(A version of this article has been published in the Hindu Open Page. You can find the article here)
I take pride in the fact that I can take decisions fairly quickly. Yes, I give it some thought and arrive at a conclusion just like most of you, only a lot quicker. A close friend of mine, on the other hand takes all the time in the world to decide (irrespective of whether it’s something trivial or important). I’m sure there are many who belong to that category. I’m usually not bothered by this as long as I’m not involved in the decision or if the decision doesn’t impact me. But, if it involves me in some way, I can tolerate up to a certain threshold. Beyond that I get cranky. Allow me to give you a clearer picture.
What do I eat today?
Every afternoon when my stomach signals that it’s time to hog, I immediately lock my system and head to the cafeteria. I look at the menu board and wait in a queue to pay the bill (See, even when I’m hungry I follow rules). As luck would have it, the person before me in the queue would always have to take the most difficult decision ever. North Indian meals – Regular or Special. What’s amazing is how these people take the liberty to contemplate the pros and cons of this decision during their turn to pay the bill. Interesting right?
Where do I sit today?
Let me share another incident. I travel by office transport. As I board the bus at the second stop, the bus is relatively empty. So this means you get to choose which seat you want to occupy. There are a few people who take time even for this. What irritates me is when, during their analysis they forget that they’re blocking the aisle and all of us waiting to occupy seats have to wait and also pray that the person takes a quick decision and occupies some seat or the other. I can understand preference for window seats, but apart from that I wonder how they choose.
Should I cross the road? Or not?
Perhaps the most annoying scenario would be when we’re driving. How do we cross a road? We look to our left and right multiple times, wait for the vehicles to pass and break into a sprint. Some people keep it simple, they cross the road glued to their smartphones (Oh! The irony!) irrespective of whether there are any vehicles. Then there is this group that does a mini dance step before they decide whether or not to cross (Step 1: Go forward and come back. Step 2: Repeat Step 1 till vehicle crosses the road). While driving, you might think they’d wait for you to cross but then you see them trying to cross. When you slow down, they also seem to have decided not to cross. And just when you accelerate they cross the road. Sigh!
I’m not getting into complicated scenarios like choosing which shade of pink you want your shirt to be, or whether or not those accessories are worth even after the flash sales. Yes, one’s entire life depends on those decisions. But I don’t understand the amount of time and thought one allocates for trivial things. Some people take the simplest of things and complicate them. Perhaps simple is a subjective term.
So next time, before you get into your decision-making mode ensure that you aren’t directly or indirectly making others wait. Now, assuming that there are 2 people involved in your decision and you have to decide between whose time you intend to waste, will you be able to decide that? 😉