Many people consider it easier to simply “go with the flow” and see where life takes them. In effect, this approach is also a decision of sorts; it’s decision by indecision. The result, at least in the fast-changing world of business, is a fast track to extinction. What got you here won't get you there. Doing nothing won't get you anywhere. General Colin Powell puts it this way: “You can't make someone else’s choices. You shouldn't let someone else make yours.”
What are the reasons for indecision? Main ones include:
- Fear. Our “Lizard Brains” paralyze us and overcome our higher brain functions (refer to Seth Godin’s masterwork, Linchpin). We are simply afraid of what might happen if we step out of what we falsely believe is a safe place and take action.
- Lack of Information. We want to know the facts and have all the options before making that call, especially if it's a big decision. It is prudent to be informed and thoughtful, but the reality is you'll never have all of the available information before it's time to decide what to do. Gather the truly important information and then apply a healthy dose of judgment. I've struggled with this myself in the past and have learned to move forward with 80% information, the perspective of experience and the courage of my convictions.
- Complacency. This one is the silent killer. The status quo might not be ideal, but what if a decision to act requires more work and creates some uncertainty? Maybe things aren't that bad after all…
- Pride. Things don't always turn out as planned and, for some, the possibility of embarrassment prevents them from acting. Pride trumps progress. One thing is for sure, however; if you don't act for change, you'll never know what might have been possible. You'll only know what didn't happen as you look in the rear view mirror at your life.