make a decision that addresses the issue at hand. In my case, it doesn’t matter if it’s what book I’m going to write next or what time I should schedule a particular appointment, I can’t stop thinking about it until I’ve come to a firm decision.

The process I’ve recently adopted is keeping a notebook open on my desk. Whenever I catch myself repeatedly thinking about something to the point that it’s distracting me from the task at hand, I make a decision about it and write it down in the notebook. The act of writing it down helps my mind put the issue to rest—it makes me feel like I’ve made a firm decision that I won’t second guess.

4. People immediately identify and respect decision-makers

It doesn’t matter if it’s in a social setting, work environment, or with a girl you’re dating. When you consistently offer a firm decision to any situation that requires one, people recognize it. They unconsciously start to identify you as a leader. You’re aren’t afraid to make decisions and shoulder the responsibility that comes along with it.

With your friends this could mean choosing the bar or restaurant you’re going to check out on Friday night. At work it could mean advocating for a particular solution when everyone else in the room is sitting on the fence, fearful of committing one way or the other. With your girl this could mean always picking which activity you’ll pursue when the question arises.

5. Indecision spreads like wildfire

Decision making is a habit like any other. If you’re at dinner with someone who can’t even choose what they’d like to drink off the menu, chances are they can’t make any other decisions without their stress levels shooting through the roof either. What this means for you is if you don’t start practicing making quick, firm decisions you’ll be practicing not being able to make decisions by default. There’s no middle ground. When you’re at dinner, make a quick choice and forget about it. When you’re with your boys, voice your opinion about what you think you should do. By constantly making small decisions quickly, you’ll be able to face the tougher ones with a firm resolve as well.

If you liked this post, check out my book “Dominate” – it goes further into the topic of living life boldly and making confident decisions. 

Read More: 3 Habits That Every Man Should Practice

63 thoughts on “5 Reasons Being Indecisive Will Ruin Your Life”

  1. An indecisive ideology also makes people look at you like you’re not a top priority, not to mention people stop respecting your ability to stand your ground and drive whatever point you have home. Indecisiveness is also seen as being passive and weak. Whether you’re right or wrong, a nice guy or asshole your flimsy nature shows people so many different hints that range from misinformed, to illogical, to unfit decision making to an all around lack of better judgement.

  2. “On the plains of hesitation lie the blackened bones of countless millions who at the dawn of victory stopped to think shit over, and in thinking shit over, died.”
    And by “stopped to think shit over” I mean “overthought things”. It’s okay to “measure twice and cut once” as the carpenters say; it’s not ok to obsess and make yourself crazy. That leads to overinvestment, one-itis, and other bad shit.
    À bientôt,

    1. In the world of analytical models, they say that you should only use them to “fine-tune your judgment”, rather than to take them as face value; if you do the later, you may end up wasting your time “re-calculating” models while everyone else around you has already place their bets, or worse, made money that you could have made. It’s probably the worst form and consequences of overthinking.

  3. Ohhhh this is one of my biggest weaknesses,but I am trying to stamp it out. Instead of asking people what they want to do, I try to come up with a plan first. 4 is probably the most important one and reason to be decisive. “Im the decider”

  4. Don’t forget to consider the following:
    1. Uncertainties – What you don’t know. If there’s nothing you don’t know, then the decision is trivial. Don’t be the idiot that makes people wait in line because you can’t decide between trivial “decisions” such as chocolate or vanilla.
    2. Alternatives – Know All your options. Getting new options can’t hurt (exception: When you have hundreds or more, it could lead to analysis paralysis; in that case, try to simplify your decision problem)
    3. Your values – Without knowing what you want, you can’t make good decisions. Know what you value other than money, like time, proximity, perks, long-term professional development, brand, etc.
    Source: I concentrated in Decision analysis in grad school

    1. Mallory: “where there’s revolution there’s confusion and when there’s confusion a man who knows what he wants stands a good chance of getting it”
      A fistful of dynamite

  5. One interesting piece of advice for making a decision is to imagine yourself old and think which of the options youd like to remember. The separation usually gives a great deal of clarity on the issue.

  6. I agree with the message, but we also live in uncertain times… I see a lot of young men making bold decisions which have backfired due to our societal melt down.
    You can decide all you want, but the rules of the game (socially, economically, politically, maritally) today are changing so quickly, it’d hard not to hesitate.
    Sometimes there is a time for inaction, like a winter season.

    1. As Johnny Poxville posted earlier, it’s better to make a decision than none. If the decision was not as good as you thought, you can learn from it so you make better decisions next time. This practice gives you wisdom and experience, what us men strive to achieve.

