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How do you ultimately make decisions? If you are very indecisive, why? What decisions trouble you the most? What decisions do you prefer to leave un-made, that drive other people crazy?

Feel free to post links to other, relevant threads.

I am writing this because I am facing a few BIG decisions: new job, new location. My usual go-with-the-flow attitude is affecting other people who need me to be a teensy more decisive.
 

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I will go back and forth on a decision for a long time, until I've really stressed myself out. Too often, I decide to do what others think is best for me, which doesn't end up being best for me at all.

My best decisions I've made have been the really hard and painful ones.

Sometimes I make decisions based on really random things, like if its raining! I like to use films or books I really love as the basis of my decisions too...which is kind of odd I think. This is all of course when I can't just go with the flow(my favorite).
 

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My basic tendency would be to go with the flow. But I know that isn't going to result in as much satisfaction with my decisions as basing them on some objective criteria. Still, when it comes right down to it, so many decisions are fraught with uncertainty and I end up letting my gut sway me more often than not. In some situations I make very good decisions but in others...

For example, I ski all the time in avalanche terrain. My decision making process there is based on gathering every bit of information I can about the stability of the snow in everything I do, incorporate it all into an analytical model that includes not only the snow, the terrain, and the weather, but also the human dynamic involved. I remain aware constantly that the snowpack is not homogenous spatially and that inferring broadly about stability from a limited number of observations is a risky proposition. I bring it all together and also listen to my gut. I do this a lot and it has given me the most amazing life I can imagine myself living. I don't always apply that same approach to other big decisions in my life. This is a topic that interests me. Not decision making per se, but dealing with uncertaintly. And decision making is a big part of that.

One thing I do not do is second guess my decisions after I make them. If they turn out wrong, of course there are lessons to learn, but I learn them and move on.
 

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Making decisions is extremely difficult for me, and I think most of us INFPs can relate to that (one reason, probably, why we have a topic like this...).

I try to use both my head and my heart when making decisions. I want to gather every piece of information (statistics, personal experiences from others, reports, news, articles, discussion forums, research......) I can find about the subject firstly. Then I try to evaluate the thing with my feelings: how do really feel about this thing? Would I be happy if I chose it? Does fit my tendencies and interests as a human being? Do I value this or that thing?

Usually though, maybe because I'm an F, I tend to make the final solution based on my feelings and values, not what's objectively reasonable or profitable. I just don't think people should ever rationalize certain things that needs to be chosen with intuition... And of course, to different people these are different things.

One solution to "the indecisive problem" is something I call the Impressionism style. This is something I tend to choose as well when making decisions; it requires the careful rational and emotional planning and thinking about options... But, when the crucial moment comes, I just tend to do whatever I have in mind without REALLY even thinking about it. It's probably just the result of being tired of thinking about options.

Also, I tend to draw inspiration from books and movies when making big life's decisions... Not maybe the smartest thing.
 

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Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

*I don't like to be *locked in* to a decision I can't change.

*I don't like to make the wrong decision for myself, so I just might dilly-dally a millennium or two in making a final move.

*So many POSSIBILITIES to consider!!!

*...Fear of the unknown might delay a decision.

*in my past & experiences, *sometimes* no decision, no action has been the absolute best decision I could have made.
 

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For me, if it is not important, I'll make an arbitrary choice. For instance: what to order in a restaurant. I am guessing you are not debating between flavors of a milk shake here. If you are, try the strawberry.

For more important life choices, they have to feel right to me. I can also try to rationalize them, which does help me to feel right about them sometimes, but most of the time it is going to depend on that gut intuition. I don't know if that is just the prospect of comfort or if it really is the "right" thing for me to do. Certainly what you value most is going to come into play.

I don't make most decisions until I absolutely have to. I want to feel things out and make sure I am not being impulsive or fleeting. I want to make sure I'll be satisfied with what I choose later on.
 

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I take my top three or four options and roll dice till I see a clear lead or notice which one I'm secretly hoping on and pick that one. Otherwise, if it's a regular decision I have to make, I just pick a standard set and cycle through it as needed.
 

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The best thing will be to ask a close friend/relative who are the decisive types. Lay out all the possibilities that you have thought of and all the factors that will be involved in making a decision and let them do the J part. I usually make them go through an INTJ. Once i get the objective decisive part taken care of, then i just let me intuitive feelings take control and make the final decision.
 
