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Are you undecided whether to read this or not?

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Feb 28, 2008.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    If you are undecided about having your breakfast before or after bath on a lazy Sunday morning and start pacing the floor furiously to come to some decision, you don’t become a Hamlet. You are just being indecisive whereas Hamlet was on the horns of a dilemma. One of the Word Power dictionaries defines a dilemma as ‘a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between alternatives that are equally undesirable’. According to this definition, if you are undecided about the timing of your bath on a Sunday morning, it is not a dilemma but if you are confronted with the difficult alternative between sending your wife to her home for a short vacation or letting your MIL spend a few days with your wife at your place, it is a dilemma indeed. In such a situation you are well within your right to strike a Hamlet-like pose.

    Dilemmas are unpleasant not only because you have to decide between two undesirable alternatives but also because you have no option but to take a decision either way. It is like the case of a condemned crusader who is given a choice by some hot-headed Roman Emperor either to get devoured by a hungry lion or being thrown into an inferno. There is absolutely no scope for procrastinating there with a hope that the lion would eventually lose its appetite for humans or the inferno would soon die down. Nor can you plead with the Emperor for a bit of time to make your choice as you are presently preoccupied with other more important questions. So we shall leave out dilemmas from the ambit of our discussion and confine ourselves to the malady of indecision which is as common as indigestion.

    Very few people can claim immunity from common cold and indecision. Both affect everyone from time to time and the best that anyone can do about them is to ensure that they do not develop into something more serious. Fortunately for us, our brains have certain inbuilt programmes that do not wait for us to take a decision in certain areas. When you drive a car and want to take a right turn, you switch on the flicker light to indicate that you are turning right. Any indecision there can be fatal and our minds know it. When it comes to eating, everyone follows a certain order in which the eatables are consumed. As a typical South Indian veggie, I eat my rice with Sambar first, rasam next and curds finally. There is no indecision as far as the eating order is concerned. But we are at our indecisive best when we go to an expensive restaurant and the lavishly bulky menu card is presented to us. I have come across people who take a lot more time in ordering their food than they spend in consuming it!

    Indecision and procrastination are twins. In fact, people procrastinate because they are indecisive. There are many reasons for indecisiveness. "The trouble with our brains", says decision researcher Peter Ayton from the Society for Judgment and Decision Making, "is that they were designed to survive in the relatively simple environment of the African Savannah, thousands of years ago." Arising out of this finding, it follows that the people who lead an uncomplicated life will have more difficulty in decision making when facing a complex situation. The modern life is beset with far more complexities than man had to face thousands of years ago. Another finding of the scholars is that our decision making capability has not kept pace with the increase in complexities in our day to day life. The cumulative effect of these two factors has certainly resulted in general indecisiveness everywhere!

    The other aspect that contributes to indecisiveness is the multiple choices available. For example, if it starts raining heavily when we are walking on the road, we run for cover and though it also involves a decision making process, we do not even feel it. Similarly when we go to a fast food joint where only two items are available, we are able to decide without much difficulty what we want to eat. But when we go to a multi cuisine restaurant where there are hundreds of items available, we become totally indecisive. Because of the plethora of choices available in every field of activity now, we are forced to take decisions where there was no need for them a hundred years back! From getting up in the morning till we hit the bed at night, it is a continuous chain of decision making processes.

    The inability to take a decision is now termed as ‘decidophobia’! It is the breeding ground for procrastination. To tell you the truth, I too suffer from it. The other day I went to a renowned bookshop to scout for some good book on decision making. There were so many of them, all looking attractive and useful, that I could not decide which one to buy. So I put off the purchase and walked out with something else that I never needed!
     
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  2. Shanvy

    Shanvy IL Hall of Fame

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    Sri,

    Good one.

    I have been too practical most of the time, and have been known to take very quick decisions..

    Very few instances, i have had this dilemma that too for a few minutes, when somebody is also involved in my decisions...something similar to a prisoner's dilemma...
     
