Decisiveness has been a challenge for me from a young age. I associate it with a kind of confidence, so I often felt incompetent when I couldn’t express exactly what I wanted or needed when presented with a “this or that.” Whenever I was asked my favorite color, I’d say “rainbow.” I think many cultures and societies value decisiveness because it suggests authority and maybe even intelligence. It shows passion, assertiveness, and it’s often faster.
Undoubtedly being in the presence of someone who is wishy-washy and says “I don’t care, you pick” all the time is frustrating. However, living in a wealthy society means we are constantly given an overwhelming amount of options. Is it necessary to have so many options? Balance, like most other Live Fluently posts, is a major theme here. How do we become masters of decisions on the fly and remain flexible?
How would you rate your confidence in the decisions you make? I’m always curious about the kinds of decisions people report relying on reasoning and the ones they rely on “gut feeling.” I wonder out of those decisions which method leads to less regret.
One intuitive practice is using a pendulum. A pendulum is a tool common in spiritual circles for Yes or No answers. Usually it’s a pointed stone or crystal on the end of a chain that you hold loosely in your dominant hand. With conscious effort to not move your hand to manipulate it, the stone will swing on its own.
The stone swings clockwise for my personal Yes and vertically back and forth for my personal No. When I do tarot readings for people, they often have a different No like counter-clockwise or swinging horizontally.
The energetic pulls of Yes and No can exist without the pendulum. Try this exercise! Stand up with your feet together and your hands resting by your sides. Begin with a Yes you know is true like your name. Concentrate “my name is [your name]” close your eyes and feel what happens.
When I do this, my body naturally leans forward. (Note: if you feel yourself about to fall, open your eyes.) Now say something you know is false like “my name is [anything that isn’t your name].” Feel what happens. When I do this, my body naturally leans back. When you understand your personal Yes and No, you tune into what sensations clearly tell you, kind of like a gut feeling.
As I become more in-tune, I have started using my dominant hand alone. If I rest it loosely next to me or gently in the air, it will move the same way a pendulum does for me (clockwise and vertical). It feels a bit magical, but I don’t use it for everything. Like other tools, it’s best not to fully rely on them.
Pendulum questions are specific to be most effective. My go-to is “Is it in my best interest to…” Sometimes the answer turns out to be more of a learning experience than a fun one, but it was probably true that it was in my best interest.
There’s not a sense of time with pendulums, at least not the chronological, dated time we know. So to include words like “tomorrow,” “soon,” and “May 8th” will likely give false positives/negatives. Sometimes I don’t get an answer at all!
It’s worth noting that pendulums can be influenced by you. They can show the answers you want to see because the energy you are focusing on, a hope for Yes or No, overpowers the “truth.” I try not to use my pendulum too often, but it has helped me to more deeply experience the feelings of Yes and No.
When I pay attention to the sensations in my body about a decision, I’m likely to notice implicit desires or otherwise unnoticed information. Feeling your Yes and No gives you something to recognize in a moment awaiting your decision.
Aside from intuitive practice to improve my decisiveness, a good amount of discernment in reasoning is equally important. But, the most important component to making a decision, for me, has been fearlessness, or willingness to be flexible.
So many of us worry that we’ll make the “wrong” decision and the weight of the responsibility of that decision can feel debilitating. Even when deciding between french fries or sweet potato fries in a restaurant, we try so hard to anticipate what will be the most pleasant experience.
The risk of risk-taking brings all kinds of self-deprecation, blame, and hindsight bias if it doesn’t work out. To let go of self-imposed pressure creates space for clarity. With more clarity, there is less irrationality that your decision was doom, and you have the ability to remember logic or notice subtle intuitive cues. Decisions are all learning experiences. Many of them need playfulness.
What about the decisions or viewpoints we are most adamant about? At what point can we ease our Yes and No to Maybe or Undecided? It wasn’t until I became more decisive that I realized some indecisiveness is healthy. I couldn’t articulate it then, but it was important to me to choose rainbow as my favorite color because I knew I liked a lot of different colors and it changed frequently. Why would I restrict myself being a “pink girl” when my favorite is more fluid?
There have been times when I anticipated being pleased with whatever option chosen, so I preferred to have someone who would be unhappy with one option have the ability to pick the other one. I wasn’t trying to be complicated, but it often led to a lot of huffing. I think we’re conditioned to take a strong stance, so when there’s neutrality, it feels like there’s no direction or care.
For some of us, Yes and No is really strong. That firm stance calcifies so we can’t (or refuse) to see common ground with anyone who is not firmly beside us. We narrow to only one option and that option is the right one. There is no such thing as maybe or unsure because those are weak. This becomes less about the issue at hand and more about asserting power to inflate ego.
I mention similar ideas here, especially political polarities, but I want to highlight again in this post what middle ground can be. Middle ground doesn’t mean foregoing your position. You learn to respect the other side. You see the human on the other side. The one who also is full of passion and fear, and also wants a better world for their kids.
We live in a world where extremes get headlines. Extreme opinions look popular because they gets conversation time, usually from the loudest speakers. The perpetual state of shock is supposed to either excite or exhaust us.
Middle ground and compromise is progress for all of us. And it eliminates the “them.” To neutralize some of our hardest Yes’s and No’s, we have to stop making them our identities. We have to learn to be comfortable changing our minds once in a while. Let your viewpoint grow with you, or grow out of it! Today my favorite color is yellow, but if someone asked, I might still say rainbow.
Recognize your Yes, No, and middle ground. Try mixing them up! If you like this page, please share it.