Decisiveness: a work in progress

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
After realizing a little while ago that I am a very agreeable person, I wanted to look deeper into another aspect of my agreeableness. I originally thought that this lack of assertiveness was fine and that it is just a part of my makeup. After a few sessions with my kinesiologist, who prefers the term decisiveness, and talking with the Aus FOTCM crew on our usual weekly meetups I got some valuable feedback.

Firstly, when it comes to the big things in my life, I am quite capable of being decisive, it's the little things that I have trouble with. For most of the time I just don't seem to have a strong idea of which choice to make. It was pointed out to me that in being indecisive about the small things I am not taking responsibility for that choice/decision. Something as small as what do you want for dinner, my response would normally be, whatever is easier, or what ever you like etc Now that sounds fairly innocuous right? and sure it's not going to cause any major problems, (although it could become quite frustrating for a partner or such who always has to make a decision) but by not making a decision I am cleared of responsibility for the outcome of the meal. If the dinner was bad I assume no responsibility, well I didn't choose this, so it's not my fault. You can see how this plays out I am sure, and I am pretty sure that this works together with my "make nice" program too.

So I have been working on being more decisive and taking responsibility for what I want. The trick I have found, for me at least, is when I am asked a question like what do you want for dinner, chicken or fish? I look inward and see which I have even the slightest inkling for, and that's what I go with. I try to use my intuition as well to help guide me, because I also suffer from over thinking. I am always trying to balance every decision I make (for those into astrology, yes I am a Libra) and that does get a bit wearisome sometimes.

So far I have managed to be more decisive and it has also helped me examine what I actually what in a given situation, which has been pretty liberating. It's a constant struggle though, as I have spent my whole life, well at least as long as I can remember, with this behavior, so I am not expecting to change over night or suddenly change my personality type.

One real life example which I am dealing with at the moment, as trivial as it is, would be that I am thinking of cutting my hair. I have had long hair since I was in my late teens, so over half my life. It was recently brought to my attention that, maybe I hide behind my hair, and I mean that both physically and to an extent psychologically. So now, I am weighing up should I, shouldn't I, how short, will I look stupid and the thoughts go around and around. I even asked a few people whom I trust for their opinion, again, so if it doesn't work out (it looks bad or whatever) I can pass on some of the responsibility, OSIT. So a simple choice becomes something I enumerate on over and over, rather frustrating

I was wondering if anyone else has come up against this and has some experiences or advice on this matter?
 

nicklebleu

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I have had a similar strategy for a very long time but decided a while ago that I wanted to change that. So most of the time I can find a preference between two options, however small. But even when the two options seem absolutely equal, I have made it a habit to choose one, just to avoid “Whatever you want!”.

Recently I have been on the “receiving end” of that, and at times it has been quite annoying, because then the ultimate decision always lies with me, the team effort in a relationship seems to be missing then.

We always used to jokingly say that a relationship fails because of the tooth brush, meaning that we sort out the big things early on and walk away if we deem these to be incompatible, but the small things that need to be decided on many times a day can start to grate and maybe even ultimatley create frustration and resentment.

Also interesting for me was the fact that once I had taken the decision to be more decisive and had done that a few times, it became easier and easier.

Good on you, Baz!
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
So most of the time I can find a preference between two options, however small. But even when the two options seem absolutely equal, I have made it a habit to choose one, just to avoid “Whatever you want!”.

Yes, I think this is a great strategy, one which I have recently adopted, thanks for the advice ;)

Recently I have been on the “receiving end” of that, and at times it has been quite annoying, because then the ultimate decision always lies with me, the team effort in a relationship seems to be missing then.

We always used to jokingly say that a relationship fails because of the tooth brush, meaning that we sort out the big things early on and walk away if we deem these to be incompatible, but the small things that need to be decided on many times a day can start to grate and maybe even ultimatley create frustration and resentment.

And this is something I want to avoid in the future, I agree it should be a 'team effort" and each partner should bare the responsibility

Also interesting for me was the fact that once I had taken the decision to be more decisive and had done that a few times, it became easier and easier.

Good to know, thanks, I'll keep plodding along :)
 

BHelmet

Jedi Council Member
After realizing a little while ago that I am a very agreeable person, I wanted to look deeper into another aspect of my agreeableness. I originally thought that this lack of assertiveness was fine and that it is just a part of my makeup. After a few sessions with my kinesiologist, who prefers the term decisiveness, and talking with the Aus FOTCM crew on our usual weekly meetups I got some valuable feedback.
 

BHelmet

Jedi Council Member
Regarding hair and appearance:
I started going bald when I was 21. I had long hair and wore head scarves a la Hendrix and hats as well. Since I was a hippie at that age in 1971 it did not look odd. But I realized I was indeed hiding and as I got older I had to confront my rationalizations. Appearance is subjective.

Is it the inner being that is important or the outward appearance of the human machine? What is so uncomfortable about accepting and looking like what you look like?

