Do or Do Not, But Decide

There’s no doubt about it – we live in a world that values decisiveness. Just consider the words we use to describe indecisive people: wishy-washy, iffy, waffling. These do not paint a pretty picture, my friends.

What’s so great about being decisive, and why can it be so hard to just make up our minds?

Decisivines - A Characteristic of Attractiveness

Decisive People Are Dynamic

We admire perfection, but we are impressed by improvement.

As an example, think of the musicians you’ve known from school or the beginning of your career. We all know someone who has always been a star player. She was great ten years ago, and she’s equally great today. No surprise.

On the other hand, there’s the player you haven’t heard in a while that is suddenly so much better than the last time. In fact, he seems to get better every time you hear him perform. He’s constantly improving, and we are all constantly impressed.

That kind of improvement doesn’t come from practice alone. Constant improvement comes from making decisions and moving forward, course-correcting when necessary (which requires making another decision) and moving forward again. There is no improvement without movement, and there’s no movement until you decide to move.

Decisive People Share the Burden

We typically think of leaders as the decision makers. However, a good leader not only allows others to make decisions but actively encourages them to do so. After all, leaders should be in the business of helping others grow and lead.

Being the sole decision maker in a group is exhausting. Regardless of whether the group is trying to figure out where to go for lunch, or which venue to book, making the final call (especially without adequate input from everyone else) can feel like a burden. There is responsibility inherent in decision making. When people take turns shouldering that responsibility, it reduces the load – and we all like to work with people who lighten our load.

Why Deciding is Difficult

Typically, people struggle to make a decision for one of two reasons:

1. They don’t know where they are going.

In an ideal world, we’d measure the possible outcome of any decision against our overarching goal. Theoretically, this should be easy. No matter how many options there are, you simply choose the most effective: Choice #4 has the highest chance of getting me closest to my goal – dilemma solved.

Unfortunately, choosing the goal itself can feel overwhelming. We live in a world of near-endless possibilities – it’s a paralyzing embarrassment of riches. What’s the best choice? What should we do?

Answer: Do SOMETHING. Even if it turns out to be the wrong thing. Which brings us to the other reason people avoid decisions:

2. They are scared to be wrong

“A good decision now is better than the best decision later.”
-General Patton  

Being decisive doesn’t mean you have to cling unwaveringly to the decisions that you make. Often, people put off making a choice until they “have all the facts.” Classical musicians in particular often fall prey to this kind of perfectionism. We can get bogged down in research and never move forward for fear we may take the wrong step. We may spend so much energy trying to find the perfect venue to reach out to that we never book a performance.

You will NEVER have ALL the facts. Not every situation is ideal, and almost every situation comes with unknown quantities. So what do we do?

We weigh the information we do have and make a choice. If different information comes along later, we can simply make a different choice. There is no need to feel guilty or ashamed about changing your mind.

But what about all the time we’ve wasted?

It is better to spend time learning lessons on a wrong path than it is to waste time standing at the crossroads going nowhere and learning nothing for fear of making a mistake. Time waits for no man, and refusing to decide becomes a decision in and of itself – a decision based on fear – and fear is rarely a good guide. So take control. Be brave, be inspiring, and decide.

This is part of our series on the characteristics of attractive people. If you would like to hear the live discussion about this characteristic, head on over to now.

If you are ready to learn more about how to build a profitable, fulfilling career as a performing classical musician, check out Concert University, and the free webinar that outlines 5 strategies for success.