  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Shanthi
    You have nicely brought out another angle of indecision. You are right that even people who take quick decisions become somewhat indecisive when their decisions may have an impact on others. It is to be attributed to their concern for others. I have heard people saying 'I would not have said yes (or no) if he was not involved in this'
    Sri
     
  4. Malathijagan

    Malathijagan Silver IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya sir,
    This piece was not only interesting but also informative! The decision making problems are directly proportionate to the growing complexities of life! I had the satisfaction of reading a good write up. It has boosted my energy levels!
    Yes, you were right with the title! I was undecided whether to read this or not till I just peeped in to see what could it be like and I was trapped into reading it! Some times indecisions can be won over too by third parties!
     
  5. aishu22

    aishu22 Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Sri,
    This was an interesting post.I have always been thru this (hated) part of taking decisions.People around me call me"DA" - deciding authority;for i think all the possible options and come out with a solution at last.Most of the time it has so happened that only my decision would have workedI always think about a long term solution rather than to crub the issue for now.
    Indeed Sri, its not so easy to make this decision making in family life - especially with relatives.
     
  6. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Malathi
    Thank you for your kind words of appreciation but I was quite disconcerted by your reference to third parties! Is not IL a family by its own right?
    But seriously, it is not uncommon that we let our decisions be taken by others. I call it Divine intervention! When I go to the vegetable market, I let the owner decide what is good for me. Otherwise, I would just return empty handed!
    Sri
     
  7. Jaynat

    Jaynat New IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya sir

    You have put it very nicely. Very difficult to take decisions when faced with two sets of options which does not appeal to us, Also like shanvy stated difficulties arise when decisions involve other people .So ultimatly i have come to realise that somethings has to be compromised for a a better gain( though it is only an assumption that whatever decisions we take now will give better gains in future!) By gains here i do not mean monetary gains alone. I take decisions quickly( though not always practical ones) and do not keep an issue pending for a long time. And once i decide which way to move i like to move forward immediatly and do not like to wait for others to follow the same path.

    Jay.
     
  8. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Aishu
    To have the woman of the house take every decision of importance is the ultimate dream of every man. A man is more scared of accountability than of cockroaches! It is a lot easier to let the decions be taken by Her Highness whether they go right or wrong. It is easier to put up with it than take a wrong decision and be bombarded by HH for life!
    The confusion is usually in relation to short term issues where an immediate decision is imperative but in long term issues, there is scope for procrastination!
    Sri
     
  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Jay
    You sound too practical for comfort! I do not know if you are aware that the chinese are compulsive gamblers. They bet on everything conceivable.They even bet on issues like where the next bird droppings will land! They adore indecisive people because such people provide more scope for speculation and betting! So I dont think you are going to be a welcome visitor on either side of the Great Wall!
    I love sleeping over my problems and wait for them to get solved by themselves. If I ever decide to solve them, they usually get more complicated!
    Sri
     
  10. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri
    I can answer your question "Are you undecided whether to read this or not?" in a split second. Ofcourse I am going to read it as I always manage to read everything you write from here to Vedanta. If you had asked if I was going to do some chindu activities on this thread..hmm..there is a dilemma right there..As for the most part I think I should not but the trend leads me to.. There is ofcourse the dilemma for me as to what to cook for dinner? Almost everyday i have it. Somedays it becomes so serious that no action is taken in the kitchen as my whole self is pondering with the dilemma as to what to cook? Ofcourse then I would rely on family members who share my abode and then it would be very clear to me what to do. Nothing that they suggest. If only I had asked them all earlier..?! This indecisive factor I think is a trait in some people. Me, I usually take decisions in matter of seconds if not minutes. If I ponder for more than a few minutes in making a decision its mostly to do with totally irrrelevant and unimportant matters. I was not aware of this term 'decidophobia'. See how much I am learning by just visiting here. Now I can tell my ds who always has to know whats for dinner that I am in the clutches of decidophobia. And as soon as he says what can be cooked BAMMMM I am free from the clutches of decidophobia and can cook something he has not suggested. A very well written and presented thread ..Hats off to you.
     

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