Be decisive

Decisiveness is one of the key fundamental attributes of masculinity, and it is also one of the components of leadership.

Since it is one of the parts of masculinity, it also one of the traits that attracts women. Women like men who are decisive because it takes the pressure of responsibility off of them and they can just enjoy the ride that you’re taking them on without having to worry.

Aside from the fact that decisiveness is attractive to women, men are called to be decisive irrespective of that fact. For example, how many times in Scripture was Jesus portrayed as wishy-washy in his beliefs and actions? Obviously, the answer is zero.

The underlying concept behind decisiveness is that it starts to eliminate your fear. Even though you may care what other people think, you still take action because you know that God has called you to a certain purpose or action.

If someone were to ask me what I believe in terms of God and religion if I am a Christian I should be able to tell them right away what I believe. Likewise, this extends into all facets of life. You must know what you believe. And when you firmly can stand behind your convinctions that is when you become decisive in your actions.

Section 1 — Example(s) of decisiveness with commentary

Let’s look at some specific examples for how this can play out.

  • Say you’re a husband and you’re wife (and boyfriend or girlfriend if you prefer) is getting emotional over a topic. You, as a husband, know that your wife will get angry or jealous and perhaps is prone to sinning by saying certain things rashly. What should you do?

Obviously, if you go to placate her with your words and actions you are not being decisive. You know from previous experience that attempting to placate an emotional woman is going to make her more angry. So why do you do it? There’s no logic or rationale behind attempting to placate a woman on an emotional tear. You know it won’t work. Yet, because it is the “easiest” course of action you go with it because you are afraid of being decisive and asserting leadership in this situation.

The correct course of action is to be decisive and tell her that you won’t discuss the topic with her while she is emotional. But you know that a course of action such as this is prone to having her outburst more at you even though you know this is what she needs.

Obviously, I could tell a woman that “hey, I’m not going to discuss this when you’re emotional” but that won’t go over as well as phrasing it in a more considerate manner — “Hey, I understand you’re feeling _X_ because of _Y_, and we will to discuss that in a bit.” You can even add “Come here and let me hold you.”

When women get emotional it is key to set boundaries for how she acts and for the subsequent discussion and enforce them. This is how you need to be decisive when conflict breaks out. There are two key components here.

  1. Know how you want to handle the situation. This is mostly gained from experience in a man, so that is why it is imperative to seek knowledge of how to handle situations and talk to a lot of people.
  2. Stick to your guns or principles. If you cave you are going to be touted as indecisive and she will lose respect for you. No matter how much a woman cries, whines, name calls, or the like you need to stick to your decisions. This does not preclude a apology if you did indeed wrong her or someone else, but the boundaries must be maintained even if you were in the wrong.

Obviously, there are a lot of other examples you can use to be decision. Any time someone asks a question there is the opportunity there. Many of which relate to women. For instance,

  • What restaurant do you want to go out to?

“I would prefer going to X restaurant” or “Let’s go to this restaurant.” etc.

  • Do you like this skirt or this skirt?
  • Do you like my short haircut compared to my previous one?
  • What time are you getting there?
  • What is your testimony?
  • Why do you believe in God?

Answering any type of question is a good time to practice decisiveness.

Today, any time you are asked a question give it a pause and a thought to think about it then give a decisive answer.

This will help you start to practice it.

Section 2 — Eliminating indecisive vocabulary

There’s a lot of words that we use in English that are filler and denote uncertainty when we speak. Here is a decent sized list of them:

  • Perhaps
  • Maybe
  • Possibly
  • Probably
  • Fairly
  • If you like..
  • Uhhh
  • Ummm
  • Sort of
  • Kind of
  • Like
  • Just
  • I was [just] wondering
  • I was thinking
  • I don’t know but,
  • I mean
  • You know
  • Like I said
  • Ok, so..

Take this week to listen to conversations closely for filler words. You’ll notice that women in particular like to use a lot of filler words like “maybe”, “kind of”, “sort of” when talking about their feelings and decision making. The same with a lot of men who many of us would define as “effeminate” or “nice guys.”

While most men do not pick up this, I believe that most women will subconsciously pick up on use of vocabulary from this and can tell almost immediately from how you speak if you’re a nice guy or a masculine man by your word choice.

When you notice them in your own speech attempt to start to eliminate them from your vocabulary.

The second thing I want you as Christian masculine men to practice this week is what I said above — to listen to conversation closely today and listen for filler words and start to eliminate them from your own vocabulary. 

