Some people take only seconds to make life-impacting decisions. If you’re an introvert like me, you’ll need more time to sort through all of the pros, cons, and potential outcomes before making a significant decision in life. For introverts, making important decisions is more of a science than a confident impulse.
Whether it’s a major career move or the decision to leave an unhealthy relationship, you need to have your head in the game when it comes time to take action. Asking friends and family for help or turning to the internet for inspiration often leads to no conclusion.
So what do you do when you’re indecisive yet a decision needs to be made?
You write. Leave your friends and family out of it and just write. According to Psychology Today, “introverts are drained by social encounters and energized by solitary, often creative pursuits.”
Writing will help you to figure out, without a doubt, what you want and what needs to be done. Be brave enough to put your thoughts down in writing, and you’ll realize the outcome you really want and know what you need to do to make it happen.
How Being an Introvert Impacts Your Decision-Making
Introverts tend to second guess everything they do. They are incredibly observant and intelligent, but they don’t make bold decisions on demand. They are the strong and silent type, needing days or months to contemplate big decisions or take those first steps towards what they really want in life. Alena Hall says in this HuffPost article that “introverts naturally prefer spending time alone or in a small group, delving deeply into one task at a time and taking their time when it comes to making decisions and solving problems.” Once they do make a decision, introverts usually stick to it steadfastly.
Unfortunately for the introvert, the tendency to stagnate when it comes to making decisions can cause them to settle in the interim, allowing mediocre circumstances to take over. Introverts are paralyzed by the fear of making the wrong decision or not being able to follow through with a decision they do make – so they delay.
Types of Advice-givers
Most people ask family, friends, and their spouse what to do when making a major decision. They desperately research online to find stories of people in similar situations. But should you really listen to all that advice?
Your friends and family love you and want the best for you. The only problem is that their idea of what’s best for you might not actually be what’s best for you. In my experience, there are two types of advice-givers.
The dreamer will dream right along with you and tell you whatever you want to hear. These well-meaning friends and relatives are always on your side. They sense how you feel about each choice based on the way you present it to them. They already know what you want, and they are just there to point you in the direction you are leaning towards anyway.
All the dreamer does is agree with you (because you convinced them) and they don’t give you any new substance. While you may feel encouraged, you still depart the conversation in the same indecisive spot where you began.
A second type of advice-giver is the realist. In contrast to the dreamer, the realist tells you that everything is a bad idea. They are quick to point out the risks in every scenario. They think they have your best interest at heart by telling you the safest thing to do. They don’t care about your dreams; they shut them down in the name of practicality. They fear for your destruction and try to offer up the most sound solution while dismissing your true desires.
But don’t we all need someone like this to keep us on track and from making bad choices? In moderation, sure. When we have a completely unrealistic idea, yes. The issue with this type of advisor is that they stunt your personal growth. They strike down your desired choice before it can even flourish. They will tell you to be a business major when you really want to study music. They will tell you to stick with the guy who has a stable job when you really love the bootstrapping entrepreneur.
Why and How to Write and Decide
In an article on Lifehack.org, Tom Farr suggests that “introverts tend to be naturally cautious people, approaching any task with great thought and care. While this could be a detriment if caution is allowed to turn into paralysis, it can be a great asset if they learn to utilize it to get things done.”
So how does an introvert get things done? First, they should direct all that focus and creative energy into writing out their thoughts. If someone really has all these unsorted emotions bottled up inside, they will be dying to come out.
If you don’t know where to start, try writing about your life, the decisions you’ve made so far, and why you are now in a position to decide what to do next. Then write out what you are going to do about it.
Try structuring your reflective writing like this:
- How did I get to where I’m at now?
- Why am I unsatisfied with this situation?
- What is my ideal outcome?
- What do I need to do now?
Releasing your feelings on the page is a big stress-reliever. This alone will allow you to think more clearly about your situation. Writing out what you want without fear of what anyone else might think will paint a clear picture of who you are and what you want. While you might portray a certain persona to others, reflecting without reservation will bring things out of you that are buried deep.
Listening to Your Inner Voice
Only you know what’s best for you. The problem is that you don’t know how to sort through your thoughts to get a clear idea of what you want and why it’s so important to you. Once you know what you want with clarity and confidence, it shouldn’t be difficult to conjure up the courage to go for it. After all, now you know what you truly want and why you want it. If it’s that important to you, you’ll make it happen. So open up that word document, and start writing.