June 12, 2003

Defeating the Demons of Inaction: Indecision

by Gregg Krech & Linda Anderson Krech

"Something that I have noticed about shinkeishitsu (neurotic) people in both the United States and Japan is that they try to turn every action into a decision. They make every act a psychological dilemma. The reality is that nothing is getting done except deciding. They are really deciding to decide, not deciding to act. By this process they push themselves away from reality into their own minds." --David K. Reynolds

How do we continue to get things done when we don't know what things need doing, when we are unclear about the next step to take? Most of us have had the experience of being stuck in an indecisive mode, not moving forward or backward or even to the side, just hovering in flight, waiting or searching for a sign that will indicate the best direction.

It can be difficult to move forward without clarity, for clarity of purpose often brings with it enthusiasm and energy. But when clarity is lacking, what is the best response? If clarity is still elusive after giving the issue some thoughtful consideration and doing some good homework, what are our options? Afraid to make the wrong choice, we can wait and hope for a decision to become obvious. We try to think through the issue in our mind. We analyze it and ruminate about it.

But we can't figure out life in our mind. Life is resolved through life itself.

Even when we think we've figured everything out intellectually, life seldom plays out as a perfect replica of our mental plan.

So when we are confronted by indecision, we need to move forward despite our doubts or confusion. We need to move forward, even if we're only taking small steps. Those steps, regardless of which direction they go in, are likely to give us new information and experience. Our actions send ripples into the world. The situation may change or reveal itself in a new way once we have moved to a new vantage point.

Think of your life as a movie you are watching. You are midway through the movie and you don't know what is going to happen. But you're not supposed to know what is going to happen. The movie is not over yet. This is the challenge posed by the demon of indecision: Can you move forward in the face of uncertainty? Can you co-exist with confusion and not-knowing and take the next step?

You'll feel confused. You'll feel anxious. You'll wonder whether you're making the "right" decision.

And somewhere along the road you may discover that there is no such thing as the "right" decision. And that discovery becomes an important tool for taming the demon of indecision.

Gregg Krech is a leading expert in Japanese Psychology and director of the ToDo Institute where he conducts certification training, workshops and seminars. He is the author of several books including the award-winning book, Naikan: Gratitude, Grace and the Japanese Art of Self-Reflection.

Linda Anderson Krech is social worker, staff member of the ToDo Institute and co-author of The Concise, Little Guide to Getting Things Done. She is one of the founders of the Working with Challenging Children model which incorporates principles of Japanese Psychology (Morita and Naikan) along with methods developed by psychiatrist Rudolf Dreikurs.

Posted on June 12, 2003 3:08 PM

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Posted by: Cindy on July 24, 2009 1:30 PM

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Posted by: Kevin on December 20, 2005 6:14 AM

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Procrastination is as serious as the other addictions I've been delivered from and am constantly practicing recovery by means of new information to override the wrong choices.

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I've been dealing with this problem for a while. Some of has to do with my lack of energy. And I sleep a whole lot. I have a little baby. But It's
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I have problems with chronic proscratination. Time usually catches up with my datelines, and it causes me great stress and inability to think straight..sort of a boxed in feeling. how can i overcome such feelings.

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Posted by: Tony Haymon on January 30, 2004 7:36 PM
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