June 24, 2024
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June 24, 2024
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Indecisiveness Is All Around Us

Sarah had always been passionate about two things: writing and health care. She had a talent for crafting compelling stories but she also had a deep interest in helping others through health care. After high school, she found herself torn between pursuing a degree in journalism or nursing. She spent years going back and forth, unable to decide.

In the end, she tried to combine her interests by becoming a health journalist. However, her indecisiveness had caused her to miss out on valuable learning opportunities, and she always wondered what might have happened if she had fully committed to either path. She struggled to establish herself as a writer in the competitive world of journalism and couldn’t shake the feeling that she had squandered her potential.

John had a great idea for a new tech start-up. He was passionate about his concept and believed it could disrupt the market. However, he found himself constantly hesitating to take the plunge. He couldn’t decide whether to leave his stable job and invest his savings into his venture or to continue working while pursuing his start-up as a side project. Months turned into years as John wavered back and forth. His indecisiveness resulted in missed opportunities. Competitors entered the market and potential investors lost interest. By the time he finally decided to commit to his start-up full time, it was too late. His idea had lost its competitive edge and he struggled to secure the necessary funding.

Lisa and Tom were excited about buying their first home. They had saved diligently and were ready to make this important investment. However, as they started looking at properties, they couldn’t agree on what type of house to buy. Lisa preferred a cozy suburban home with a big yard while Tom wanted a modern downtown condo.

Their indecision led to countless arguments and stress. They toured numerous properties but couldn’t commit to any. Eventually, they decided to take a break from house hunting to work on their communication and compromise skills. This pause allowed them to reflect on what was most important to them. They finally agreed on a compromise: a suburban house with a smaller yard but easy access to the city.

These stories highlight how indecisiveness can lead to missed opportunities, stress and strained relationships. Overcoming indecisiveness often requires self-awareness, proactive decision-making and sometimes seeking help or advice from others.

Indecisiveness can manifest in various aspects of life and can affect decisions big and small. Here are some common examples of indecisiveness:

  1. Choosing a Career Path: Being uncertain about what career to pursue or frequently changing career goals can be a sign of indecisiveness.
  2. Selecting a College or University: Indecisiveness can make it challenging to decide which college or university to attend, especially when faced with multiple options.
  3. Deciding on a Major: In college, some students struggle to choose a major, often switching between different fields of study.
  4. Making Financial Investments: Whether it’s deciding where to invest money, whether to buy or rent a home, or how to allocate savings, financial decisions can be sources of indecisiveness.
  5. Relationships: Indecisiveness can affect personal relationships, causing individuals to struggle with decisions like whether to commit to a relationship, get married or break up.
  6. Health-care Choices: Choosing between treatment options, health-care providers or whether to undergo a medical procedure can be challenging for indecisive individuals.
  7. Shopping: Some people find it difficult to decide on purchases, whether it’s buying a car, choosing furniture or selecting an outfit.
  8. Diet and Nutrition: Indecisiveness can lead to difficulty in deciding on a healthy diet plan, causing individuals to constantly shift between different eating habits.
  9. Time Management: Difficulty in prioritizing tasks and setting daily goals can be a sign of indecisiveness, leading to inefficiency and procrastination.
  10. Travel Plans: Planning a trip can be daunting for indecisive individuals who struggle to choose a destination, accommodations and activities.
  11. Personal Development: Deciding on personal goals and how to pursue them, such as whether to go back to school or learn a new skill, can be challenging for indecisive individuals.
  12. Social Activities: Indecisiveness can also affect social life, making it difficult to choose social events to attend or whom to spend time with.
  13. Menu Choices: When dining out, some people may have difficulty choosing a meal from a menu with many options, leading to delayed ordering.
  14. Hobbies and Interests: Some individuals may struggle to settle on a hobby or interest, constantly jumping from one to another without committing.
  15. Household Decisions: From home decor choices to whether to move or renovate, indecisiveness can affect decisions related to one’s living environment.

These examples illustrate that indecisiveness can impact various aspects of life, from personal to professional, and can create stress and uncertainty in decision-making situations. The reasons why we’re indecisive, and what we can do about it, will be the focus of my next article.


Naphtali Hoff, PsyD, is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting (impactfulcoaching.com). He can be reached at (212) 470.6139 or [email protected].

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