Increase Your Critical Thinking by Committing To Your Choice

Lukas Schwekendiek
4 min readApr 15, 2021

There is a story that I read in a book about Leadership (I believe it was the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell) that I want to share here.

The story went about as follows:

The author was studying leadership and asked if, to analyze some qualities of leaders, he could sit in in a military meeting.

Given that he kept the details confidential, he was allowed to observe.

The high ranking officers were discussing a plan of action for the soldiers overseas. It was in regards to an operation that had a lot of dangers and could cost many lives, so the officers were uncertain to say the least.

For a week the arguments narrowed down the plans to 1 of 3 possible choices, however, no decisive argument could be made to choose one way or another.

For another week they met every single day and argued the pros and cons of each choice, not narrowing it down at all. It wasn’t until the first day of the third week that an even higher ranking officer had to come in.

As he walked in he said this: “I have 30 minutes for this meeting, so I need to be briefed about each option quickly. Give me the shortest rundown you can. Go.”

In 10 minutes the officers explained to their superior what they narrowed the choices down to, to which he then replied: “Thank you. We will go with Option B.” And he walked out.

Completely baffled by this the author stood up and try to catch the officer; he had to know how he came to a decision so quickly.

“These officers have discussed this at length over two weeks and I would agree absolutely with them that there is no decisive choice to be made. They are all good and all involve a decent amount of risk. All of them are smart and calculated individuals, they all deserve their rank if not more, so how was it that you can make such a choice in 10 minutes that a whole room of qualified people couldn’t make in 2 weeks?”

“You’re right. All the choices were about the same. But that was the problem. Due to them being so close no one wanted to take responsibility. I need these officers to move on and not worry about something that they cannot figure out

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Lukas Schwekendiek

Life Coach, Speaker, Writer. Published on TIME, Inc & Huffington Post.