We can't know what we look like to others. (G mentioned looking at your reflection in a 2nd mirror to get an idea) But what does it really matter? You may be very well "attached" to your hair and self image. When I finally realized I looked stupid WITH long hair and that I was using my hair to make various statements (e.g., "I am aloof from social norms"), I made cutting my hair a conscious act/exercise.

It's not what I look like, it's who I am that matters.
 

Oxajil

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So I have been working on being more decisive and taking responsibility for what I want. The trick I have found, for me at least, is when I am asked a question like what do you want for dinner, chicken or fish? I look inward and see which I have even the slightest inkling for, and that's what I go with. I try to use my intuition as well to help guide me, because I also suffer from over thinking. I am always trying to balance every decision I make (for those into astrology, yes I am a Libra) and that does get a bit wearisome sometimes.

Your approach sounds good to me. With practice, it will hopefully get easier to make decisions for smaller things as well.

One real life example which I am dealing with at the moment, as trivial as it is, would be that I am thinking of cutting my hair. I have had long hair since I was in my late teens, so over half my life. It was recently brought to my attention that, maybe I hide behind my hair, and I mean that both physically and to an extent psychologically. So now, I am weighing up should I, shouldn't I, how short, will I look stupid and the thoughts go around and around. I even asked a few people whom I trust for their opinion, again, so if it doesn't work out (it looks bad or whatever) I can pass on some of the responsibility, OSIT. So a simple choice becomes something I enumerate on over and over, rather frustrating

Maybe you could go through some magazines and see which haircut you like best. If it turns out as something you don't like, it'll grow back in no time. But if you can find a good barber in the area (you could ask friends if they know a good one), I'm sure they'll be able to create something nice with your request. :-) My 2 cents!
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Thanks BHelmet, I agree that appearance is subjective and it's who I am that matters. I guess it's been part of who I am for so long that it has come to almost define me. I enjoy having long hair, I think it suits me, I just feel like I need a bit of a change, not that I am planning on cutting it all off, just shorter, to see how I feel about it. And yes, I think making it a conscious exercise is kind of why I am doing it, it's almost like Samson, haha, only one way to find out.

If it turns out as something you don't like, it'll grow back in no time.

Thanks Oxajil, yes, I am having similar thoughts, my hair does grow quite quickly too so it wont take to long if I don't like it. I have sarted asking around about barbers, I will find the right one and ask their advice..
 

Joe

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I was wondering if anyone else has come up against this and has some experiences or advice on this matter?

Maybe you can try to accept the truth that, in some situations, you can't know what the "best" decision is. In that case, there is absolutely no point in stressing over it, and the only option is to "blindly" just pick one, in the knowledge that no choice you make is really "blind" (there are all sorts of unconscious motivations guiding your choice). When you choose one, completely forget the other option, act as if it never existed. This will help you to commit to, and be happy with, the decision you made. Then you'll find out what the decision you made produced, you'll learn something (however small) and that's the point!
 

Arwenn

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Sounds like you’re on the right track 987baz- I think the trick is not to over think your response as Joe mentioned above. It’s easy to know your deal breakers in a relationship (things you’d definitely not compromise your values/morals over), but it’s the day-to-day decisions where an opinion (any opinion, in fact) would be better than indifference. As you said, there is safety in not choosing for sure - it’s absolves you from responsibility, and whatever the outcome, it’s a safe bet. Contributing to the agreeableness are perhaps deep programs of people-pleasing (making nice, no matter what) & perfectionism/shame. I have recently learned that my make nice programs can still over-ride my abilities to be assertive, but they have been put to the test around people who were not who I thought they were. It’s all lessons!

And as for the hair, how short were you thinking of going? Any hairstyles in mind? There’s a saying that goes something like there’s only a few weeks’ difference between a bad haircut and a good one, and if your hair grows quick, it won’t be too much of a problem (unless you’re going for short back and sides!).

:cool: :cool2:
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
When you choose one, completely forget the other option, act as if it never existed. This will help you to commit to, and be happy with, the decision you made. Then you'll find out what the decision you made produced, you'll learn something (however small) and that's the point!

wow! I never thought of it like that, so every decision you make, no matter how small, you learn something from, and by not making a decision I have been depriving myself of a learning opportunity!. It makes total sense, something I have been missing out on for a long time. Thank you Joe for that, resonates profoundly with me!

As you said, there is safety in not choosing for sure - it’s absolves you from responsibility, and whatever the outcome, it’s a safe bet. Contributing to the agreeableness are perhaps deep programs of people-pleasing (making nice, no matter what) & perfectionism/shame

Absolutely, the make-nice thing has been something I have been battling for quite some time, and I think this is a big step forward to dealing with it more effectively!

And as for the hair, how short were you thinking of going? Any hairstyles in mind? There’s a saying that goes something like there’s only a few weeks’ difference between a bad haircut and a good one, and if your hair grows quick, it won’t be too much of a problem (unless you’re going for short back and sides!).