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Yes, I think most of us can relate. Usually, I'm insecure and always second-guessing myself. I have a lot of doubts and worries that the choice I ultimately make might be one I regret. So I hesitate. That leads to indecisiveness.

I give a lot of thought before each choice I make (more so than the average person), and I almost never make decisions impulsively. When faced with a big decision, I rationalize, weigh the pros and cons of each option available, and consider the possible consequences. I also take into account my feelings (and those of any others involved). Feelings can come into conflict with logic, and that's when I seem to have the most trouble. In the end, sometimes I follow what's practical, and sometimes, I follow my feelings. Also, other times, I make decisions to satisfy other people and often end up less happy.

Remember to consider what might make you happier in the long run. Good luck on your decision!
 

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Remember to consider what might make you happier in the long run. Good luck on your decision!
This. We are all like you! But please follow your heart towards your own happiness, even when others are counting on your future. Keep following your dream, even when you are trying to make others happy at the same time.
 

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Sometimes I just ask others for their opinions if I'm really indecisive. If not, I'll think about if it's worth it for the long run, if the decision affects/hurts anyone, or I look at what's the worst/best that could happen. Or making decisions that open up to new experiences/meeting more people (in a way to make myself come out of my shell haha).

My last resort is "going with the flow"...though overall, just very indecisive.
 

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I think it might have been orangeappled who said this a while ago, or it may have been someone else.

NPs have the tendency to think that once you make a decision, you can't change it. Decision making is difficult because of the possibility of being boxed in once you make the choice. Additionally, NPs also think of many different possibilities with sometimes equal regard, so the possibility of being boxed in from all the various possibilities is another jarring factor. It means when you have to make a decision it is like D day- you feel there is so much on the line.

I actually like to be practical with my decision making. I think in terms of "whats going to be best for me" "what do I really want/need/ what am I working towards". I find that logic and feeling (re: not emotion, however emotion is involved in every decision every person on the planet makes) work in line/work together when I am doing what I really need to do for myself or for others. I do not find it difficult to synthesise all these things. My trouble lies within the fear of committing to something that cancels out other desirable possibilities. I think what can help here, is focusing in on what I really need, thereby cancelling out other possibilities regardless of how tempting they may look. Also recognising that everything changes and no decision is completely set in stone; good things (lessons and understanding) can come from decisions you might regret.
 

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I think it might have been orangeappled who said this a while ago, or it may have been someone else.

NPs have the tendency to think that once you make a decision, you can't change it. Decision making is difficult because of the possibility of being boxed in once you make the choice. Additionally, NPs also think of many different possibilities with sometimes equal regard, so the possibility of being boxed in from all the various possibilities is another jarring factor. It means when you have to make a decision it is like D day- you feel there is so much on the line.

I actually like to be practical with my decision making. I think in terms of "whats going to be best for me" "what do I really want/need/ what am I working towards". I find that logic and feeling (re: not emotion, however emotion is involved in every decision every person on the planet makes) work in line/work together when I am doing what I really need to do for myself or for others. I do not find it difficult to synthesise all these things. My trouble lies within the fear of committing to something that cancels out other desirable possibilities. I think what can help here, is focusing in on what I really need, thereby cancelling out other possibilities regardless of how tempting they may look. Also recognising that everything changes and no decision is completely set in stone; good things (lessons and understanding) can come from decisions you might regret.
I agree; I think I have mentioned earlier too that making things our life "cause" (as in "I gotta do this because it's part of my vision/dream/ultimate goal") helps when we are rather indecisive about taking the plunge to go forward with an important decision. I actually mentioned that in regards of keeping at it, but I believe it also applies to taking big decisions in our life. Instead of making it a "what if?" kind of concern/question, make it a "I gotta do this for myself!" kind of decision. All the "wrong" decisions I have made in life have made me the man I am now, and I have no regrets about them. Keep it along with your vision, and convince yourself that it's important you MAKE the choice-if it ends up being "wrong" you might be all the better for it!
 

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Basically, I know that there's no such thing as a perfect decision. Expected Value of Anything = (Odds of Gain) x (Value of Gain)

For example, How I'm Going to Feel Getting My Degree = My Chances of Getting the Degree x What I Can Do With That Degree

And this is why INFPs seem to change majors a lot. Getting the degree was a lot harder than they thought. And as they get into their third year, they realize the that day-to-day work of in the field they wanted isn't as exciting as when the first started the path. So the value (How They Feel) goes down tremendously to the point where the value of changing majors is higher than the value of finishing the degree.

