Each day we are faced with numerous decisions and sometimes even a few challenges. In nearly all cases, we must make our decision and move on. In my experience, indecision is just as bad or worse than making the wrong decision. That said, often times the right path may not be very clear to us. In these types of situations, I like to error on the aggressive side.
This doesn’t mean knocking someone out (although in certain cases it may), it simply means that if we generalize decision-making into two broad categories we can say that our two choices are making a passive decision or making an aggressive decision.
Being aggressive isn’t the correct choice in all situations, but hopefully the situations where the passive action is the right one are clear to you. For example, if you aren’t sure if you can drive over the train tracks before the train arrives, the clear decision is to stop and avoid putting your life at risk. In this situation, being aggressive would be a huge (and potentially deadly) mistake.
Although I haven’t conducted (or even searched for) any type of scientific study that confirms the following, I would wager that in general, women are much more likely to make passive decisions (or no decision) as opposed to men. There are still plenty of men who default to the passive, but overall I’d guess that women are much more passive in general. Most women would probably be shocked to discover that often times they can get exactly what they want simply by asking for it. Try it out – next time you see someone you’re interested in meeting – approach them and initiate conversation. It works – just ask my neighbor who approached me and introduced herself literally while I was writing this post. We had seen each other dozens of times and offered a polite “hello,” but she took the aggressive path of introducing herself and asking my name. Bravo.
In poker, aggression is as common as can be. While I am certainly nowhere near qualified to write about poker strategy, I can note that a high percentage of world-class players seem to play some variation of a generally aggressive style. Especially deep in MTTs and in high stakes cash games.
It is easy to fall into a rut where you regularly make lame, passive decisions. The good news is that once you identify this, you can fix it. Try to actively think about your decisions as you go through your day and work on being more assertive and more aggressive. Practice makes perfect and as you continue to assert yourself, being aggressive will be easier and easier until eventually it becomes your default action.