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The Myth of Not Deciding by Jim Stovall

We succeed or fail in virtually every area of our lives based on the decisions we make. Decisions often make us nervous because we realize there could be unfavorable consequences if we make the wrong choice. The potential outcome causes many people to rush, delay, or avoid a decision. With every decision we face, there is an optimal window of time to both make and implement the decision. This optimal time comes when we have had an opportunity to gather as much information and input as possible while all of our options are still open.

Many people rush to make a decision because they don’t want to deal with the anxiety surrounding the analysis of the available choices. These people often make poor decisions with dire consequences because they did not have the benefit of quality information and input that would have helped them make a good choice had they simply taken the time to evaluate all of the resources available to them.

Suppose you are planning an outdoor activity, and you are worried about inclement weather. There’s no reason to make a decision 30 days in advance if you have the opportunity to wait until the day before the event to get a clearer picture of weather conditions and the short-term forecast.

Delaying a decision beyond the optimal window of time to make a choice can be as detrimental as rushing a decision. If a high school student is struggling to decide where to apply to college, there becomes a point when the application deadline begins to eliminate their available options. If you delay a decision, you will begin to lose options. If you postpone long enough, you will lose the opportunity to decide at all.

Either rushing or delaying a decision will damage your ability to make good choices. The first decision you need to make is; when do you need to decide? You need to choose a date that will give you ample time to gather all pertinent information and evaluate it. And, you need to decide before deadlines, or other external forces, begin to erode your options.

The worst way to handle a looming decision is to avoid it altogether. The people who avoid decisions are left with the least desirable options available or no options at all. If you avoid deciding what you want to enjoy in the banquet of life, you will find yourself eating leftovers or going hungry.

As you go through your day today, commit to making the right decisions at the right time for the right reasons.

Today’s the day!

Jim Stovall is the president of Narrative Television Network as well as a published author of many books including The Ultimate Gift. He is also a columnist and motivational speaker. He may be reached at 5840 South Memorial Drive, Suite 312, Tulsa, OK 74145-9082; by email at; on Twitter at; or on Facebook at

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