Iconic journalist Barbara Walters was faced with the decision to stay at NBC or start a new career at ABC.

Which offer do you think she took?

You’re right, assuming you chose the option that led to her historic breakthrough as the first female journalist to co-anchor the evening news (psst, it was ABC by the way). However, that decision didn’t come so easily to Walters. In fact, she told Vanity Fair that she struggled a lot.

"I agonized over the next few weeks, going through the pros and cons. I was driving myself crazy. I just couldn’t come to a decision."

Barbara Walters, American broadcast journalist

The inability to make a secure decision is the kiss of death. Yes or no? Up or down? Left or right? However, utilizing your analytical thinking skills can help you overcome indecisiveness. If Barbara Walters can do it, so can you.

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What’s the impact of indecision?

Mary Steffel, an assistant professor at Northeastern University, dives into decision paralysis and shares how she broke out of her indecisiveness.

Mary Steffel emphasizes that being indecisive can leave people to be immobilized with day-to-day task (Courtesy of TEDx)

During her TEDx Talk, Steffel points out that indecisiveness can be more harmful than you think. It can cost you time, money, opportunities, and even your happiness. In Steffel's example of the gift card, you may not be sure on how to spend the money. And while contemplating ways to spend it, the gift card expires. Here, you’ve wasted time and money.

With so many negative implications, what causes us to be indecisive?

Why am I indecisive?

Are you unsure about being unsure? There are many reasons why you're falling into the indecisive trap. Whatever the reason may be, it's worth exploring and getting to the root of it.

Fear of failing. Sometimes we hold off on making a decision because we want to make the right one. However, overthinking and inaction can directly lead you to failure without even giving you the chance to attempt alternative options.

Striving for perfection. At Matter, one of our core company values is to strive for progression not perfection. First of all, being perfect is boring. Second, making mistakes leads us in the right decision.

There’s just too many options. Going back to Steffel’s Tevana experience, she found that there were too many tea choices. She subsequently became overwhelmed and left tealess.

Barbara Walters’ indecisiveness has impacted both her professional and personal life (Courtesy of CTV News)

Indecision, we’re coming for you

Creating an action plan is key to defeating the indecisive beast. Here are some tips and techniques as you gear up for battle:

Make a deadline for yourself. Working under pressure can sometimes force you to follow through. To get in the zone, establish realistic deadlines that allow enough time to weigh all options.

Make a pros and cons list.  Deciding between NBC and ABC,  Walters knew that if she went with ABC that meant she could spend time with her daughter and avoid waking up at 4:30 a.m. (Honestly, we’d pick ABC too if that meant not waking at the crack of dawn). Her strategy to create a mental pros and cons list helped her reach the best decision. We recommend actually writing out a list, so you can visualize all your avenues.

Outsource your decisions. Like Steffel’s example about the Tevana option (go peek at the video), she outsourced her tea decision to the sales representative. This is a great technique to use when you’re toggling back-and-forth with a decision.

Trust your first gut. Listen to your body. Listen to your instincts. Listen to your gut. It seems a bit unconventional and unreliable to trust just a feeling, but that is nature's way of nudging you in the best direction.

Get feedback. Check out *cough cough* Matter 👀. Track goals like decision-making or ask peers to keep you accountable using the Matter app. Feedback is the best way to catch habits and stop them.

We cannot stress enough that it’s a-okay to be hesitant or uncertain. After all, we all are human. Whatever decision you’re trying to make, it’s important to note that the right decision is the one that is the best decision for you.

As much as we love facilitating feedback, we love getting it too! Share your thoughts, suggestions, or stories with us @MatterApp or reach out via email at dixie[at]matterapp.com. We can’t wait to hear from the people that matter the most – you!


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Cover Photo Courtesy of ABC