Society does not paint indecisiveness in a particularly good light. Most see it as a dysfunctional personality trait that is irritating at best and self-destructive at worst. Yet, recently, researchers have begun to focus on the potential, positive effects of indecision ? proposing that it may lead to more balanced and accurate judgment and decision-making.
Indecisiveness often stems from perfectionism. As one might imagine, perfectionists fear making the wrong choice and experiencing the shame and regret that would come with that choice. This makes them reluctant to make decisions until they feel certain that they’re doing the right thing. In some cases, however, they never reach that level of confidence, which leaves them in a state of limbo ? trapped in a mental tug of war that only continues to increase their anxiety and exhaustion. It is little wonder that people who measure high in indecisiveness often score low in life satisfaction.
In spite of all the negative connotations associated with indecisiveness, however, recent studies suggest that this inability to reach a swift and firm conclusion can actually have some concrete benefits. Uncomfortable as it may be, indecisiveness is generally associated with increased caution and meticulousness. According to Iris Schneider, a professor of social psychology, indecision often leads people to examine both sides of every issue. In turn, this may potentially help them to make better, more rational choices and make sound judgments about a situation or a problem.
A study conducted by psychologists from the University of Cologne also found that people tend to make choices that they would regret less when they ruminate on them first. According to the researchers, the most determined and decisive people show a tendency to rush when making assessments of a situation, which may lead to dissatisfying decisions later down the line. Meanwhile, indecisive people are able to weigh more carefully all the variables involved in the equation, which would allow them to make more balanced judgments than their more decisive counterparts. The researchers argue that being indecisive encourages individuals to evaluate more diverse alternatives and perspectives to make more informed decisions, protecting them from cognitive biases and, later on, discontentment once they finally stick to a path. Of course, as with all things in life, there is a balance that needs to be struck.
When your indecisiveness grows to an excessive level, try setting a time limit for your final decision so that you don’t waste time agonizing over the different options without actually gaining any new insights. Or, if you find that you are still paralyzed by indecision, try flipping a coin to give yourself a nudge. Indecisiveness can be a positive trait that allows us to make wiser decisions. However, once that ambivalent thinking serves its purpose, we must learn to cast it aside, as any decision is often better than making no choice at all.
Yesel Kang Staff Reporter
1. What do researchers say about the positive effects of indecision?
2. Where does indecisiveness come from? What do perfectionists fear?
3. What are the benefits of indecisiveness, according to the third paragraph?
4. What do pyschologists from University of Cologne find?
1. Do you consider yourself an indecisive person? Explain why or why not.
2. Are you a perfectionist? What are the pros and cons of being a perfectionist?
3. Do you agree that indecisive people are more cautious? Explain.
4. Do you thaink that indecisive people are more satisfied with their decisions? Explain.