Uncertainty & Indecisiveness

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I recall hearing confidence is what makes people attractive. Today I like to point your attention to confidence precisely in what?

Never thought of it before, really, but obviously there’s a huge difference whether you’re confident in what you know, or confident in whatever happens, you can change course and do your best. Here’s what I propose: Decisions made based on fake-foolish certainty taste and smell different to decisions based on decisiveness, competence and thoughtfulness.

Certain Agents

I always found people who are too confident in what they know off-putting. They are arrogant in an unpleasant way. I could feel in my gut – these are not good people to be around. Should I have to follow them, I’d get in some sort of trouble. And after giving it a bit of thought, I realise they are dangerous exactly because with their confidence and certainty they have rendered themselves blind to risk, failure is impossible, they say!

These sorts of Certain Agents are in a way, cowardly. Seeking certainty in something means they wait until they have gathered enough information about something before they make their move. While in many cases gathering sufficient information is a sane move – there’s danger of becoming too reliant on certainty – this reliance start immobilising the agent. Such a person is immobilised by the dark, looming inescapable uncertainty that creeps up on us everywhere.

Decisive Agents

People who are decisive, on the other hand, while also accounting for risks and being prepared to change course should their current become dangerous – are attractive in a whole other sense (to sane people, only – insane people still look for leaders who lead with certainty). Decisive Agents can seem arrogant, too – but in other regards – they are confident in being competent enough to handle the risky stuff that comes around, everything uncertain. I find this sort of arrogance isn’t off-putting – it’s inspiring, it’s awesome.

Decisive Agents are brave. I find they aren’t pedantic about information either – they satisfice. They make a move – they take a risk – and are willing turn around when they see it’s not really working out.

Certainty – the cause of all Cognitive Dissonance

Turning around when something isn’t working out is something Certain Agents aren’t capable of doing – instead, cognitive dissonance kicks in, and the agents start negotiating, denying, bargaining, inventing explanations etc. In most cases, after failure, Certain Agents do not turn around to fix their views, but they double down on whatever they were so certain about.

Indecisiveness is poor coping

Two seemingly conflicting attributes work well with each other. I say being uncertain doesn’t make you a coward. Uncertainty is something we can’t do anything about – it’s everywhere. But we do not have to be indecisive. Besides, I think indecision is the actual part that can make a man (or woman) unattractive. Uncertainty we can’t change, but in/decisiveness really is up to us.

I propose now indecision signals poor coping – a person is waiting on things to become certain before making a decision. He can wait forever, you know. So – indecisiveness makes us passive, slow, stupid. Uncertainty is scary, but not understanding uncertainty, we automatically start looking for Certain Agent’s to seemingly solve that problem of uncertainty for ourselves (the wrong, stupid thing to do – expecting someone else can be more certain!).

Clinging to certainty is dangerous and stupid – for leaders and followers alike – regardless, these days it seems to be the most popular way to go. I suppose this is why psycho cult leaders and ideologies get so many followers. These sorts of leaders seem very certain of themselves (and they are! Because they are fkn delusional, possibly manic, too), so they look very promising to people who are immobilised by uncertainty, and lack the courage to get over it on their own. Who knows, this could be the biggest trap in life – so many get fooled by this.

Decisiveness is the key to something inpoertant

Decision/indecision (or reliability on things becoming certain) is one key attribute to making life choices. In this case it doesn’t separate people’s choices to the right and left sides of the political spectrum (as we love to separate ourselves based on many leanings). There likely are Certain and Decisive Agents on both ends of the spectrum…

I’m going to take a guess and say all ideologues and extremists fall into the Indecisive category – their leaders are Certain in their delusions, and their followers cling to that illusory certainty. And there’s more of them than we like to think, of course.

For people who understand uncertainty, yet can still be decisive, though, another band gets formed. A band of people who can see trough (and hopefully call out) the foolishness of Certain Agents, and get a little impatient with their followers, too. The Decisive Agents. And I’d add they are usually individuals who are commonly satisfied with their lives, too (if I have been spotting them correctly!).

Rear-view-mirror regarding indecision and certainty

Now that I can put a finger on the issue, I’m just gonna lay it out here, and pay attention to these discoveries in the near future, as well (until I start paying attention to the next thing):

• I never minded admitting uncertainty, especially when other people did it – I welcomed it, it’s natural.

• Someone being very certain about something always put me off somehow – I automatically suspect they will get me in trouble (and they won’t take responsibility for it!).

• I always found decisiveness a desirable trait. It’s something that makes a leader; a reliable, responsible person to be around and associate with.

• I always found indecisiveness an extremely unattractive, annoying, irritating trait – reeks of passivity. Stuff of the zombies.

Decisiveness allows for mistakes – the landing will be soft.

We don’t have to get everything right at the first go – believing otherwise has become a modern disease (I don’t know if it was an issue in the past, too). We don’t have to find the best place for lunch, we don’t have to get a design right in one draft etc.

I don’t think it’s very difficult to be a Decisive Agent: admit the uncertainty (in anything!) + be brave to be decisive regardless = you’ll be pretty much unstoppable.

I won’t want to be a Certain Agent (and I’ve certainly been one on many occasions!), as they crash and burn very badly. They are bound to fail unless someone keeps bailing them out (like they do with finance orgs!) or they die to unrelated causes before it gets to that point.

Of course, Decisive Agents aren’t infallible, but they have already accounted for failure. Decisive Agents get back up faster, because they don’t have to struggle trough all the annoying, brain-killing phases of cognitive dissonance.

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