IIT Kharagpur: How to be more confident in decision-making?

Acharya Prashant
5 min readMay 7, 2022

Following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Questioner (Q): I lack confidence when it comes to decision-making. I am always doubtful of whether I am making the right decision or not, and this results in a lot of stress and having to take a lot of time to decide anything. How can I be more confident in decision-making as a student?

Acharya Prashant (AP): No, you do not need confidence. You need inquiry and honesty. It is better to suspend confidence and conclusions than to be falsely confident. Most people you find radiating confidence are actually just radiating false confidence. So, remain an inquirer.

Inquiry is difficult and uncomfortable because the mind wants to come to quick conclusions. The mind doesn’t want to stay in a state of uncertainty and unpredictability; the mind wants to quickly certify to itself that its decisions are alright or not alright. You could say the mind wants to operate in binary. You want to know: say yes or no. Have we not seen people do this? “Please say yes or no.” Whereas, the facts of life are otherwise. They demand rigorous inquiry; they demand continuous attention. You cannot just label them as right or wrong in one go.

And not only do we want to label stuff as okay or not okay, but we also want to close the matter by saying, “We are confident that the final decision has been made, that an irreversible certificate has been issued.” Just like your degree, you know — once you have it, you have it for life. Life is not like that. You have to be continuously on the vigil. You have to keep asking, “What is happening? Is it alright? Is it not alright?” Even these questions are not needed in the real sense. What is needed is deep observation and the honesty to acknowledge whatever you see.

You might be feeling that you have cracked a particular problem, but you must go through your solution again. “Have I really solved it? If I have solved it, are the symptoms corresponding to a solution state? Why am I in such a hurry to seal the deal? Why do I want to say I have arrived, the thing is final?” Because it appears cool, especially in your age group. We don’t like the uncertain ones; we don’t like the probing ones. We like the ones who loudly declare that they…

Acharya Prashant