Why are people indecisive? What makes a person change their mind? What causes the flip flop or the about face? Certainly, experts will have proof of theories based on observational data but I have my own opinion. People change their previously “made up minds” for two reasons. The first is the person whose choices and decisions are externalized and dependent upon other people. So Mary is the daughter of Margie and George and Mary listens to her parents, their opinions, their commentary and their criticism of the world at large. Mary “decides” on her future either based upon or in rebellion against her parents. She packs up and heads to college to study accounting or marries her high school sweetheart and moves into her in-laws FROG, a room her barely out of high school husband has decorated with his little league trophies and race care posters. Mary’s future is one in response to her parents. Mary will change her mind when she shifts from doing things in response to her parents and starts doing them in response to her husband or his family…or her children….or her church friends. Mary is the Runaway Bride who doesn’t have a clue as to what kind of eggs she likes. She likes the kind of eggs of the man she is dating. And so…her “decisions” vary and fluctuate based on the relativity of her environment. The cataclysm happens when Mary finally makes up her mind for what she wants but often Mary never lives her life for herself and her life is the equivalence of a silver ball in a pinball machine, pinging and ricocheting off everything and everyone else.

I went to medical school with a young man who walked across the graduation stage and was hooded by his father (also a doctor); he walked down the stairs and handed his diploma to his mother and said, “I did this for you. Now can I do what I want?” And that is the second category. The person who changes their mind because they finally figure out what they want. And this kind of person is far less likely to change their mind or flip flop. Why? Because the reasons for their choices are internalized. If you know what you want, if you know where you want to go, if you know who you want to be when you grow up, you have a destination. There are minor, subordinate choices along the way of fast lane vs the scenic route but when you know where you are headed, all choices ultimately lead back to the KNOWN and DETERMINED.

To the undecided or indecisive, people in category 2 look down right driven and hard core: intense. I suppose so. It can be intimidating to be in the presence of someone so certain and confident. It can be confused with arrogance, inflexibility even stubbornness. If the chorus of spectators defines their world in the external, then the person who self-defines can seem selfish. The reassuring part of category 2 is that if you have a vision, if you know what you want….you will get there. The length of time it takes may be variable but you will eventually arrive. But to get there….you have to have a vision and it must arise from your own internal identity. You cannot hold a mirage steadfast and if your vision is ultimately the idea and dream of someone else, then it can evaporate in the mist.

Know thy self. Dream a big dream. Visualize it and keep it in your mind’s eye whether it is being a doctor or a mother or a homeowner or salvation. Know what you want and live every moment in committed effort toward that idea. Make it your own, make your life your own.

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