Well, to be honest, I was thinking maybe shoulder length, at least long enough to tie it up. I don't really have any styles in mind at the moment, certainly not the old short back and sides haha. I just got back from a jam with a few mates and coincidentally one of them mentioned a great hairdresser he knows, so maybe I'll book in and see what she recommends.
 

genero81

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So now, I am weighing up should I, shouldn't I, how short, will I look stupid and the thoughts go around and around. I even asked a few people whom I trust for their opinion, again, so if it doesn't work out (it looks bad or whatever) I can pass on some of the responsibility, OSIT.

You mentioned this idea of getting others opinions so you might pass the buck if the decision turns out to be a bad one, twice. What I see is that you don't trust your own motivations where it comes to asking others for advice. I think maybe you should take a look at that mental twist. There's nothing wrong with asking others for their advice or opinions. It's usually a good idea, in fact. However, whatever decision you make is squarely on you nonetheless.
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
You mentioned this idea of getting others opinions so you might pass the buck if the decision turns out to be a bad one, twice. What I see is that you don't trust your own motivations where it comes to asking others for advice. I think maybe you should take a look at that mental twist. There's nothing wrong with asking others for their advice or opinions. It's usually a good idea, in fact. However, whatever decision you make is squarely on you nonetheless.

Fair point, I think maybe I over swung the pendulum a little, a little black and white thinking there on my part. Thanks for pointing that out! much appreciated :)
 

genero81

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Fair point, I think maybe I over swung the pendulum a little, a little black and white thinking there on my part. Thanks for pointing that out! much appreciated :)

I think you were having some thoughts that just weren't true; i.e. "I'm seeking out advice so I don't have to take full responsibility for my decisions." I've had that sort of thing happen before and it usually comes in waves where I make an unnecessarily negative judgement on something that doesn't warrant it. Once recognized, those thoughts went away.
 

Chu

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IMO, there is no such thing as not making decisions. By letting others make decisions for you, you are already making a decision: to make them decide and relinquish responsibility. This tendency could be due to a multitude of reasons rooted in the past, your temperament, etc. So, you already know how to make small decisions, and trying out NEW ones is a good experiment. Actively deciding, and taking responsibility.

One thing that may help is to weigh a decision in terms of its importance. What length your hair is, is really no big deal. It grows back, it doesn't really define you, and it's not morally wrong. So do it and see! The same with deciding your dinner (in which case you take the pros and cons for your health, but other than that, it should be easy and quick.) You can try allowing yourself a limited amount of time, say 5 minutes maximum, to decide, and that's it. When you know how to distinguish between small decisions and big ones, then you can spend more time and energy on the important ones, go for A, assume that B doesn't exist, and learn from it.

You say that when it comes to big decisions, you are quite capable. But at least from my experience, angsting about small decisions has often been indicative of me refusing to see the root of a bigger problem, or escaping having to make a big decision as to who I really wanted to be, and how I really wanted to act. The hair issue could be a sign, for example, that it is more about who you really want to be, even if you were bald. It may not be so much "hiding behind your hair", as it may be that things like your hair give you a sense of identity you may be missing in other fronts. Just another possibility, FWIW.
 

987baz

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
IMO, there is no such thing as not making decisions. By letting others make decisions for you, you are already making a decision: to make them decide and relinquish responsibility. This tendency could be due to a multitude of reasons rooted in the past, your temperament, etc. So, you already know how to make small decisions, and trying out NEW ones is a good experiment. Actively deciding, and taking responsibility.

Very true, I think this program/tendency is about responsibility plain and simple. And while, it's probably a combination of things, past, parents, temperament, it's something that I am keen to address and to overcome, or at least be better at. So trying new ones, as you say, is the way forward, or so I think.

One thing that may help is to weigh a decision in terms of its importance. What length your hair is, is really no big deal. It grows back, it doesn't really define you, and it's not morally wrong. So do it and see! The same with deciding your dinner (in which case you take the pros and cons for your health, but other than that, it should be easy and quick.) You can try allowing yourself a limited amount of time, say 5 minutes maximum, to decide, and that's it. When you know how to distinguish between small decisions and big ones, then you can spend more time and energy on the important ones, go for A, assume that B doesn't exist, and learn from it.

The time limit idea is something I will implement, especially for the small stuff. I think it will help with the overthinking of things. So many thanks for that :)

You say that when it comes to big decisions, you are quite capable. But at least from my experience, angsting about small decisions has often been indicative of me refusing to see the root of a bigger problem, or escaping having to make a big decision as to who I really wanted to be, and how I really wanted to act. The hair issue could be a sign, for example, that it is more about who you really want to be, even if you were bald. It may not be so much "hiding behind your hair", as it may be that things like your hair give you a sense of identity you may be missing in other fronts. Just another possibility, FWIW.

Interesting observation, it may well be the case, although it seems for me when the stakes are higher, I have far less trouble making a decision, I just proceed using my moral code, it's easier because there's something more at stake, with the smaller decisions there is less at stake and maybe that's why I find it harder to make a decision, if that makes sense?

Yes, I do think that the hair gives me a sense of identity, I will have to ponder whether this may be missing in other fronts, as I can't answer that question off the top of my head, which may indeed be a sign that you're onto something there for sure. Thanks Chu, appreciate the feedback, you have certainly given me more to think about :)
 
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