Some people are indecisive. They hem and haw and cannot make a decision, ruining many important matters with the unnecessary delays they create. The Diamond Sutra compares indecisiveness to the “doubts of a fox,” as foxes are know to be hesitant in whatever they do.

In order to accomplish a task, we need the courage to be decisive. How can a a general overcome the enemy if he hesitates in the heat of battle? In Chinese history, there were often times when the emperors were unable to decide which prince would be appointed as heir to the throne. The ensuing struggle for the throne often created massive upheaval that destabalized the country. The indecisiveness of these emperors drove the wise and capable to their enemies, which eventually led to their own downfall. During the Qing Dynasty, Empress Dowager Cixi was able to dominate the young emperor and even jailed him because he was reluctant to reform his government and hesitant to take the reins of power.

The effect our personalities have on success and failure in life can be tremendous. When the occasion calls for a decision, we should be decisive. Many historical and personal failures have been caused by indecisiveness. However, while indecisiveness can be harmful, we should also recognize the shortcomings of stubbornness. We should always reflect on our decisions and avoid committing the mistake of being either indecisive or stubborn.

Nowadays, everyone can run for office. However, many wise and capable people lose the opportunity to do greater good because of their indecisiveness. This is truly regrettable. Some people may play the stock market, but because of their fear of risk, they lose the chance to make a profit. Young people are sometimes confused about which college to apply to. When they they fail to reach a decision in time, they delay their admission. Those considering running their own business are hesitant as to what to do. Lovers who may be the perfect match for each other sometimes break up because of indecision. Friends are sometimes suspicious of each other’s intentions and end up squandering useful support and advice.

Naturally, we have to think things through before we make a decision. However, being too hesitant often causes us to miss opportunities for success. We should all be aware of this.