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The Benefits of Being a Slow Decision-Maker

Here’s why considering all the options before making a decision might not be such a bad thing.

Making decisions

Have you ever decided to paint a room white and then been overwhelmed by how many paint colors exist in the “white” family? I went through this recently, and the process of narrowing down dozens of choices and selecting the best one for my project has me reflecting on how challenging decision-making can be.

A recent study has encouraging news for those of us who waffle back and forth before settling on a decision. Psychologists describe such thinkers as “maximizers” because we consider the ramifications of multiple options before making a choice. By the time we make a decision, we have several good reasons for doing so—and most of the time, we’re happy with the outcome.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Individual Differences, found a significant correlation between maximizer-style decision-making and future-oriented thinking. Maximizers tend to engage in this type of thinking, imagining a tomorrow that’s better than today—and therefore subject to the benefits of making the best possible decision. The study joins other recent research that correlates future-thinking with a positive outlook on life. 

Maximizers have high standards for their lives, and their behaviors—like decision-making—often support their ability to meet those standards in areas of life like saving money, caring for the next generation and delaying gratification to reap better rewards down the line. 

Roy Disney once said, “When your values are clear to you, making decisions becomes easier.” The relatively small decisions in life—like which of the two dozen white paints is the best one for my kitchen—are opportunities to reinforce decision-making habits that foster a positive outlook, and create a more positive future.

Are you a maximizer? How do you navigate life decisions with ease?

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