Humans because of cognitive biases overestimate both Odds of Gain and Value of Gain. So I always purposely under estimate both.

All decisions are a decision between conflicting values. Each different path lets you live some values but not others. So a tough decision say between going to college or traveling to the world for a semester is a choice between say the values of learning and security vs the value of freedom and adventure. It's only a hard decision if security and freedom are your two highest values.

I also use the win-win-no deal method. If I have two choices that have equal downside then I really don't have a choice. There's always a third option. It just requires imagination and soul searching to find it. If I have equal decisions with bad downsides, I figure out which sets of downsides I can mitigate the most effectively.

Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from bad decisions. The more bad decisions you make, the better you'll get at making good decisions.
 

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Referring to what infpblog and susurration said, I think the INFP (and maybe other N+Ps as well) decision problem comes from the fact that we perceive decisions as definitive. That if we, for exemple, decide that we are going to study psychology then that is going to somehow define us and cut out other cool possibilities related to our interest like being a bohemian artist or extreme sports adventurer. Even though in real life, making on decisions or choosing one career path doesn't rule out our "other" identities as, for exemple, artistic people or adventurous people. It's also that INFPs may have confusions between what's a role and what's an identity.

As all INFPs, I also struggle and have struggled with important decisions in my life. I'm 25 and I still haven't graduated from uni, because I've kept changing so much what I want to be and understanding where I'm really good at was a problem for me(discovering MBTI helped me with this though). I've recently adopted some thoughts to from Eastern philosophies to help me to cope with my indecision (how stereotypically INFP, I know...). I've read some writings by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn and he teaches that things don't appear until they have the right atmosphere to appear. A simple exemple that he gives is that flowers appear only in spring, when it's warm and moist enough, not during the winter when the conditions are not right. His teachings are related to the cyclic comprehension of time that is more common in the East than it the West. Western conception of time is linear as we all know; also the Western Judo-Christian religious views support a linear time model where something begins and then it comes to a natural end. In the buddhist or hinduist tradition, time is cyclic. Things come and go, and then they come and go again. Things are dynamic and at the same time they never change. (I'm no expert on religions so please correct or complete me if you wish).

I've applied this idea to my life as well: right now, when the conditions are right for doing an uni degree, I'll do it and set aside my dreams of becoming a visual artist. It's not the right time for me to focus on this dream RIGHT NOW. I have many dreams just like everybody and I love doing many things; but I can't express all those tendencies at the same time. If I finish my psy degree and become a counselor then that's at least one thing I have ready and I can move on to next goals without worrying that I never accomplished anything because I changed goals all the time. I've made conditions in my life to be like it right now, that my "psychology self" will appear, so I just need to nurture it.

The thing is, the world is just NOT as definitive as many INFPs who grew up with the Western linear tradition of time think it might be. If you choose a banana know, that doesn't mean you can't get the apple later. It just wasn't the right time in your life to have the apple know, it was better time to have a banana. I dont know about you others, but I feel that being patient has been a crucial lesson for me. I don't need to have everything know, I'm not missing out anything if I don't have 5 majors that all interest me all the time in different variations.

To understand better WHY we INFPs and especially all N+Ps have so hard time making decisions I think we need to look into our "P", perceiving tendency (I know it's not a cognitive function per se). I've noticed that my INFJ friends, who differ from me with just one "letter", accomplish things more easily and set more fixed goals than me or my INFP friends. Because we tend to perceive things rather than judge, we see too much possibilities and meanings in things that are not yet defined or finished. When something is still unfinished, it's a possibility, and you can still change or get more exciting possibilities out of it. P-people are more adventurous, because they are usually attracted to mysteries. At least for me, when I've finally finished a work, it's always a little bit bitter moment for me because I have to LET GO of processing my work and I can't dream anymore how great my work WILL be or what possibilities it WILL have. When it's finished then it's a loss in a certain way. For us, travelling is much more important than the goal. We simply enjoy the process more than the result whereas many J people find it a great satisfaction when they have finally finished their work and they don't have to fight with it anymore.

Feel free to comment these ideas, although I'm sure they have been presented many times on this forum...
 

