You are playing Risk. You have acquired a good size continent for this stage of the game and are busy strengthening your position. You tend to be cautious. You like to have a solid base before expanding to the rest of the map. You also don’t want to invade other Risk players for no reason. You are afraid that they will immediately retaliate and you don’t like to provoke them. The desire not to expand contradicts your overall objective which is to expand and conquer the whole world. These two opposite aims will create indecision in you. Each turn you tell yourself that if all goes well you may start expanding in the next turn. When the turn comes, you feel even more vulnerable than the last turn and decide to stay put and buy time. The indecision starts to bother you but what can you do about it? You don’t see a way out.
Before long you see other players starting to expand and criss-crossing the map. As they expand they get more and more opportunities to eliminate weaker players and become stronger in the process. You are still fairly comfortable in your corner and other players don’t seem to bother you, but then again you cannot possibly match their armies or access to critical regions of the map, so you decide to stay where you are until the right moment comes.
A few turns later the last remaining two strongest players start attacking you. This is not because they want to conquer you; it’s just that they see your territories and cards as assets necessary to acquire to strengthen their foothold against each other. In other words, by now you are no longer a problem and they are simply shifting their weights to prepare for the final death match between themselves once you are eliminated.
Now, you have paid dearly for your indecision. Indecision can be paralysing and dangerous. You lose time without realising that you are. As a good Risk player, you must constantly aim to reduce your indecisiveness to improve your game. You cannot wait and hope that eventually you will know what to do.
How can you eliminate your indecisiveness? Use the following guidelines to improve your decision making:
Make a Move and Think About it Later
When you find yourself in a situation, you have to get on with it. Limited resources, imminent danger and a challenging situation can force you to stay focused. Choose one course of action and follow it while accepting its consequences. This is much like crossing the Rubicon. Once you are on the other side, there is no turning back. This will force you to focus, gather all your resources and think only of your ultimate objective. When there is no turning back, you only have one way to go. There is no longer the agony of making a decision since the decision is already made and is behind you.
This applies to all aspects of life and not just playing Risk. Once you make a decision to buy a car, then it’s done. You don’t have to think about it again whether you have to do it in 3 months or in 6 months time. You got the car and the task is done. It is the same with buying a house, getting a job or getting married. After the decision, there is no more worry about making the decision and this can be extremely freeing and satisfying. So sometimes, you just have to rely on your instincts and make the jump.
Make it Exciting
Turn a boring situation into an exciting one. If you feel tired of a situation, it is because you are bored of it. If you are bored of something, it is because there is a lack of challenge. Lack of challenge means you have taken less of what you can do. You are far more capable, but you are stuck in a situation where you are using only 10% of your brain. You cannot decide one way or another because you cannot be bothered. You may even start to think that the end goal isn’t as important to you as you originally thought.
This can be a dangerous mentality. It is like saying, “Well, Risk is only a game. It doesn’t really matter than much if I lose.” Can you really expect to win with that kind of mentality? What do you think happens if an athlete says, “Well, it is only a 100m run. What’s the big deal if I don’t win? It’s not the end of the world, is it?” With that attitude, you cannot expect the athlete to win anything let aside an Olympic medal.
Turn this around by making yourself feel excited about the end result as if nothing else matters but success in that regard. So, when you are playing Risk, nothing else matters but winning the game. Give yourself rewards for winning every single match. Bet with someone on your performance. Place yourself in a situation where you have no other choice than winning and watch how magically and suddenly become the best player around.
It is You Against the World
Imagine that all players are against you. They want nothing else but making you lose. What would you do? Would you just quit or would you feel that you want to prove them all wrong. If you lose it is your reputation on the line. You have to fight like there is no tomorrow so you can prove that you are a great player. The immense pressure means you will never be indecisive. Define yourself as a rebel against other established players. A bit of anger and hatred can give you focus and an edge against your enemies in the game. It is not that you are playing emotionally, it is just that you are channelling your strong emotions to become decisive, focused and see clever solutions that others cannot see. Because you care so much about winning, you will simply see solutions that those who don’t care as much won’t.
Use the self-inflicted pressure and your unabashed determination to catapult yourself to victory.