      1. The biggest risk takers have one secret thing in common … the successful ones only act when the wind is at their back, or at least not blowing in their face.
        Patience is a cardinal virtue. Ask any investor.

    2. I read in a book by Sutters that often when he was asked to take an immediate decision on a business matter his answer was No. His rationale was that No can be often be changed easier than Yes whenever he was not given time to reflect and analyze properly the decision.

      1. A balance here is necessary.
        Some situations call for fast and confident decision making… to save face, to grab a fleeting opportunity, to keep on a fast-track lifestyle. I get the impression Jefe is referring to these kinds of situations.
        Some situations call for taking a step back to make an extended investigation of the situation. If you’re going to invest everything you have into a house, an education, or a woman for example… you better do your homework and know what you’re getting yourself into.
        The dichotomy is necessary… The book “Blink” was followed up soon after with subsequent book titled “Think”. Both methods are necessary, but neither is sufficient on its own.

        1. Long term decisions are better left put off in times of crisis.
          You may want to make partner at a big law firm or raise a happy family … but if the conditions are adverse you should delay.
          Over confidence is why so many people leverage themselves with debt and obligations, they believe making decisive choices absolves them of failure.

        2. I would add to that: don’t make important decisions when you are tired or in a foul mood.

        3. If its a major decision, always have an exit strategy. Also, think through the risk profile of each choice. Where will you be if things go wrong and how badly wrong can they go? Then decide which potential pitfall you can live with.

        4. I make all my decisions when I am completely drunk. Then I can always claim reduced capacity.

    3. A winter season that is best used for educating yourself using the internet. We live in such heavily distorted and propagandized times that if you’re a conditioned retard, it doesn’t matter what the fuck you do. Being decisive will lead to futility just as indecisiveness will.
      Be decisive with the girls, of course, but *thoughtful* about everything else.

      1. If I were advising a young man in high school, I might echo what Aaron clarey said…
        Don’t try until you are 35.

  7. @dcdlm:disqus I’ve also heard the saying something like “Don’t make a decision until it needs to be made” or words to that effect. Have you heard that and can you comment on how that fits in?

    1. I’ve never heard this saying, but I’d disagree with it. I think the upside to making decisions as soon as you realize there’s a decision to be made far outweighs the downside of waiting until it NEEDS to be made – per the reasons above.

  8. It’s better to make decisions that lead to failure than none at all. Both success and failure can teach us and help us develop as human beings. Never taking any risks large or small causes personal stagnation in the long term.

    1. Agreed. How many times have we in our younger days were nervous to approach a cute girl and ask her out? We stood there trying to decide how to approach for so long that the opportunity slips by us and some other guy walks out with her.
      At least if you went ahead and not think of the outcome, you could get her. If you didn’t, then you are certain of the outcome and it’s the one you didn’t want.

    2. The costs from some bad decisions, getting married to a slut for example, are so high that most men can never recover from them.

      1. You can always recover, if you decide to.
        I have to say, if you decide to marry a slut, you’re probably not capable of making good decisions.

        1. A man who makes poor decisions when he is young may make wiser decisions when he is older. Especially where women are concerned.

      2. Decide not to marry!!! Decide this independent of who you are currently with. Decide to wait until you are much older, established, wiser and able to filter through the trash of American girls. Decide this when you are young and stick with it. Decide that the phrase “No ma’am!!” is your best friend.
        Now that is being decisive.
        Oh BTW, when you decide these things…your game will increase exponentially.

  9. This is fantastic advice. I find that the most miserable days I have are those when I wake up without any clear idea of what I want to do. I muddle through the day and wind up miserable at the end of it.
    And yes, I also agree that this is excellent advice for the workplace. People respect people who stand up and say “I know we’re kind of at an impasse, but, I strongly feel that this is the right solution and if nobody disagrees, that’s the way we’re going to go”. Yes, it’s putting your ball on the line. And yes, you might be wrong. Be prepared to defend the reason you made the decision if it blows up in your face. But, fact of the matter is, it’s a rare boss that’s going to fire someone for making a bad decision if, looking back on it, the reasoning for that decision was sound.

  10. Hesitation leads to stagnation, more oft than not. I, personally, find myself often in these moments of hesitations, whether the situation/decision is of triviality or not. I believe my life would be much higher quality if I could do away with it.
    Hesitation plagues women far more than men, however.

  11. The men I have least respect for at my workplace are the ones who are indecisive. This applies also to personal matters. If you’re a new acquaintance of mine and I invite you out for a beer, the only two acceptable answers are “yes” or “no”. If you give me a soft “maybe we’ll see not sure”, I’ve already written you off.