This is why it is important to slow down your talking so you’re more aware of what you are saying. Here’s a bit about chunking which is another technique you can use if it’s difficult to eliminate the words from your vocabulary even after being aware of them.

Section 2 — Training Decisiveness

It is a matter of training to raise up a man to be decisive.

You see this with children. When children know exactly what they want they are decisive — do you want to do this or that” I want to THIS! Please please please please! However, if you give them a lot of choices such as do want to play this game, that game, or this other game, or how about this game, or perhaps this game they will get flustered and unless they have a clear favorite they will be indecisive.

This is one of the problems that we face in our culture today, and the Economist had an article on it called The Tyranny of Choice.

The most important thing you need to know is what you believe. Like I said in improving public and conversational speaking and improving public and conversational speaking 2, one of the best ways is to use the things that will build your Christian faith as tools to improve your public and conversational speaking. The same is true of decisiveness.

I talked a bit about praying out loud, but let’s examine the Lord’s prayer from Matthew 6 (NASB) in terms of decisiveness of wording,

7 “And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words. 8 So do not be like them; for your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.

9 “Pray, then, in this way:
‘Our Father who is in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
10 ‘Your kingdom come.
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
11 ‘Give us this day [e]our daily bread.
12 ‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 ‘And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from [f]evil. [g][For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’]

If you notice the wording in how we are to pray Jesus is not asking any questions of God. He basically instructs us to use declarative and imperative sentences and statements as opposed to interrogative.

For example, one of the wrong ways to answer a question from a woman such as “what restaurant do you want to go to?” is to answer it back with “well, I want to go here, but where do you want to go?” Obviously, this is not a decisive statement.

So then too even if we have questions of God or for Him in regard to decisions we make we should not pray by asking questions of God. For example,

  • Wrong — God do you want me to do X or Y?
  • Better — God you know my needs before I ask. Show me by relevation in my heart or through others the decision You want me to make, so that I can continue to walk in Your will.

Jesus states clearly in the next chapter, Matthew 7 (NASB),

7 “[c]Ask, and it will be given to you; [d]seek, and you will find; [e]knock, and it will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

There are no questions here. Only decisive words and actions. This is why I will reiterate the points here for prayer, Bible reading, and speaking on how to do it.

  • Stand up straight or sit up straight with chest out and shoulders back.
  • Take a deep breath before you speak each sentence or set of words.
  • Speak in a measured tone — not too fast, not too slow.
  • Speak it with authority.

Conclusions

So these are my challenges to you this week in summarized format.

  1. Any time you are asked a question give it a pause and a thought to think about it then give a decisive answer.
  2. Listen to conversation closely today and listen for filler words and start to eliminate them from your own vocabulary.
  3. Pray, read your Bible, and learn about the faith and your own preferences and learn to do them decisively with authority in your voice and actions.

Eliminate the wishy-washy and become a more decisive man of God.

As you become more decisive and your words and actions both men and women will come to respect you more, and you will be able to have more influence as an ambassador for God.

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17 Responses to Be decisive

  1. Looking Glass says:

    One thing I’ve always found useful is Hand Signals. You’d be amazed how incredibly effective just tossing up a “Stop” hand signal will do, especially with a decisive move.

    1-phrase commands also work very well.

  2. Looking Glass says:

    It randomly just kind of dawned on me a good way to prevent a lot of the problems with Women:

    – Never be seeking approval with your speech –

    Women never want to be outside of “group approval”, so they don’t want to shift the group much. (Unless they have it in their Mind to do something specific, then they’ll claim the group hates them) So, when you’re seeking approval, you can’t make declarative statements, otherwise you risk someone not approving. (This is why Women love to Frame-Shift so much, as it shifts the onus for approval without having to make a declarative move)

    The more you have to run things (and, especially, people), the less you’ll do this, but it’s hard to actually get many leadership opportunities growing up, these days. And, more especially, as an adult.

  3. Padre99 says:

    There is a fine line in decisive speaking, most of the time it is better to be decisive and seemingly “Wrong” then to be spineless.

    There are also occasions when it is far better to be diplomatic, especially when one does not have all of the facts of a situation.

  4. Padre99 says:

    Rereading the article, it struck me that the Greene 2 types of tone comes into play:

    -Charismatic Language
    -Charming Language

    When trying to project leadership and decisiveness, indeed DS that is how one speaks, when being Charming, one uses the softer terms like “perhaps” or “mayhaps” or “it would seem to me that” and it takes experience to get a feel for the other person and to even know what one wants in the first place.

