What’s Your Style? Decisive or Hesitant?

Each of us makes so many decisions every day – from simple to complex; personal to business.

I’ve read, and believe, that successful people tend to make decisions and take action quickly.

question roadAnd that people who hesitate, who take loads of time to research, ponder, and just drag out a decision, tend to miss out on opportunities to move their business forward. They aren’t as successful.

Successful people know that action, of any kind, is progress. There will be some mistakes made along the way and failures to overcome, but they don’t focus on the negatives. When faced with a choice, a person focused on success makes a decision and deals with the results – good or bad – and keeps on moving.

People who hesitate on decisions until all the details have been analyzed ad nauseam are those who fear failure to an extreme.  They believe that by not making a decision, nothing bad can happen. However, time doesn’t stop and life keeps moving forward. So, hesitating for too long, more often than not, I believe, won’t bring positive results.

I’m not saying to make decisions on a whim, by any means. But think about your decision-making style.

Are you quick to review the facts and figures and then you take action?


Do you constantly need more information before you can ever make a move?

Which style do you think gives the most effective results over the long term?

If you can become more decisive, you can become more successful because, no matter what the result, you’ll be taking action toward your goals.

Do you agree?


Lisa J. JacksonLisa J. Jackson is an independent writer and editor who enjoys working with businesses of all sizes. Ultimatums are her favorite type of decisions — if someone won’t let her have even a few moments to understand the facts, then she always passes. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook,  Google+, and LinkedIn.

27 thoughts on “What’s Your Style? Decisive or Hesitant?

  1. Personally, I’m the type who does a bit of research and then listens to my “gut” . My gut, is of course, my subconscious who listened more closely to my research’s details. Once the decision’s been made, that’s usually it. I move on from there. It’s either a success or lesson learned! 🙂

  2. I’ve learned through trial and error when it makes sense to postpone certain decisions and when to act quickly. It depends on the situation. The good news is that it’s learned behavior — in my case, anyway. Working in deadline-driven businesses like public relations and advertising helped.

  3. The Chinese character for “cowardice” is made up of two symbols–“meaning” and “mind.” The coward is one who finds too much meaning in things. He or she thinks too much. Over-analysis–going back and forth on a decision for hours, sometimes years–makes us cowards. What we need most of all, it seems to me, is the everyday bravery to take action, and to do that we just have to decide and to take the chance we may be wrong. There is nothing wrong with being wrong. Uncertainty is a condition of life isn’t it?..

    • Except that it seems most of society looks down on those who make the wrong decisions. There are you-tube channels and message boards that let people laugh at other people who have made some bad decisions.

      My “cowardice” started back in grade school when we were laughed at for the wrong answer – made to feel dumb for giving the wrong answer; This was not just from the other students either. In 7th grade the damn teacher would start the class by “reviewing” the homework in front of everyone, calling out your mistakes for all to hear. Not only were the mistakes placed out there for the rest of the class to use as weapons, the teacher would call you stupid and dumb as well.

      “What are you, stupid? You have been here for four weeks now and still can’t figure out proper sentence structure? How did you make it to 7th grade?”

      With the teacher berating you, it was almost like giving the class permission to berate you as well. So yes there is certainly something wrong with being wrong. Hell, It got so bad I stopped handing in my homework because I would rather be called out for not doing the work than be called out for having the wrong answer.

      Not allot of confidence building going on there, and of all things – the lack of confidence hurt me the most throughout my life.

      Every decision has a consequence and I learned that you damn well better make the right choice – you better give that correct answer, because there would be hell to pay if you didn’t.

      No pressure there right? You just have to “man up” and make a choice. No big deal.

      Unfortunately I couldn’t stop second guessing myself; couldn’t stop hesitating and analyzing until the opportunity being addressed by the choice has been missed. Yet, my hesitation is not because I believe by delaying the choice I am safe, it’s because I know I am not safe unless I make the right choice, so I need to be sure whatever choice I make is the right one.

      It’s easy to say you just need to be brave and make that decision, but for my life experience, there is indeed something wrong with being wrong.

      How is this unlearned? How is that confidence regained? At almost fifty years old it may be too late for me, but If there is anything I want for my my children it is to grow up with that confidence.