  12. My father was an emergency responder for several years. He said nothing kills more than “indecision”. A bad decision is at least a decision. But no decision is far worse.

  13. I believe there’s a saying that goes to the tune of “a good solution now beats a perfect solution next week.”

  14. Somewhat related to number 3, I wanted to point out the importance of automating decisions, for clearing your mind. It’s something I’m working on and having success with, especially the many small, but worthless decisions made during the business week.
    As an example instead of asking myself what I want for lunch on a daily basis and wasting time thinking on it, I have it set in my mind that I have 2 choices during the week. Chipotle or Chik-fil-a (Salad). If someone wants to join me for lunch they can, for Chipotle or Chik-fil-a…
    This is only a small example of the many things I automate, it makes for a very routine even somewhat boring lifestyle, but it also frees up my thinking power for school, work etc… I find I’m more “on task” so to speak with the real goals of my day. When I do something different over the weekend it’s more exciting and I appreciate having a few more choices to work with. It’s a wonderfully balanced approach to life methinks.

  15. If you believe in the Many Worlds theory, you’d know that for every action you take, an infinite number of universes are create. Every decision or choice does come to fruition in their own reality. Keep that in mind when you have a difficult decision in front of you.

  16. …and indecisive men will always lose whatever is at stake to the man who doesn’t appear indecisive.
    Usually. Sometimes. I think. Probably it’s true.

  17. Great post. As you say, most decisions don’t really matter, and as it’s impossible to predict the long-term outcome of any decision, positive or negative, you are better off being decisive in the moment and letting the chips fall where they may.

  18. I trained myself to “do” more often than “think about.” That change in mentality enabled me to get my life organized, save money, and get myself in shape. My mind is much more clear to entertain creative thoughts and pursuits as a result. Keep moving.

  19. This concept alone gives us men a massive advantage over women and why men should always rule the world. We’ve got the balls to do it.

  20. This post reflects some ideas from The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz. The main concept I took out of that book is (in general), the more choices we have, the less discernible differences there is between each one, and the less intrinsic value we attach to them.
    More choices available may equate to less time spent making decisions, but not necessarily equate to better quality. Sometimes less is more.

    1. I remember reading an article out of The Economist regarding this. People
      try to choose between 5 different brands of a supermarket item, then 24. When faced with 5 options, shoppers were more rational, weighed up options etc. Less decisions, got made when faced with 24 choices as participants were faced with overwhelming information to process. It’s easier to make a rational and beneficial choice when you have the time and information to do so. When you don’t other factors (such as
      emotions and psychology) come into it (it’s what marketers/advertising counts on) and often a decision is postponed without an overwhelming case presents itself.
      Regarding dating, its easy to see this in action – women are faced with exponentially more choice then men and this has exploded with social media. You sometimes literally get a few seconds to make an impression and unless you are extraordinary you get written off. I can understand in a way, that it’s easier to just NOT make a decision or ignore options because the decision making process can be overwhelming. This I think accentuates female hypergamy, gives women false impressions of their market value, heightens arrogance and contributes to flaking (easy just to ignore if no compelling urgency) etc.

  21. “People immediately identify and respect decision-makers”
    Not true, it should say: “People immediately identify and respect “GOOD” decision-makers”
    As soon as you start fucking things up, you’re out of the game. Not everyone is meant to be a leader.

  22. 1) Live a life with fewer decicions
    2) Divide decisions between those in which you have control, and those you dont
    3) Decide at certain stages whether decision is for growth or preservation, offensive or defensive. Study how corporations make decisions and realize that how a start-up makes decisions differs from that of a blue chip
    4) The type of decisions made are different based on size and degree of consequence and complexity
    5) Modern times have too much interdependence and complexity
    6) Decisions have 2 general dimensions… the decision itself, and then the timing
    7) Realize that in in times of massive change, that tomorrows decision may already be obsolete
    8) Consider adopting a remorseless psychopathic mindset, whereby you always have an outlet to offload your risk and consequences to… women, bankers, government, corporate heads all do this, and push all their shitty outcomes of their myopic hubris on to the beta males who support all of civil society
    9) Perhaps the best decision is simply isolate yourself from the decisions of others
    10) Diversification and adaptability will provide the best defense against any terrible decision making. In the field of women, burn through them with the mindset that you have very little control over them and your outcome with them, and be open to poking many of them even the fat and ugly ones, and adapt to utilizing all of their 3 orifices
    11) Realize that we have very little control over anything, worst of all our own minds.

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