Have you heard the wonderful story of the donkey that had been lost in the desert for many days? When he finally found his way back to the west Texas farm, he staggered down the center aisle of the barn. On the right-hand side of the aisle, he saw a pile of luscious-looking hay. His stomach was in a knot, he was hungry. On the left-hand side of the aisle, he saw a basin of cool, clear water. He was thirsty, his tongue was dry, his lips were parched. The next morning, they found him dead in the center aisle.
Why? He couldn’t make up his mind.
The inability to decide between multiple choices, indecision and procrastination, is one the primary reasons for failure. What’s the solution? The solution is to clarify and crystallize your goals and vision of victory in the six areas of your life. Clearly define your financial, spiritual, social, family, physical and mental goals. Know and understand your values as guidelines for your decision. After you have crystallized your goals, review them on a regular basis, so you’ll be better able to determine which path to take, which direction to go, indecision and procrastination will be put behind you.
I watch people in fast food restaurants stand in a line four or five people deep and when they finally get up to the counter are asked ‘What would you like?,’ they sometimes seem to have a blank look on their face, like ‘Oh, let me decide,’ or ‘I guess I have to decide.’ There are certainly more choices at McDonald’s than ever before, but come on, make a decision and don’t say ‘Can I have’ like you are begging. Simply say ‘I would like’ and ask for what you want. I wish you could be with me when I’m ordering in a restaurant. It’s not unusual for people who don’t know me well to say ‘Larry, are you going to look at the menu?’ or ‘You haven’t looked at the menu yet.’ I knew what I wanted when we pulled into the parking lot. I order what I want and save a lot of time.
These steps may be one of the secrets to greater decisiveness:
- Know what you want
- Know what your choices are
- Ask for what you want
There may be subsets to these three steps, but I think we have caught the essence of decision-making. Indecisiveness erodes your own confidence, the respect others have for you, reduces morale and wastes time and money.
Practice deciding quickly on small choices you make through proactive self-selection. Narrow or limit your choices. Know your values – what you stand for. You will find deciding on what to spend your money on will be easier, what to eat, easier, what to do with your time, easier. You will never say ‘too many choices.’ You will say ‘I love my many choices’ – you will be truly alive.
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