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I do overstress about making decisions, I think often because I have this drive to always reach the ideal. I tend to immagine the results of each possible choice and see how each makes me feel inside, as well as looking at a list of pros and cons. I've learned over the years that not every choice has to be 'perfect', sometimes it's fine to just try one thing or another and see how it goes. Perhaps not so much with big choices of course, but practicing letting go like that with small choices can help with perspective on the big ones I think.

sometimes I will get into an 'all or nothing' mode where I can't really make a decision between several things and have to either choose all, or none and just walk away. I don't like reaching that point of overwhelmed.....and usually regret when I choose all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Wow! Thanks everyone. I can't wait to respond...3:00AM my time, though, so I'll only let myself pick a few (sigh):

I do overstress about making decisions, I think often because I have this drive to always reach the ideal. I tend to immagine the results of each possible choice and see how each makes me feel inside, as well as looking at a list of pros and cons. I've learned over the years that not every choice has to be 'perfect', sometimes it's fine to just try one thing or another and see how it goes. Perhaps not so much with big choices of course, but practicing letting go like that with small choices can help with perspective on the big ones I think.

sometimes I will get into an 'all or nothing' mode where I can't really make a decision between several things and have to either choose all, or none and just walk away. I don't like reaching that point of overwhelmed.....and usually regret when I choose all.
Yes, I hear you. I definitely use the same process of both pros/cons, feelings...all to, yes, reach the ideal. I do feel, and I think with some good reason, that decisions are weighty and that, as so many have noted, once made, you can't reverse the amount of choices you give up. So you can't really go back, even if you do re-evaluate. :)

But such is life. Perhaps I need to learn to love my Se side and, after making a particularly poor, or any decision, look up at the sky and bask in the glory. And I must remember that I am not in control of the universe, either. Not that I think that literally, but sometimes I feel like I must think that....

I like what you said about all or nothing. :) Onto...something!

Referring to what infpblog and susurration said, I think the INFP (and maybe other N+Ps as well) decision problem comes from the fact that we perceive decisions as definitive. That if we, for exemple, decide that we are going to study psychology then that is going to somehow define us and cut out other cool possibilities related to our interest like being a bohemian artist or extreme sports adventurer. Even though in real life, making on decisions or choosing one career path doesn't rule out our "other" identities as, for exemple, artistic people or adventurous people. It's also that INFPs may have confusions between what's a role and what's an identity.
Yeaa!!! Role and identity confusion. Very good call. Very pertinent to me because I know I do have a value that says: everything is sacred. So I see my job, my friendships, everyday, ordinary life as sacred –I'm sure you all can relate– but then I pour my INFP perfectionism out on those things because of that belief. AH! For example, right now I have a strong desire to see the world, but also to just settle down and focus on one community. Both things seem good and right, an are. But choosing one seems like rejecting the other. But that can't be (thanks guys)...it's a just a matter of making a decision, I have decided. :)


As all INFPs, I also struggle and have struggled with important decisions in my life. I'm 25 and I still haven't graduated from uni, because I've kept changing so much what I want to be and understanding where I'm really good at was a problem for me(discovering MBTI helped me with this though). I've recently adopted some thoughts to from Eastern philosophies to help me to cope with my indecision (how stereotypically INFP, I know...). I've read some writings by a Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hahn and he teaches that things don't appear until they have the right atmosphere to appear. A simple exemple that he gives is that flowers appear only in spring, when it's warm and moist enough, not during the winter when the conditions are not right. His teachings are related to the cyclic comprehension of time that is more common in the East than it the West. Western conception of time is linear as we all know; also the Western Judo-Christian religious views support a linear time model where something begins and then it comes to a natural end. In the buddhist or hinduist tradition, time is cyclic. Things come and go, and then they come and go again. Things are dynamic and at the same time they never change. (I'm no expert on religions so please correct or complete me if you wish).

