How to become more decisive

Decisiveness is an attractive quality and can make a person magnetic to others. Decisive people receive huge feedback from the world which creates a form of energy generation that builds upon itself. People are generally drawn to these sort of people as they are good to be around since they enhance energy levels. It must also be said that such magneticism can also attract envious attacks from others, as decisive individuals often personify the way unhappy people wish to be.

People who lead effective and dynamic lives take a lot of risks. Think of this metaphor. They throw pebbles into the lake and then follow the ripples rather than sitting on the edge of the lake waiting to feel sure about the direction of the ripples before acting. In essence, decisive people can run with their 51% hunch about choosing a direction and making a decision with full permission to change their mind, if necessary. Indecisive people, on the other hand, want to feel like they have the assurance that they are totally right before committing to a decision. This form of anxiety can be compounded by more and more analysis and can lead to a form of paralysis. Learning to trust your intuition and relying on your hunch are the hallmarks of how to become more decisive and to contain feelings of anxiety.

Therapy can be a process to manifest the qualities necessary in order to be able to make decisions as well as an opportunity to explore your fears about getting things wrong. Clients are often incapacitated in their ability to be decisive regardless of why they presented for therapy in the first place. Someone who is unable to make decisions about the small and big things in their life is likely to feel disempowered, anxious, depressed, resentful and perpetually frustrated. They also usually suffer from low self-confidence.

This incapacity can be due to a number of reasons:

  • A belief that you need to be 100% sure when seeking to become more decisive, in case you make a so-called 'wrong decision'. This superstitious feeling needs to be challenged in therapy. There will be parts of us leaning one way or another when assessing the pros and cons of making a decision. Not being 100% sure of what to do is actually where you might need to be.
  • A belief that all decisions are unchangeable and, therefore, must be 'forever right'. This form of black and white thinking needs to be challenged so that a new realism can emerge. Good decisions need not be life-long decisions, but can change depending on evolving circumstances.
  • Fear of punishment and shame if a decision does not work out as planned can explain indecisiveness. This is when other people's views matter more than one's own.

Effective therapy is not about just being supported and listened to. It should be about taking risks to challenge new ways of being in the world, enjoying more powerful relationships, and to understand one's own satisfactions rather than seeking the approval from others. This is when self-confidence is truly boosted. Generating healthy internal psychic governance and leadership that can make decisions, change direction, if necessary, without recriminations, and learn to take on board feedback, are good outcomes of therapy.

Effective therapy, of course, requires the therapist to look at their own approach to decisiveness in their own lives so that the therapeutic alliance with their clients is authentic and real, and built on solid foundations. Ineffectual therapy is when therapists ask their clients to go to internal places they themselves, as individuals, have been afraid to go.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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London SE1 & SE26
Written by Noel Bell, MA, PG Dip Psych, UKCP
London SE1 & SE26

Noel Bell is a UKCP accredited psychotherapist in London who has spent over 20 years exploring and studying personal growth, recovery from addictions and inner transformation. Noel is an integrative therapist and draws upon the most effective tools and techniques from the psychodynamic, CBT, humanist, existential and transpersonal schools.

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