Being the decision-maker, whether that’s in a group of friends, in your home life or at work, brings with it an element of control. If you decide what happens, then you’re likely (in theory, at least) to be choosing the outcome that works best for you. Control means power and it makes sense that it’s something most of us want.
However, being the one in charge of making the decisions can be daunting. After all, with great power comes great responsibility. This is why, in many cases, people who are tasked with making the big decisions (or even any decisions, at times) often default to what they think other people might do. What would their best friend do? Their neighbour? Their parents? Their boss? In that way they are not making the decisions directly – someone else still kind of is.
The reality is it does not take power to make a decision, just a whole lot of courage. The courage to push past the fear that the decision you make might be the wrong one. That search for the “perfect” decision is a fruitless one, especially if your constant procrastination or inability to pick a side of the fence leads to its own problems further down the line.
We can all sit and debate the merits of any particular course of action of another one. It’s a process that could go on over weeks, months or even longer depending on the situation. Hundreds of man-hours can be devoted to it, with lengthy unproductive meetings, and follow-up calls and chain emails. However, the debate is meaningless if ultimately nothing happens.
As Ahdaf Soueif once asked, what’s better – to act and make a fatal mistake or to take no action and die slowly? The outcome may be the same, but at least doing something, taking action, puts you in a semblance of control. It gives you the option to make something else happen. It gives you the opportunity to create further choices.
Sometimes, if it seems too hard to make THE decision, it can be best to make a series of little decisions. What can you do now, change now, or implement now that will have the effect of moving things forward? What will give you the opportunity to buy yourself some more time, perhaps gather more information, trial some new approach, which will allow you to set up for a more informed decision in the near future?
No decision should be rushed into, but it’s not the amount of time it takes to make a decision that determines whether it was the right course of action or not. Instead, it is the quality of the information you used to determine whether that decision was right. So, do take the time to assess the facts, to find out more, to ask pertinent questions – but equally, make sure you are always guarding against using such tactics to stall the ultimate need to reach a conclusion.