  5. @ Padre

    Yep, there’s certain nuances that can be applied once you’re more adept with communication ability.

    Basically, it’s better to be too decisive when learning than not enough because toning things down is much easier than learning how to add more.

    These are more basic level concepts anyway.

  6. Padre99 says:

    I thought so DS, for example you did not mention the feedback/recall approach.

    “So as I recall, you did say X, does that mean Y”?

    “Hmm, you did say X, that was curious, what were you saying there?”

    Which is sort of push/pull a bit as:

    –You’ve been listening
    -they theoretically caused a reaction in you
    -You politely demand an answer/call them out on it

    There is the also the sort of rejection of the idea w/o making it personal:

    “That is not a good idea because X,Y,Z”

    Then one makes the counter statement etc “Why don’t we do this instead” or “Let’s do this instead”

    Should be interesting DS,

  7. @ Padre

    If you’d like to write a follow up post I’m open to a guest blog.

    I’m mostly just writing to cover the basics at the moment like I said.

  8. Padre99 says:

    Must decline DS, going in to many directions atm, could really put the time in that such a post would require as communications is a huge huge topic

    Just from what I’ve seen, the two mistakes I see made the most often by Christian Men (not the old Christian Men, they “get it”, those men tend to be fearless and personable)

    -Mixing Evangelizing with just talking to a lady
    -False Humility, meaning “but I bet you’d not want to get a coffee b/c I’m a Christian”

    And that is just the tip of the iceberg of what would have to be dealt with DS

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  10. earl says:

    Good points…I’m sure the biggest weakness men have is their choice of words.

  11. Bobbye says:

    Just to add and say out loud what most already know: other men have respect for decisive men. Decisive men become leaders of other men.

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  13. CHero says:

    Unfortunately, this is me to a tee. I use a lot of those words all the time in my vocabulary.

    It also kind of annoys me that most women I’ve been around are strongly indecisive about everything, even things that I don’t feel are a big deal (the “where to you want to go to eat?” is a classic. I’m usually by myself so when I want to eat, I just decide on a whim. I never used to think it was extremely important that I make a firm decision on that and thought letting them decide would be considerate but apparently not?)

    It makes me feel like I have to make every. single. decision. While I’m not against it, it feels exhausting and hardly worth the effort, at least in respect to relationships. But for the sake of being a proper man, I’ll do my best to learn. I want actual respect for a change and I’m tired of not living up to my full potential, hating myself, and being used.

  14. @ Chero

    Actually, it’s not that difficult once you get used to it, but you are feeling the effects of living for years without knowing that you should change.

    Basically, what you should do if you can’t decide in the moment is prepare a list that you would find good or acceptable restaurants and then pick from that one when you’re asked to make a decision. My go to for relatively healthy but decent food is chipotle as opposed to other fast food restaurants. That makes things much easier for me to decide when I’m out with others. For instance,

    “Oh, there’s a chipotle nearby? Let’s go there.”

    On the other hand, if such restaurants aren’t available it my be a good idea to have an overall plan of what you generally like trying if you have to go a new restaurant. Do you like chinese, american, mexican, seafood, steak or other types of foods? If so, pick one of those as your go to to try new things. For example,

    “Oh, I like trying new chinese food so let’s go to X place”

    It’s pretty easy if you prepare in advance and it really only takes about 5-10 minutes of time to decide which restaurants you prefer if you are going to eat at familiar ones, and which type of food you prefer if you want to eat a new ones.

  15. Looking Glass says:

    Life is about making choices and following through on them. Leadership & decisiveness just takes practice. It comes along really quickly when you simply stop being a doormat.

  16. Looking Glass says:

    Also, basic pre-planning goes a long ways.

  17. CHero says:

    @DeepStrength and LookingGlass

    Indeed. One thing I severely lack is discipline. As I’m learning how certain things are, I’ll drop the bitterness I’ve developed from my laziness/ignorance in the past.

    Coming up with a place to eat isn’t that hard. I just feel like it’s a trivial matter and shouldn’t come down to decision-making session. I’m realizing things that are easy to do/that I wouldn’t think twice about single is completely different when you’re in a relationship. I remember going grocery shopping with an ex and she had to question every thing I purchased and while I didn’t vocally express it, it really steamed mah buns.

    I’m single now so while I have to opportunity, I’ll continue learning about masculinity and both prepare and deal with things as they come.

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