In this series we’re looking at masculine traits. What a certain trait actually means and how we can improve this trait. In this article we’re looking at decisiveness. It’s a trait that doesn’t get the spotlight all that often but I personally think is quite important. Especially since this is one of the things that I would really like to improve in myself.
If you’re just interested in the tips, here they are. Scroll down to find an in-depth explanation.
- Change your thinking
- Start easy
- Take responsibility
- Take your time
- Don’t try to be perfect
- Understand yourself
- Stop trying to please everyone
- Discover yourself
- Plan your life
Other masculine traits
Decisiveness isn’t the only masculine trait you might want to improve. Check out if there are any other articles on this website that can help you. Here are some examples;
What is decisiveness?
As always we should define what we’re talking about to avoid confusion later on. Even though most people will have an understanding of what decisiveness is, it doesn’t hurt to be clear.
The obvious first stop to find out what a word means is the dictionary.
Oxford dictionary defines decisiveness as;
“The ability to make decisions quickly and effectively.”
Some examples to make the meaning even clearer.
Example 1: When asked what you want to eat, you don’t draw a blank. You know what you want.
Example 2: You think; “Should I go to the gym?” You’ve only got one choice in this case. The answer is always “YES” unless someone will die if you go.
Example 3: You get a job offer that means you’ve got to move but offers better compensation or other benefits. You can give your decision within a couple of days and you weighed all the pro’s and con’s.
Decisiveness is NOT impulsiveness
They might look similar from the outside but they’re not.
Impulsiveness implies that the choices made immediately are without thought and without consideration for the effects they might have.
Decisiveness implies that there is thought and consideration for the effects but they’re still made quickly.
Do you have to always make quick decisions?
So if decisiveness is the ability to make decisions quickly and effectively. Does that mean you always have to make quick decisions about everything if you want to be more decisive?
It depends. Not many things in life are black and white.
Some decisions have to be made quickly because the moment passes quickly. You can’t think about what to eat for several days.
Other decision like moving for a job shouldn’t be made within a minute in most cases since there are many factors to be thought about.
So, should decisions be made quickly? There are two things to consider here.
- Yes, a decision should be made as quickly as possible as long as they are made with consideration for the effects. Since the effects of different decisions have differently sized effects, they need different lengths of time for consideration.
- A decision has to be made before they become irrelevant.
We make countless decisions every day. Most of which we take without much thought.
Your nose itches, you scratch it. Most of the time you put very little thought into making that decision. It’s done mostly unconscious.
While unconscious decision making is quite an interesting topic, that’s obviously not what we’re talking about it.
The focus of this article is the decisions that need some thought and conscious decision making.
If we have to make the same decision many times, it might become unconscious over time. Think about driving a car. After you’ve been driving a couple of years, it seems like you don’t have to think about anything. Now think back to when you first got into a car or on a motorbike. Those are two very different experiences.
While most of the time it’s a good thing that our brain takes decisions without us really thinking about it, that isn’t always the case. Some things really shouldn’t be decided “automatically”.
It’ll also take many times of consciously doing something before it becomes unconscious. Therefore, if you can never take a decision, it’s very difficult to let things become a “second nature”.
Why do you need to be more decisive?
You’re crossing the road. A truck comes barreling right at you and there is no way it’ll stop in time. Do you go back or try to reach the other side? Being indecisive is going to be deadly in this case.
If you don’t make decisions in life, you’ll be left standing in the middle of the road and it’s only a matter of time before life runs you over. Making decisions will push you in a certain direction. Any direction is better than being run over.
Why are you not decisive?
While most of your decisions during the day are made without any apparent thought, at other times you seem to be unable to make any kind of decision. What makes the difference?
There can be a couple of things that cause you to be unable to make a decision.
The biggest one is fear. You can be afraid of different things.
Fear of judgment
You fear the judgment of others. You actually know what you want to choose. You also know that other people around you might not agree with this decision. You feel a certain pressure to please the people around you. Maybe because you don’t like the confrontation or you don’t want to disappoint/anger them or maybe both.
