Decisiveness is the ability to make right decisions and stick with them. Being decisive can be easy when a person is in a familiar setting making a routine decision, yet much more difficult when the decision affects people’s employment, financial stability, or even life. In those situations, preparation from moral and intellectual knowledge gained over time becomes critical. Words that are related to decisiveness are determined, disciplined, and resolute. Each of these words contains an aspect of a mental commitment toward accomplishing a goal. Right decisions are made by acting with a clear conscience, with conviction, after gathering information so as to keep a clear perspective and not become swayed by self-advancing goals or what people might think. Being decisive can mean that criticism comes your way, so be prepared to accept responsibility for the decision, whether it proves to be the best decision or acknowledging a wrong decision.
Think about all the decisions that you make within a day. At the beginning of a day I can start with the simple decision of “what time I am going to get up?” If I get up on time or early, that has a completely different impact on my day than if I decide I will sleep in. Sleeping in means I will have to scramble to prepare for the day. I’m sure you can see how this is like the “domino effect” in the way that each decision that we make impacts oneself, other people, and future decisions.
Once, when I was away at school, I was working with a woman who had puppies to give away. I was living by myself and thought this would be a perfect companion. Puppies are so cute. Well, I had the puppy for about a week and realized what a rash decision I had made. The puppy would run under the furniture and either hide or use the bathroom. I had never trained a puppy, I had work and classes to attend, and I lacked commitment to see this through. With great trepidation, I went back to the woman and explained I couldn’t keep the puppy. She was not very happy to have the puppy back, but she could see that I was not prepared for such a task. She already had dogs, knew what to do, and was pretty sure she could find another person that would want the puppy. I was extremely grateful and learned a lot about my decision-making skills, or rather lack of skills, at that time. If I had practiced the keys to decisiveness and gathered information, weighed the commitment, kept a clear perspective, and prepared to follow through, I would not have decided at that time in my life to get a puppy.
What drives the decisions you make?
The “I will’s” of Decisiveness are:
- I will not look back—Do not spend time regretting past decisions, but use them as a tool to learn from for future decision making.
- I will do what I say— a key aspect of decisiveness is to keep your commitments, even if it is something you eventually regret. You will learn from seeing it through.
- I will make the right decision and stick to it—right decisions are not always popular or easy.
- I will look at things from more than one point of view before making up my mind.
- I will not give in to peer pressure.
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