An officer once came to Grant's headquarters and called his attention to the vast expenditure of money involved in an order he had given, and asked him if he was sure he was right. "No," said Grant, "I am not; but in war anything is better than indecision. We must decide. If I am wrong, we shall soon find it out, and can do the other thing. But not to decide wastes both time and money, and may ruin everything."
Quick and powerful decision has been the gateway to success in every field of life. One of the secrets of Napoleon's great success as a military leader was the quick and firm, and sometimes terrible, decision which marked his early campaigns. But in the last chapter of his life Napoleon showed great indecision and vacillation, and in contrast with the decisiveness of his early career was often unable to bring himself to the timely decision. The campaign of Waterloo showed that. Men who hesitate and linger are left behind by the men who have decided and who bind what shall be to their will. Life is not a playground, but an arena where we must decide.
In the early days of his struggle toward the truth, Augustine made a prayer, "Lord, save me from my sins, but not quite yet." Then sometime after that he prayed, "Lord, save me from all my sins, except one." And then came the final prayer, "Lord, save me from all my sins, and save me now!" It was when he made that final decision against evil that the victory was his. There is no joy and strength and, for that matter, no peace, like that which visits the soul which has taken an unconquerable resolve against that which is evil.
Lincoln used to tell the story of a man who heated a piece of iron in the forge, not knowing just what he was going to make out of it. At first he thought he would make a horseshoe; then he changed his mind and thought he would make something else out of it. After he had hammered on this plan for a little while, he changed his mind and started on something else. By this time, he had so hammered the iron that it was not good for much of anything; and, holding it up with his tongs and looking at it in disgust, the blacksmith thrust it hissing into a tub of water. "Well, at least I can make a fizzle out of it!" he exclaimed.
It is better to concentrate on one thing than to dream about a hundred things. How often in old age is heard the echo of this sigh coming from the lips of men who have made no mark for themselves, "If I had only followed one thing!"
On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, D. L. Moody preached to the largest congregation that he had yet addressed in Chicago. His text was, "What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?" (Matt. 27:22.) At the close of the sermon he said, "I wish you would take this text home with you and turn it over in your minds during the week, and next Sabbath we will come to Calvary and the Cross, and we will decide what to do with Jesus of Nazareth." Then Sankey began to sing the hymn,
Today the Saviour calls;
For refuge fly;
The storm of justice falls,
And death is nigh.
But the hymn was never finished, for while Sankey was singing there was the rush and roar of fire engines on the street outside, and before morning Chicago lay in ashes. Moody to his dying day was full of regret that he had told that congregation to come next Sabbath and decide what to do with Jesus. "I have never since dared," he said, "to give an audience a week to think of their salvation. If they were lost they might rise up in judgment against me. I have never seen that congregation since. I will never meet those people until I meet them in another world. But I want to tell you of one lesson that I learned that night which I have never forgotten, and that is, when I preach to press Christ upon the people then and there and try to bring them to a decision on the spot. I would rather have that right hand cut off than to give an audience a week now to decide what to do with Jesus."
When Antiochus of Syria invaded Egypt, the Romans sent a herald, Pompilius, to order him to withdraw. When Pompilius delivered the message, Antiochus read it and said, "I will consider the matter and answer soon. The herald then took his wand, the symbol of his office, and, marking a circle around Antiochus, said to him, "Consider and answer before you step out of this circle."
Would that the preacher could do that—draw a circle around the soul that has not yet decided for Christ and say to it, "Decide; give your answer before you step out of this circle!"
Writing in Nation's Business, April, 1956, Peter Drucker out, lined four steps in decision making:
1. Define the problem
2. Define expectations
3. Develop alternative solutions
4. Know what to do with the decision after it is reached.
It occurred to me that school administrators who make as many decisions as little league umpires can quite easily acquire great skill in applying the above steps merely by taking up the game of golf. It's difficult to say how many decisions a golfer makes in one round of 18 holes, but they must number in the hundreds. Here's one example: the object of swat lies there in the sand! The golfer defines the problem—how to remove the oval from its resting place to the cup according to the rules of the game; he then defines his expectations—to beat par or partner; he next develops alternative solutions—use the wedge and blast out or use another suitable instrument and pick the ball out delicately; finally, he must know what to do with the decision after it is reached—with confidence he blasts and surveys the results, knowing full well he followed the steps in decision making.—M. Dale Baughman
Life is no corridor with only a single door opening out of the farther end Unnumbered doors—some opening on the good, others on evil, and many on a puzzling mixture of both—open off the corridor all along the way.—Harold A. Bosley, Pulpit Digest
It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires great strength to decide on what to do. —Friendly Chat
Two farmers, working in a field, noticed a neighbor's barn was on fire. One farmer wanted to rush over to aid the neighbor. The other suggested, "Don't you think we'd better first ask him if he wants the fire out?"—Lidley J. Stiles, Dean, College of Education, University of Wisconsin
Knute Rockne once told a newsman, "Give me a slow quarter¬back with fast decisions and we'll beat most teams around; give me a fast one with that decisive ability and well beat them all."—Bill Ormsby, "Decisions . . . The Thinking Man's Trouble," Trained Men