The ability to grasp the essential contours of a situation so as to determine your attitude toward it, and to stick with that determination.

In part, the proliferation of choices (e.g. lifestyle choices, consumer choices) makes decisiveness more crucial and more difficult. Increased choice can lead to more anxiety about decisions, as the grass is greener in so many different locations now.

Beware of a fetish for decisiveness. While it is good to be capable of making decisions without dithering, and of sticking to decisions in the face of temptation – in many cases people who get a reputation for decisiveness are merely rash or arbitrary, and combine that with the ability to project a mimic of confidence that encourages the sort of people who welcome the opportunity to go-along rather than have to make decisions of their own. Instead, determine to make your own decisions, even if the process is difficult and not dramatic or confident. Only that way will you devote yourself to the right course of action, and not just to the vainglory of someone who has learned a parlor trick of social engineering.

Complementary virtues

Contrasting vices

  • dithering
  • indecisiveness
  • passivity

Virtues possibly in tension

How to acquire or strengthen it


Notes and links


Mentioned elsewhere


Inspirational quotes