      I will never tell them they are dumb for not knowing something. I’ll never tell them they cannot do something no matter how wild it may seem to me.

      Sorry for the rant.

      • That’s a lot of stress on yourself, Patrick! To feel you can only make the correct decisions. It sounds, though, in regard to your children that you’re already working on changing your mindset. The more you encourage your children to think and try new things – to test theories and ask questions – you’ll see them making mistakes and learning from them – you’ll see them ‘get it wrong’ the first time or even 100 times, but keep on trying.

        thank you for sharing – it’s terrible that you had a teacher like – so much from our childhood stays with us.

      • Patrick,
        You did not rant. After all these years you are still hurt, still feeling the cruel effects of that teacher, who did something unforgivable,and onviously a great deal of damage was done to you.I am very sorry that you had an experience like that. In college I had an economics professor who after a test would have those who received an F stand. The other 300 students were then told to boo them. And appalling to me, most of the 300–I am sure perfectly nice people– complied. I write, blog, and lecture about conquering obstacles, impediments, blocks, and deal a great deal with problems like difficulty making decisions, overcoming fear, and the aversion to taking risks And you have a block on your hands.I too am a man who even as a child was very sensitive to criticism and cruelty.

        I much prefer my son’s response. When his sixth grade teacher was criticizing him harshly and unfairly. he stood up and said to her, “I didn’t come here to be humiliated,” and left the school.. I still admire his courage. He too is a very gentle person who is now a therapist helping people to overcome their problems.

        I don’t know you, so I don’t know if you are ready—or if most people are ready to understand and take to heart and use to change their lives–the words of the great sage Vivekenanda: “Go beyond the trifles of the world, Know that nothing can affect you. To be affected by nothing is to be free.” I think that particularly people who have been so hurt can sense that there is great wisdom here.

  4. I do agree. Some people think I move too fast with some things, but I feel that you have to strike while the iron is hot. You may miss out. I just decided to go back to school for my Phd. Some people think it’s admirable and some say I’m nuts because i’m already in debt. I say if they give me the money to get the education, then I’m going for it!

  5. Absolutely, I agree! This reminds me of an episode of Trump’s The Apprentice. At the beginning, both teams actually had the same idea, but one team moved forward with that idea, while the team leader of the second team didn’t think it was good enough, so they spend the ENTIRE rest of the day trying to think of a new idea. In the end, the first team had an excellent performance, while the second team was told it would have been better for them to just not show up. I used to work for a slow, deliberate thinker. I would be ready to jump on a project but couldn’t do anything until we had spent months or even years exploring all the angles. It was frustrating. How can quick thinkers encouage slow decision makers to speed things along?

    • Lori – that’s a very good question! My only thought is that we could ask questions that point out plusses and minuses of trying certain things. Or even simply ask the question: what’s the worst that could happen if we do it this way? Or maybe point out what can transpire if nothing happens for x number of months.

      And thank you for share that summary of the Apprentice episode — nice example!

  6. I hate to use this phrase, but it really depends. I work in the medical field where, in emergency situations, a decisive action is crucial. But, in non-emergent situations, taking the time to research and think through the possibilities is equally as important. I think this is true in many other realms of life, as well. I hate saying, “it depends,” but it really does. As a rule, I prefer decisiveness, but sometimes that is just not practical or prudent.

    • You’re right, Phantom. And that’s what I was getting at — finding the right balance — knowing when to stop researching and make the decision. We do need some information and experience before making decisions. thank you for the comment. 🙂

  7. I’m working on my decisiveness – especially when it comes to submitting things for review. If I wait until my work is perfect to let my advisor look at it, my advisor will never see it!

  8. Can you be over-decisive? I think so – I am quick to make up my mind and need to work on being abel to review and learn form those speedy (and often misguided) decisions!! Thanks for the blog- interesting topic!

    • It sounds like you’re learning from the decisions you make, and that’s what matters. Since making a decision leads to a result and you have to deal with that result — if it’s a good decision, all can go smoothly, if it’s a bad decision, it can sometimes be back to the drawing board. 🙂

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