Milk chocolate or dark chocolate? Accept the invitation or decline? Take the dream job far away or stay close to the familiar?
A huge chunk of our stress comes from decision making. We are constantly weighing pros and cons, risks and benefits–doing our best to choose wisely in the face of incomplete or conflicting information, inadequate experience, and rapid change.
Albert Mohler calls Indecisiveness one of history’s greatest leadership killers. I think he’s right:
“Organizations thrive when leaders make the right decisions, and they fail when leaders make the wrong ones. What is often less obvious is the fact that organizations can suffer worse when leaders refuse to make any decision at all. Indecisiveness is one of history’s greatest leadership killers.”Albert Mohler, The Conviction to Lead, 142.
We’re rightly afraid of the negative consequences of a bad decision. We can become paralyzed by a fear of failure. But wisdom requires us to take stock of the negative consequences of delay–burning up energy deliberating that could be better used deploying; missing opportunity, delaying relief to the suffering, losing institutional (or personal) credibility, etc.
Now, I’ll consistently warn folks to beware of the tyranny of the urgent. Things are usually not as urgent as they feel. However, some things are more urgent than we realize, and require a timely decision. We’re scared so we spin. Perhaps it’s time to be less afraid of failure and more aware of the hidden costs of riding fences.