I've applied this idea to my life as well: right now, when the conditions are right for doing an uni degree, I'll do it and set aside my dreams of becoming a visual artist. It's not the right time for me to focus on this dream RIGHT NOW. I have many dreams just like everybody and I love doing many things; but I can't express all those tendencies at the same time. If I finish my psy degree and become a counselor then that's at least one thing I have ready and I can move on to next goals without worrying that I never accomplished anything because I changed goals all the time. I've made conditions in my life to be like it right now, that my "psychology self" will appear, so I just need to nurture it.
I just heard about Thich Nhat Hahn from a friend. Very cool. I really like how you applied the teaching as well! I'm excited for you to dive into psy. :)

I like the idea of cyclic time very much. I'll have to think about that more... In the Western Judeo-Christian tradition, I think it is accurate to say that time is linear. I think, and this is definitely not an officially educated opinion, that this may be because of the western emphasis on the apocalypse. (Which is understandable, considering the amount of horror that has occurred on this hemi over the past thousand years.) There is no end to time (or even the world, ha!) in the Bible, though, only an end to this age. The end is a beginning, a "new heavens and new earth." And then...who knows. :) Adventure, according to C.S. Lewis. But anyway, the view of time as having an end-that's-a-beginning is more hopeful, but I suppose there is still an "end" to something. Then, so is death. But that's another conversation....

The thing is, the world is just NOT as definitive as many INFPs who grew up with the Western linear tradition of time think it might be. If you choose a banana know, that doesn't mean you can't get the apple later. It just wasn't the right time in your life to have the apple know, it was better time to have a banana. I dont know about you others, but I feel that being patient has been a crucial lesson for me. I don't need to have everything know, I'm not missing out anything if I don't have 5 majors that all interest me all the time in different variations.

To understand better WHY we INFPs and especially all N+Ps have so hard time making decisions I think we need to look into our "P", perceiving tendency (I know it's not a cognitive function per se). I've noticed that my INFJ friends, who differ from me with just one "letter", accomplish things more easily and set more fixed goals than me or my INFP friends. Because we tend to perceive things rather than judge, we see too much possibilities and meanings in things that are not yet defined or finished. When something is still unfinished, it's a possibility, and you can still change or get more exciting possibilities out of it. P-people are more adventurous, because they are usually attracted to mysteries. At least for me, when I've finally finished a work, it's always a little bit bitter moment for me because I have to LET GO of processing my work and I can't dream anymore how great my work WILL be or what possibilities it WILL have. When it's finished then it's a loss in a certain way. For us, travelling is much more important than the goal. We simply enjoy the process more than the result whereas many J people find it a great satisfaction when they have finally finished their work and they don't have to fight with it anymore.
Yes, the journey is definitely sweeter than the destination for us INFPs. A lovely example:

I set out to re-finish an old art deco chest of drawers, a true diamond in the rough. A month later, the chest is finished. Newly stained and sealed, even the hardware having been saved to maintain the vintage feel of the piece. Yesterday, I moved the chest into my room with the help of my lovely INT/FJ roommate (yea, I think she's spidergirl). Roomie asks, "Aren't you glad to be finished?" And I don't feel very excited when I say "Yea!..." (Wait, am I?) Then I remember that I lost two of the original screws for one of the handles...so there is one handle missing on the bottom drawer of my otherwise perfect chest. INFP self- sabotage!

Now to find two screws and decide what I'm going to do with my life!
 

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I'm pretty indecisive. Most of the time I act based on how I'm feeling in the moment, but if it's a decision that mainly affects other people, I try to make decisions logically. Not that that always works.
I am very uncomfortable making decisions with permanent outcomes, because I like to change my mind a lot.
 

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Usually when I'm faced with a big decision, there's only one answer. Like if I'm deciding whether I should take a job, the other choice is to not take the job and remain jobless, which leads me to immediately take the job.

When it comes to important here-and-now decisions, I usually immediately choose automatically. Like when my increasingly psychotic roommate got angry and started wrecking our house, I immediately called someone to come and have him removed; practically speaking, there really was no decision to make though, theoretically speaking, I could have chosen to ignore the whole thing (and thus enabling him to get even worse and more psychotic, which would result in me living in even greater danger).

Whenever I'm in doubt about something that I want, say an apartment, I usually end up choosing it, but usually I also eventually find out that I shouldn't have chosen it at all (sometimes for completely different reasons than those which made have doubts in the first place). I find that I benefit the most from listening to my head, rather than my heart; if my heart wants the apartment, it doesn't care that the rent is a little too high or that the heating system is so badly installed that it's wasting money. However, I should have listened to my heart when it came to the landlady; from the first time I met her, I knew she was no good, but no one else picked up on that. When I moved out of the apartment, I got very little of my deposit back and it turned out that the lady (and the company she was working for) has a very bad reputation for consciencelessly cheating their way to other peoples' money like that.
 
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