Do you make better decisions when you take longer to decide?

Thanks to how I announced my plans for adopting, lots of people seem to think I made this decision hastily. They’re probably right, in a sense. Most people are years older than I am before they take the plunge to make their adoption intentions public.

But still, I’ve been thinking about adoption for years, as a single person for a year now seriously. This didn’t just pop to mind last month for me. Still, I understand and even appreciate the concern.

The question I’m curious about as I step back, though, is whether or not taking a longer amount of time to decide actually has any practical benefits.

I can think back on many bad decisions. I can see now how it would have been better for me to take a different path in some situations. What I’m not so sure about, though, is whether I would have changed my mind, taking the better path, if I’d taken longer to make the decision.

Yes, there are situations where it’s appropriate to let the emotions cool so you have a more balanced brain making the decision. Yes, that’s true some of the time.

But on the whole, I’m not so sure. And here’s why.

Someone once said – I think it’s been attributed to Mark Twain – that at the end of our lives, we’ll feel more regret over the things we didn’t do than over the things we did.

I think that’s a fairly good assessment. It’s not always the case, but it’s a good principle to run with.

If this is the case, if it’s true that we’ll regret things we didn’t do more than things we did do, it seems to me that acting in haste, acting quickly rather than taking a long time to deliberate, is the better choice.

After all, I think it’s pretty well established that the longer you put something off, the less likely you are to do it. And if you end up not doing a bunch of stuff, then – based on Mark Twain’s principle – you’ll wish you had later.

In other words, the faster you decide, the more you do. And the more you do, the less regrets you have.

Again, this is painting with a huge brush here. I’m not suggesting that everyone should switch to making snap decisions. What I am advocating, though, is that making a firm decision quickly and then putting that decision into action is often better than deliberating for years on whether or not to move forward with the decision.

Yeah, we probably do make better decisions when we’ve thought about them longer. But that comes at the cost of making less decisions. I’m not sure quality is better than quantity in this case.

This is a radical idea, opting for quantity over quality of decisions. I’m uncomfortable with it. But it’s something I’m considering and experimenting with.

It’s like when someone asked Dave Ramsey about his decision-making strategy, he said, “I make a decision, and if it’s the wrong one, I make another one.”

Thoughts? Observations?

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