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!