“Shall I do it or better leave it”, “This would work; no, it may not” or “Shall I frankly say that; but it may annoy her” is a regular struggle, most have in their minds!
One of my former colleagues in USA was a group leader. He was intelligent, technically sound and in very good books of his divisional boss. Some of his peers were difficult and he used to admire his boss for managing them well. In due course of time, boss got promoted and this colleague was recommended to fill the position. He sought time of few days to think over, during which he struggled to decide should he take the challenge or not; would he be able to handle his difficult peers or not. Finally, he decided not to take the offer for fear of failure. Consequently, lot of his sub-ordinates got promoted to higher positions and he got sidelined, making him a frustrated lot!
Above story of double mindedness is common to most people routinely and results in lost opportunities, wrong or no decisions, poor relationships and disturbed minds!
Why double mindedness?
Our mind has current thoughts and past ones stored over a period of time. A popular hypothesis is that there is a conscious mind having current thought/s and past thoughts reside in our subconscious mind. Regardless of mind being in 2 parts or states, it always has a mix of several thoughts. For any given matter, where decision has to be evolved, we are bound to get more than one thought. When we are unable to pick one and proceed, we are in double mind.
Essentially, when we have thoughts in conflicts with one another, we struggle to arrive at a decision. That is the state of double mindedness. On average, humans are in state of double mind for more than 50% of time.
People mistake double mindedness with evaluation of options!
Many perceive that double mindedness is a necessary part of decision making process. They mistake it as part of evaluation of options. That is not true. Double mindedness occurs post evaluation of options and brings mind in a state of flux!
Does it mean single mindedness is good?
Single mindedness can bring very fast decisions and actions; but then it is not based on evaluations of available options. So, it can turn out to be thoughtless, rash or irrational! It may serve good purpose only in very limited activities like running a race of XX meters!
Why double trouble!
Mind may be double; but problems that it breeds are multiple:
- Lack of initiative
- Increased inertia
- Depleted innovativeness
- Plenty of indecisiveness
- Fractured focus
- Poor courage
- Incoherent thinking
- Feeble confidence
One or several of above problems get compounded by the fact that a double minded person tends to fall prey to weak or worse option! This brings in even bigger issues.
What makes a decisive mind
We need to be decisive to circumvent difficulties, chalk out strategies, work for success and growth, and inspire others to do that.
The way our mind works, conflict of thoughts (CoT) is inevitable. Don’t think that CoT is bad. What is bad is way we respond to same. CoT creates consciousness and makes us more analytical and wiser, if used correctly!
Here is the secret to turn CoT to your advantage:
- When mind has conflicting thoughts, don’t avoid these and just observe the same patiently.
Don’t get overwhelmed; just observe. Avoid emotions.
- Then evaluate options while such thoughts are passing your mind.
- You would be automatically driven to select one. Do it and proceed.
So, right sequence is Observe w/o emotions –> Evaluate –> Decide i.e., OED
It is a bane to evaluate and decide without observing. But, it is a blunder to decide straight away! Knowingly or unknowingly, all decisive or deserving people follow this sequence in their minds!
It is not necessary that OED would always lead to right decisions. Probability of your decisions going good would be high. Extremely important is that it would make you decisive and dynamic.
So, if you wish to replace confusion by confidence, dithering by diligence, fragility by agility and setbacks by successes, start practicing “Observe w/o emotions –> Evaluate –> Decide”!