If it’s hard for you to make a decision, you’re not alone. A study of 2,000 people indicates that over half of them characterize themselves as being indecisive. Why is this? Why do some people come to conclusions quickly while others struggle to determine which direction to go in? How are decisive people different from others? To answer those questions, we delved into the research to determine what science has to say:
Decisive People Focus on 1 Important Factor. If you’ve ever stared too long at a restaurant menu debating your options, perhaps it’s because you’re considering a number of factors like taste, nutrition, cost, novelty, etc. Instead, according to a Wesleyan University study, you’re more likely to come to a quick conclusion if instead, you focus on just 1 priority—taste, for example. The university’s findings suggest that indecision is related to considering the pros and cons of a number of factors, rather than just focusing on the most important factor.
Rich People Are More Decisive. Interestingly enough, author Napoleon Hill concluded that one thing that sets the rich apart from others (besides their money) is their decisiveness. Hill writes, “Analysis of several hundred people who had accumulated fortunes well beyond the million dollar mark disclosed the fact that every one of them had the habit of reaching decisions promptly.”
Indecisive People Can Become More Decisive. Incentives—like the thought of bettering our income—can make us more decisive. For instance, in 2006 Agilent Technologies CEO Bill Sullivan decided that his managers’ decisions were not keeping pace with industry changes. Yet within 3 years, the company managers went from the 50th percentile in decisiveness to the 82nd. Sullivan accomplished this by asking employees to rate their managers on decisiveness. This simple change was enough incentive to dramatically overhaul the managers’ approach to decision making.
And, speaking of incentives, if the knowledge that rich people are more decisive makes you want to improve this skill, click here to read our blog post, “How to Be More Decisive.”