The person who makes decisions quicker and more resolutely flies ahead of the person who is slow and weak in their ways. Notice that I didn’t point out that the first person was always making the “right” decisions. That point is irrelevant in the longer-term. Using simple probabilities, the person that makes more decisions in the face of pressure from others will have more options on the table, and having more options is always more advantageous than having less options. This is true because the person with more options has just as many as the one with the lesser amount, with the advantages that come with them, and also has others that can only add more in terms of value.
Preparation Is A Component Leading To Boldness
Now that this is shown to be the case, how can you become the person who makes decisions quickly and resolutely? The idea here is to see what slows you down, or stops you instantly, when decision-making time comes around. When you go to a store to buy apples, and then see the apples at the store, the decision to pick them up is nearly instant. On the other hand, if you see oranges you didn’t plan on buying, your decision of whether to buy them or not will be slower. The difference between the apples and oranges here is the preparation you made before going to the store in planning for what you would want to buy.
Preparation is a key factor in maintaining a bold persona. Lack of preparation, even if it wouldn’t actually affect your performance, weakens your decision-making ability because your mind assumes that you are missing something you would have gotten by preparing like an organized individual.
Don’t Let Others Expectations Weigh You Down
A huge part of becoming a bold decision-maker is understanding how to view others and their perceived expectations of you. If you are worried you are going to let certain people down by doing this or that, you already have a weight on your shoulders slowing down your decisions. You can’t make decisions boldly if you have to keep processing whether they will make person A or person B happy. Every second of delay when making a decision is a second you will be disappointed for losing later on.
Others Will Come And Go, But You Will Remain
This means that you have to make the choice to not let others affect your decision-making. The only guarantee you have is that you will still be communicating with yourself a few years later, which is more than can be said for the chances that you will be dealing with certain people who are currently in your life a few years down the road. You have to think about your future self, and he/she would want you to do more for yourself(which then passes on to others as well). Also, we often do things that we think pleases others, when in fact they look at us as weak for spending our time worrying about how we would be perceived.
Check To See If Others Are Really Helping You
One thing that is a definite deterrent to a bold mindset is the assumption that certain people that have helped you slightly have your best interests in mind. Government welfare is one of the best ways to reduce a person’s motivation to work, and in the same way, you may be currently chained to a person that you think is helping you, but that is blocking your bold decision-making anytime something of value is up for grabs. This is not helpful, and is keeping you from a state of progress.
Anyone who would actually want you to live propitiously would challenge you so that you would improve, and would support your own risk-taking and venture-making. If you have a person like this in your life, spending more time with them will help you maintain a bold mindset. Being around bold people will make you feel more foolish when you are not bold yourself, so you will adjust to an increased level of hardiness more quickly.
Take Note Of Your Own Weakening Factors
Although I would assume these to be the main issues keeping people from becoming definitive decision-makers, here is how you could find out what the other factors are that you should change to help the cause. The next few times you are making a decision, and become slowed down or cancel on making the decision, process what it is that slowed you down. It will probably be the case that the same concept or concepts come up repeatedly, and these should be the target of your energy and vitality; that same energy is not beneficial to use to attack yourself for procrastinating or backing down.
If you are not harsher(AKA more direct) with other people now, you will end up being even more vindictive toward them and yourself later on. The sooner you are resolute and definitive in your decision-making, the sooner you can build up a strong foundation that protects the integrity of your goals.
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29 thoughts on “Switching to a Bold Mindset”
Don’t let others weigh you down. We had dreamed of moving to AZ from Mi for 25 years and when the time finally came after our kids were out of college everyone was shocked.
I have no idea why. It’s not like we didn’t tell them over and over again. People tend to believe that others will remain just as stuck as they are and when you rock the boat and follow your dream they’re left standing. Some relatives couldn’t believe we were “leaving” our grandchildren.
We’ve been here 2 years now and it’s heaven. Our grandchilden came to visit 4 times the first 14 months.
One is in prison until what others think and do doesn’t matter to them. It’s time to go places you haven’t been, do things you haven’t done and enjoy every second of it. Great post!
@Tess The Bold Life, I have an added point that I want to bring up in relation to your comment. You have pointed out here that people were shocked when you finally were in the process/plan of moving. The same people that were shocked or trying to keep you from your next step are the same people who weren’t providing you with an alternative or anything better a month earlier. That would mean that they didn’t have your interests in mind when presenting their “surprise”.
