My friend Jay, was watching his grandson, Jake, vacillate over decision. After a minute or so, Jake’s mother, Tina, said “don’t be a flat rabbit.” When Jay asked about the origin of the phrase, Tina explained that rabbits start to cross the road, hesitate and then run back to where they started, just in time to be run over a car. The same can be said about squirrels, cats, armadillos, and the occasional human.
So how about you? Are you a flat rabbit? We all succumb to indecision from time to time. In the process, we over-think problems, obsess about unknowable outcomes or thrash back and forth out of fear that we’ll make a mistake. As a result, we lose out on opportunities and appear indecisive to those around us. Do this enough and it can become a habit . . . a bad habit.
I’m not arguing that we have to be absolutely decisive in every situation. That said, the best decision-makers I’ve interviewed generally display an air of decisiveness and confidence that most people wished they possessed. These decision-makers use their intuition and sense of clarity to go with what feels right. The decision doesn’t always work out. But pretty much all of them will tell you that it’s better to take action with a 90% chance of being right, than waiting till everything feels perfect and finding the opportunity has been lost.
So, how do you go about becoming more decisive? In reflecting on the interviews I’ve conducted, two patterns have emerged. First, these individuals have developed the discipline to stop and consider the factors involved when confronted with a decision, especially one that requires a quick action. When a couple of co-workers lean into your work station and say, “Come on, we’re going to lunch” Your first impulse might be to say, “okay.” The people I’ve interviewed are more likely to stop, think a ahead to the afternoon’s commitment and the impact a juicy sandwich will have on their productivity.
In addition to resisting impulsive decisions, the best decision-makers rely more on their intuition. While we all possess an intuition, the best decision makers have honed theirs into a tool upon which they depend. Intuition is not just something that evolves. It is a tool that can be consciously developed. It is so important, in fact, we spend an entire module on developing intuition during my on-line course, Make Your Best Decisions Now.
Becoming more decisive begins with defining personal priorities. Simply asking, “How important is this decision?” will compel you to determine the amount of time and energy you should be devoting to the issue. So the next time, you find yourself vacillating on a decision, stop and ask yourself, “Am I behaving like a flat rabbit?”