Strike while the iron is hot.
Updated: May 16
By Marcus Aupuni
How come some people are decisive and others aren’t? Why do some people just make decisions with such certainty when it comes to jumping on an opportunity? If you’re not a decisive person, can you become one?
When an opportunity arises, the first decision you have to make is whether you act on that opportunity. This first decision will always come down to what kind of decision maker you really are. Are you the kind of person that follows their gut? Do you just instinctively jump at opportunities? Or do you analyze the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ of it? Do you take your time and sleep on it? Do you have to consult a myriad of people? Are you a procrastinator?
However you approach this kind of decision, there are two factors that will likely be present: you have a finite amount of time to decide; and you do not know 100 percent of everything you’d like to know. Time will always be against those who waste it, and those who wait until they know 100 percent of a situation will usually see their opportunities come and go.
Now, I’m not saying that wanting to know 100 percent of a situation is a bad thing, it’s natural and understandable. But something will have to give, and time waits for nobody. Therefore, you can only do what you can with the time and resources available to you right? So then what is the key to all of this?
Have you ever come across a decision where you just made it, right there on the spot; because it just felt ‘right’? Something you can’t quite explain, but you knew that you had to do it. A decision so easy and your conviction so strong, that you know it was deeper than mere impulse. If you have ever experienced this in your life, and my guess is that you have more than once; this is your instinct talking to you. This is your ‘gut’ guiding you.
Is your gut there only for primal reasons? For the ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ situations where your life is in danger? The “don’t walk down the dark alley at night” situations only? Of course not, however we as people have a tendency to suppress our gut feelings when it comes to making decisions throughout our week and replace those feelings with reasoning; and there is nothing wrong with that.
But there is a great power to your instincts, and that is the speed at which decisions can be made. I’m not talking about your impulses, they tend to make decisions that can sometimes hinder you; even when you know it. Your instincts can subconsciously weigh all the possibilities up and decide for you fast, really fast. Your instincts can get you into some trouble of course, if you’re not properly equipped to deal with the decision that you have instinctively made. But the strength of your instincts lie in the time it takes to make a decision and the certainty with which the decision is made. If you need a strong decision maker in your life, look in the mirror, they’ll be staring right back at you.
Great … so you’ve just made this decision because you’ve decided to listen to your gut, and now that the dust has settled and all the bravado of the instinctual decision maker has disappeared back inside of you, you have now set your path; and it is time to walk down it. This path might seem fog-laden, filled with uncertainty, but there is a trusty little torch you can use to illuminate your way; knowledge.
Gaining an understanding of your situation first requires you to acquire the knowledge to navigate the various obstacles that will come before you. Whatever that knowledge might be, how well you learn it will determine how well you understand the world you are negotiating. Remember, time and a lack of total understanding are the two things likely to be against you when it comes to capitalizing on an opportunity that has arisen, and if you aren’t mitigating this as fast as you can; you can be assured that someone else is.
Gaining an understanding of your situation is what will enable you to overcome the obstacles ahead. It will help you plan ahead, and it will give you a degree of foresight to make course corrections on your path to your prize. It will enable you to out-maneuver your competition and anticipate setbacks.
Illuminating your path quickly is a must. You must move fast, and you must keep this fact in mind. Speed is the key, and the faster you learn and understand, the faster you can apply this to capitalizing on your opportunity. The best among your competitors move quickly, so you must beat them to the prize!
So what comes next?
Planning and execution are the obvious next steps here, but these are big topics, and better left for another time. However, understanding the relationships between opportunity, instincts and understanding will better enable you to understand the mindset required to be decisive. Decisiveness is a key attribute to succeed in any realm, it is the first step towards being able to take any and all opportunities that come before you. It is a quality that will steel your resolve and build confidence within yourself. It is the key to taking the initiative and gaining momentum.
Trust yourself, listen to your instincts and strive to gain knowledge and understanding; and you will be on the way to becoming a decisive person. Mistakes will be made along the way, roll with the punches. But consider this: if you don’t make a decision when it is required, someone else will make it for you; and it just might not be in your best interests …
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