I would agree on that note about believing or hoping that others remain just as stuck. People that don’t accept that others have their own intentions tend to build up resentment as they ignore obvious signs the other is going to make a change.
Good deal on the visits. An individual or two that was clamoring about your departure probably wants to be where you are.
I believe being bold is SO important. It is the people who are bold that make a difference in the world. I love the insights you’ve provided here on boldness and I’m really going to use them to work on becoming more bold in my own life. And I agree that if you aren’t direct with people, it will come back later to bite you through your resentment and bitterness. It’s SO much better to be open, honest, direct, and bold with others.
@Positively Present, I agree with that about the difference-makers. I would bring up the point of it being an efficiency issue. People who aren’t bold run out of time to do what they want. Their time and effort goes into pleasing others so they don’t look out of place, while the bold person’s time goes toward their interest. Also, there is that quote that says a scared person dies a thousand times a day but a bold person only dies once. Boldness and productivity go together like red and green during Christmas time.
I am all for being bold. Life is short and time is precious. I have never believed in the concept of playing it safe. Anything in life that is worthwhile requires some boldness. I also think being bold does not mean being rude. People may interpret it that way but that is a reflection of them and not of the bold person.
@Nadia – Happy Lotus, That is what I like to hear. If a reader sees your comment, I would recommend them to say those first three lines out loud to themselves. It is hard to proceed weakly when you tell yourself you will be resolute.
On the point of it being rude, that makes sense that it is a reflection of them. It isn’t like you hurt someone else when you are pro-active. They would have been just as “down in the dumps” if you didn’t make any effort at all, so you are actually providing them with a solid foundation to complain upon, slightly uplifting their day.
On a separate note, I have noticed that people are rewarded every single time they act boldly. It is a feature of the action to keep in mind.
You have great insights–boldness can open up life and possibilities.
So why are most of us not bold? Simply because of fear–fear of failing, fear of closing options, fear of being mocked, fear of the future…
Release the fear, be more aware–Awareness and Release–and boldness does not have to be cultivated. It’s just been waiting for us to wake up.
@Kaushik, “Awareness and Release” – that sounds like a good topic for a guest post :)
Thanks for this article Armen, it’s a useful one for me as I wouldn’t consider myself a bold decision maker. I particularly like your point at the start of the article about bold decision makers not always being “right” – I think many people, myself included, delay decisions too long as we want evidence we will be making the correct decision, when in actual fact such evidence does not exist.
@Peter Clemens, I appreciate the opportunity and kind words. That point sure comes up in my mind often, because I see time and time again that the individual that is bold, regardless of whether they are way off mark or completely correct, is rewarded by a physical reward, positive comment for trying, new set of followers that back them up, etc.
I used to think getting the right answer the first time was the only appropriate way, but the bold individual who gets it right on the third quick try, before the weak individual has even responded or tried to answer once, ends up being the first one to provide the right answer, which was the goal. 80% of success is said to be about showing up, and bold people show up(or get involved) with no hesitation.
P.S. There are many positive elements to your avatar image.
I like the essence of your article – being bold and taking hold if life. However, at the beginning of your article you state:
“…and having more options is always more advantageous than having less options. This is true because the person with more options has just as many as the one with the lesser amount, with the advantages that come with them, and also has others that can only add more in terms of value…”
This is not true. Having more options is not always more advantegous than having less options. If you look at some of social psychological literature (Barry Schwartz etc), he outlines with a lot of evidence how too much choice / too many options can be disabling for people and in fact paradoxically this affects choice and therefore boldness. In fact, as humans there is a threshold (which changes dependent on situation / culture / age etc) as to what is the optimal number of options has to choose from to seek maximum human utility. Therefore, I can’t agree with the outline of your article.
Furthermore, what would happen if you get to the supermarket and apples had trebled in price against oranges, what happens to preparation then? Perhaps, less explicit preparation maybe better for some people, e.g. ‘Money is tight at the moment so I am going to buy the most cost effective fruit of the ones I like’. I agree preparation might be key but too inflexible preparation might actually exacerbate procrastination when goods can not be compared equally.
You also state:
“…Every second of delay when making a decision is a second you will be disappointed for losing later on…” This is also not necessarily true. What if you take an hour extra to buy automobile A than automobile B. When you get home, you see on the TV that automobile B has just had an international recall due to an engine fault. I suspect you do not regret that extra hour of decision making?
