Why Indecision is Costing You Money, Time and Opportunity

Need a pep talk to dive in the deep end? This can help.

October
16, 2019

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Most people are indecisive. They struggle to pick a restaurant for dinner, would rather someone else choose paint colors for the living room, and the thought of making big decisions with big consequences sends them into a panic.

If you’re one of these people, your inability to make decisions isn’t just a quirk. It’s costing you time, money and opportunity. It’s also why you feel overwhelmed all the time.

Don’t believe me? Look around. Who’s out there changing the world, growing their businesses and bringing in obscene amounts of cash? Who seems most at peace with the world and their lives? It’s the decisive people who see an opportunity and jump on it. 

Money is attracted to speed.

You may have taken years to find a niche market that was being ignored. Then you took a few more years to run tests and research. And if you were lucky, no one else beat you to market. So you started out of the gate with a win, and you expected to stay on top with the same plodding, thoughtful approach to business.

But what happened the day you released your product or your service to the world? 

The competition showed up. Unlike you, the other guys didn’t put in years of research and thought. They saw that you were making money and that’s all that mattered. They were hungry, and they wanted a piece of what you had. 

So they grabbed what you were doing and took it to another level. Within weeks, these people you call hacks developed something bigger and better than you imagined, because they realize that money follows the fast.

It’s true in business and in life that if you move slowly, you lose. And if you think second place isn’t bad, remember that second place finishers get forgotten pretty soon. So if you don’t learn to make real decisions in real-time, someone else will take your business and run with it, leaving you behind and forgotten.

What should you do about it?

Getting over indecision isn’t rocket science. See an opportunity? Strike now! Take the opportunity in front of you or make a firm decision to not take it, but make a decision! Business doesn’t afford you the leisure of tiptoeing around, riding the fence on whether you’re going to do something or not. You either act or watch as someone else does.

Part of the reason you can’t make decisions is fear. Most folks waste time muddling in fear and overthinking all the what-ifs. They spend way too much time asking people their opinions and care way too much about what others say. These indecisive people play it safe, expect a worse-case scenario, and live their entire lives enslaved to fear.

But let me tell you what the greatest minds in business know. Every time you decline to make a decision and act on it, a decision is being made for you in the form of lost time, money and opportunity.

That thing you think could be insanely successful? It could be, but you’ll never know because you won’t get to work on it.

Welcome to the school of decisions.

Let me tell you what your mama and school teachers didn’t teach you. Short of death, you can come back from any decision. No decision that is permanent. 

That’s the thing crop dusters — mediocre people — don’t know. The crop dusters in your life taught you to slow down when facing a decision. They encouraged you to think about every decision as if facing life or death. You were taught to be careful at every turn and fact find until you’re blue in the face. 

That might work well in school or the bubble you were raised in, but it falls flat in the real world. If you don’t make fast decisions, you’re done. Take a day to think things over and the opportunity is lost, your reputation shot, and all that time you spent building a business goes to waste.

Even in the best-case scenario, you only have 40 to 70 percent of the information you need to make the right decision. So forget what you’ve been taught and start making fast decisions, and then course correct as you go.

Now for the big decision.

Still feel indecision tugging at you? Examine the life of crop dusters. They never leave the family farm. Because they’re so careful, these risk-free people never make progress. Instead, they fly in circles their entire lives, unable to make the decision to check out the rest of the world.

Is that what you want? Do you want to look back at your life and celebrate how carefully you thought out each decision? Or do you want to look back and see a path paved with near misses, failures, and ultimately massive successes?

I encourage you to stop being a crop duster and transform into a fighter jet — a high performer. Put the pedal to the metal, confident that any bad decision you make can be reversed. 

Of course, the crop dusters will always be there, reminding you that bad decisions come with baggage. Just remember that baggage is a lot lighter than the what-ifs and regrets most people are saddled with. And unlike what-if baggage, failure teaches you, making you a better entrepreneur and person. Sitting on the sidelines, paralyzed with indecision doesn’t teach you anything. It just makes you ineffective as a leader, entrepreneur, and human.

So start today. Be decisive and go full throttle. You may get some scrapes and bruises along the way, but you’ll also leave your former average self in the dust as you build your business empire. 

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