How do I choose when I can’t decide?

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Every decision is a bet. And I am not a gambler. I like being in control. I like a sure thing. And deep down I believe that if I make The Right Decision, it will all work out in my favor. 

The problem is that is not the case. And so I have a terrible time making decisions sometimes. 

You can make the best decision and it still can turn out poorly. You can still lose. Painfully. That doesn’t mean it was a bad decision or the wrong decision.

A good decision is not evidenced by a favourable outcome. Research, consultation and action is what determines the quality of a decision. You can make the best decision and it still can turn out poorly. You can still lose. Painfully. That doesn’t mean it was a bad decision or the wrong decision. 

Rushing headlong without considering pros or cons, without considering the consequences on self and others… that is a poor decision even if it turns out in our favour. A good decision is one where we consult people with experience, do some research, outline a few options and consider the consequences, and then take action. That last part is crucial. It isn’t a decision until it is made. 

When the stakes seem high, we can get stuck in “paralysis by analysis”. We get sucked into an imaginary black hole of thinking we can influence the outcome if only we make “the right” decision.  What if I make the wrong decision and everything turns to s*t? And so we get stuck in limbo afraid to decide one way or the other.

Keys

  • Remember that while a “good” decision increases the odds of a favorable outcome, it doesn’t guarantee it. Every decision is a bet. 
  • Do your research, but give yourself a deadline. 
  • If the stakes are too high, break it down into a series of smaller, lower stakes decisions. 
  • Light a candle, or say a prayer or plug your nose and jump, but take the leap into action. 
  • Be gentle with yourself. Some decisions can be really scary. Credit yourself with showing courage. 
  • Remember that you can always change your mind, adjust your sails or abandon ship. It will suck but that’s why living takes courage. 

Resources

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts by Annie Duke

Photo credit: Arrows by Pexels


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