As we have mentioned many times, balance is so important in life. When make a decision we need balance as well. On one extreme you have the impulsive person who does not think things through and then is left to suffer the consequences. On the other end of the spectrum you have the person who is too hesitant, always second guessing himself. He often finds the opportunity passes him by.
In the classroom what Mr. Impulsive will look like is the person who quickly answers the test, not because he is well prepared, but rather because he is anxious facing the daunting task of deliberating on what the best answer is. Mr. Impulsive just wants to get this whole decision making out of the way. He is not clear on the function of electrons and just wants the pain of trying to figure it out over as soon as possible. Perhaps he can’t brainstorm creatively under pressure in writing class so he scribbles something quickly and deems the assignment done. While the Second Guesser is never finished at the end of test time because he dwelled on each answer for so long, doubting himself even if well prepared. Perhaps he can’t brainstorm creatively under pressure in writing class so he overthinks the whole thing and has written little if anything at all when time is up.
Life is full of decisions that must be made. People would like success to come quickly and with minimal effort. Simon Sinek speaks about this idea in his talk about the Millenial question, in which he says it is a new problem. The fact is it has always been human nature to act in one extreme of the other. Alchemists of old were known to try and turn lead into gold, with the hope that success would be a shorter path to riches than mining for gold. Today the problem may be exacerbated since we, as mentioned previously, are used to instant gratification. We have the conveniences of fast food, microwaves, email, fax machines, etc.
It is important to reflect and deliberate for an appropriate amount of time. To do that you first must know what an appropriate amount of time is. You also need to know how knowledgeable you are on the topic. To propose marriage the first time you meet someone you like “a lot” or invest a large sum of money in “a great opportunity” as soon as it is presented to you is fool hardy. These are big decisions with potentially huge consequences. Deciding what to have for breakfast is not as consequential and thus does not warrant the same attention but certainly deserves some consideration as it does affect your health.
Reflection is important and must be scheduled. You want to reflect on what you are learning so that you understand. You want to reflect on the direction of your life and whether it matches your goal. Set aside time to reflect daily, weekly and annually (that’s what birthdays are for). Just don’t reflect for too long. Have you ever gone out to eat with someone who cannot decide what to order? Once everyone else has ordered, you will notice that if the indecisive person ponders too long someone else will order for them just to get the order going. Then the indecisive person inevitably complains they aren’t happy with the outcome, that perhaps another dish would have been better.