Trying to be balanced, I think your comments on effectively not people pleasing in decision making are absolutely spot on. We all need to base decisions on what is best for ourselves and not any perceived value to other people. I suspect we all know people who buy certain items (clothes, cars) so that others will be ‘impressed’ with them!
Anyway, hope people get some value out of what I feel are constructive comments. Like I mentioned, the essence of the article is great but I think some of the peripheral stuff is misleading and detracts from that essence.
@Matt Higgins, you’ve brought up a valid point about the amount of choices available being able to get a person into a mode of dormancy due to the overwhelming amount of options. A couple of points come to mind there. It does seem right that have 20 different kinds of berries at a store could leave a person unsure of which one to buy, and having bought one, if it was the right one to buy that day. On the other hand, our minds tend to do well in nature when at the center of a many-branched hiking trail, with many options to take followed by later branching of the trail as the trail was hiked.
About the apples tripling in price, there certainly is an element of restraint to maintain, since not 100% of actions are efficient to follow through upon. In that way, a bold individual will be quick to cancel upon his plan to purchase apples that day, and will replace them with something similarly nutritious and cost-effective.
Regarding the car purchase, leaving the mind to do some conscious or subconscious processing of the options certainly does reduce risk of error up to a certain point, and at that point where a substantial amount of information is gained about the decision, the bold individual will no longer process, and will switch into action mode.
The odd thing about how we try to please others is that it tends to be done more to seem well-minded than to actually please them. This underhandedness tends to be noticed by the other people involved. Also, about trying to impress others, I think many of us have found out that it is more than worthless, as it gets people jealous of us and against us for things we don’t even have yet, so it is a lose-lose predicament.
I am appreciative of your constructive commentary Matt.
@Armen Shirvanian, I have to say that I am not sure I followed your first point nor agree with it but I thought your latter points were excellent. What struck me is that making a decision and being BOLD does not necessitate in following through with the CONTENT of such decisions. In fact, making a decision is almost a movement facilitator to process further action from a person (physical / mental or whatever) and whether or not the original context of the decision is followed through is perhaps irrelevant as long as the person is prevented from procrastinating on too many options and feels they have got an acceptable amount of utility from the decision (which is often the main reason for procrastination as we aim to maximise utility in all decisions).
Anyway, some excellent latter points.
Best wishes, Matt
@Matt Higgins, That is another point in the situation that I had not brought up. I agree with what you are saying here. To not follow up boldness with action as expected will leave people viewing you as though you are out of place or confused, or not reliable enough to depend on. On the other hand, making a bold initial decision can provide enough of a driving force to get through a task.
Critical thinking like this is what I like to see.
Hi Armen .. I was told very early on in my working life: make a decision .. the best you can at that time, if you have to make one, .. ti can always be changed later on – but you haven’t left people without an answer. I’ve always remembered it. I guess it suits my personality .. and I do make decisions when required, or I still make a decision but say I’ll get back to you in such and such a time .. and do that too – when a little time is needed to think. I hate people not making decisions, or at least saying they’ll let me know and doing just that .. if I’m asked something .. it’s polite to reply.
Thanks – Hilary Melton-Butcher
@Hilary, Hello to you. I think you have brought up a straight way to remember it: “Don’t leave people without an answer”. Every time I didn’t respond to a situation or person, I later realized I should have responded, regardless of how I might have seemed or looked. Hesitation or delay looks far worse than an awkward response. It is good to have heard your insight.
Thanks for the insightful post. Boldness is something I think I really need right now. It’s not easy for me to ignore the consequences of actions I wish I could take. For example, the consequences would be an arguement with my parents/boyfriend when I do something they do not approve. I guess as long as my actions are not against moral values, I shouldn’t worry too much about what others think.
@Sim, I would say it is better to do what you want to do sooner than later. You will then find out how it is received by others. On the other hand, if you know the response that would arrive, and don’t want to deal with it, it would make sense to focus your efforts elsewhere. I do agree with your point about not worrying too much about what others think, because you can be sure they are not too concerned with your thoughts.
nice post peter, yes if we can move away from peer pressure and the programming others do to our minds we will definitely think better
@farouk, That is true in what you say about avoiding programming that is tossed at us. We can’t let people control our own thinking. Often times, individuals can spend hours of time thinking about something someone else said in 30 seconds, while the individual who said it is long gone working on their next task. It is key to move on from their words as quickly as they move on from them themselves.