Fear of consequences
You fear the consequences of your decisions. What if you make a decision and it turns out to be a horrible one? Maybe you’ve made some bad decisions in the past that didn’t turn out well.
Fear of your own abilities
You don’t trust your ability to make decisions. This can have many causes but they all have the same results. You don’t think you’re able to make good decisions so you avoid making them. Maybe you’ve never gotten the confidence you need to trust your own decisions because of past experiences or inexperience.
There is another part that plays into being indecisive. And it doesn’t (directly) have to do with fear.
You’ve got no direction
You don’t know where you want your decisions to take you. You don’t have a target in mind. If you don’t have a target, how can you possible which way to aim? If you come up to a junction and have 3 choices but, you don’t know what your destination is, how can you choose the correct road?
You’re a people pleaser
You don’t want to push your will on others. You’re trying to be nice and you’ll conform to the will of the other(s) involved. You’re OK as long as they are happy. You want to please everyone and might be uncomfortable with possibly making them uncomfortable.
How to become more decisive?
So how can you become more decisive? There are a few things you can do and/or practice.
1. Change your thinking
Change your thinking. Stop thinking of yourself as an indecisive person. Start thinking of yourself as a person that is decisive. Of course this is easier said than done but, as with many other traits you can display, there is a certain level of “Fake it ‘till you make it” going on.
Once you see yourself making decisions more easily, you’ll become more confident.
2. Start easy
Don’t expect yourself to make the most complicated life decisions immediately. When you first go to the gym, there is no way you can just load up the bar with all the weights and lift it. You start with lighter weights and build up your strength over time. Being decisive can be seen as a type of mental strength you have to build up. Start with easy decisions first and build confidence.
3. Take responsibility
Don’t put the responsibility on someone else. If you’re asked to make a decision, you make it and don’t bounce the ball back.
Example: Your partner asks; “Where are we going to eat tonight?”. DO NOT respond with; “I don’t know, where do you want to eat?”
4. Know when to take your time
Know when it’s necessary to make a decision now or if it’s better to “retreat” and wait for more information. That means you have to know when you don’t have enough information to make a decision and when it’s necessary to make a decision right away.
Sometimes you can take your time, other times you can’t. It really depends on the situation.
5. Don’t try to be perfect
You don’t have to make the perfect decision. Just avoid the worst. You can’t see the future so predicting what every decision is going to result in, is impossible.
That means you can’t know 100% that a decision is correct. What you can do is avoid the worst outcomes. If you’ve got a couple of choices, one is going to be the worst. Avoid the worst and you’re already in a pretty good shape.
6. Understand yourself
Try to gain understanding of why you are hesitant to make a decision. Is it because you’re afraid of the judgment of others? Are you afraid to make a mistake? Whatever it is, if you understand yourself, you can work on solving that problem.
7. Stop trying to please everyone
- Stop trying to please everyone. While there might be a time and place to do things to make other people happy, making a habit out of it will not make anyone happy in the long run for three reasons;
- You can never please everyone all the time. If you try to please everyone, you can’t make a decision since inevitably someone won’t be pleased with that decision.
- How do you know the other people even know what they want to do? They asked you to make a decision for a reason. Failure to make a decision will not actually make them happy.
- Why would other people know what’s good for you? Maybe you don’t actually want to go in the same direction as they do.
8. Discover yourself
You’ve got to discover what you want and like. If you’ve always wanted to please other people, it means you’ve put their wants and needs above your own. Do that for long enough and you forget your own. (Re) discovering what you want and need might take quite a while. It means you’ve got to become independent of what others think of your actions. This is quite difficult if you haven’t done this for years/decades but well worth it.
9. Plan your life
Have a plan for many aspects of your life. This gives you a goal to aim towards. If you are presented with a choice, you can choose the one that will take you closer to your goal. Goals might change over time and there is more than one road that leads to Rome but at least this will help you eliminate the choices that take you further away from your goals.
Having a plan will also help you be more resilient against the judgment of others. You’ve got your goal and you are working towards it. Other people might not like that but you know you’re working towards a better life.