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April 25, 2016

On Becoming Decisive

In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.
(Theodore Roosevelt)

Unsuccessful people make decisions slowly, and are quick to change their minds afterwards. Successful people, in contrast, make decisions quickly, and change their minds very reluctantly, if at all.

Envision how that comes into play in our parenting, or any kind of leadership. Think of the message we send when we see a behavior that demands discipline, but have trouble deciding to act on it. We don’t know whether to address it, we hesitate to address it, or we pretend we didn’t notice it and hope it doesn’t happen again. We will sometimes go to great lengths to avoid enforcing the natural or logical consequences of our child’s or employee’s behavior. This indecision can do nothing but erode the respect and trust they need to have in relation to us. They need us to be consistently and quickly responsive. They need us to be decisive.

Those we lead need us to act quickly, and they need us to change our minds slowly, if at all. Once we’ve set a consequence, it works against the whole process to be susceptible to persuasion. This is not saying to be inflexible and cut ourselves off from feedback. This is an evolutionary process of constant change. But within that framework are successful decision-makers, with the courage to seek action and its effects as the catalyst to that evolution. Choosing and making a mistake (that you can learn from) is always, always better than refusing to choose in the first place.

Go ahead, be decisive. Think about that one thing your gut has been telling you to address, and do it.

Peace begins with pause,

screamfree hal runkel


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