The comment at the end “If you are not harsher(AKA more direct) with other people now, you will end up being even more vindictive toward them and yourself later on” could not be more true as it threatens my current relationship.
This was a great article. It was like a cold, hard slap to the face. I have pretty much lived my life second guessing every decision I make wondering how others will perceive me (parents, friends, gfs, co-workers, etc). I can honestly say the few times I have done things just for me, turned out to be some of the hardest (and in turn) best decisions I have ever made. Sometimes, though, you need a different perspective to put things into context and this article did just that.
@nuke, I hear you on that note. That is a lot of examples you provided, and that lets others see that it is all over the place that you want to go your own route, as it is tougher but better for yourself, which in turn sets a better example for others anyway. A relationship tends to “have problems” not when the people involved can’t get along with each other, but when one of them starts to become weak and do poorly in their personal activities.
I am glad the article had an eye-opening effect, as changes are always easier now than a year from now.
Be Bold. It has a certain power and magic in it.
@Jonny, There sure is a huge power in it. Sometimes, people will not understand that you were being bold, and jump to the conclusion that you are of a higher caliber than most, which is not bad either. It is tough to go wrong when boldness and positive progression merge.
Interesting point of view. People really affect our decision making, which is not always best for us when we trying to please everyone else. I agree that people come and go and we have to decide what is the best decisions for us in a long run
@Chris Phone, People sure do come and go. It doesn’t make sense to make a certain decision based on someone who we might not even be talking to in a year. We are usually way off when we try to come off as friendly.
Brilliant article. I tend to overthink and overanalyze. My goal is to make quicker decisions. I suffer from frustration when I take too long to make a decision and I need to do what’s best for me and not worry about others. Even though I do focus on myself, I do fall into the trap of trying to please people. Not all the time, but this still has to be corrected nonetheless. Thank you.
@Omar, Thanks for that. It certainly is a trap that is worth getting reminded about getting or keeping out of. Next time you catch yourself overthinking, cut off your thinking right there, and make the choice that fits you better. Since the quality of each decision we make can decrease the longer we give ourselves time to decide, it isn’t like we are getting some benefit by setting “2 days to think it over”, unless that 2 days is full of research to support one decision or another.
Your input is appreciated.
Being bold has been difficult for me since I was young. There are reasons of course,but the consequences of lacking boldness are apparent in my life. The difficulty of becoming bolder has been real, although it is easy to recognize the truth of why it is essential to a well lived life. I do feel it is important to offer a window into the struggle to better understand the position that some of us start with. It almost always begins with some form of not feeling “good enough”
The feeling of “not being good enough” starts early and when not recognized and/or challenged, takes firm root in the adult personality. Beyond all calls to “just do it” lies a truth that I think sometimes goes unrecognized.
There is an inherent “understanding” in the ‘not good enough’ belief that success in any form will come slowly, if at all. So as we inch our way along with this burdensome belief, it makes any progress precious and the thought of any setback devastating. Therefore while the upside of stepping out and facing fears is great, failure is not viewed as just a temporary setback for some. Rather it becomes yet another unwelcome unveiling of what we’ve always feared is true about ourselves. When this is your belief, you run from situations that might expose you further.
Layered on this life of fear is always procrastination. Procrastination here serves as preservation. It works like this. Whenever I shrink. Whenever I don’t try anyway, there is a guaranteed upside. That is that I can still say to myself that I might have succeeded. That I might have been good enough. And that guarantee is almost always viewed as better than risking more proof I’m not. Those who know this life, know how much deeper that stings. It is the risk we cannot endure, and so we search for magic where there is none, rather than step out.
I know the truth is that looking back on all the lost opportunities, will ultimately be more painful than stepping out and boldly risking the pain along the way. I’ve already experienced it first hand in my life. What’s most sad to me is realizing that I choose it anyway.
I don’t know how much success I would have to experience to successfully counter this feeling. I had my share surprisingly, but still with no relief. Boldness in the face of this feeling is still possible certainly. It is however a step that sometimes seems beyond difficult. I write to be helpful for those that try to understand this path. It is if nothing else, a counterintuitive process.
I very much appreciate your prospective. It offers in many ways, a practical and strong roadmap to a better place. Thank you.