Just Make a Decision

The ability to make decisions seems to elude some people. They can’t just make a decision. This post is inspired by a conversation I had with a young man about his intense worry before, during and after making decisions. More specifically, he is worried about making the wrong decision.

We looked closer at the decisions that he was making. At first, he thought all decisions gave him trouble, but this was not the case. We have very easy decisions most of the day. Should we brush our teeth? Do we go to work/class?

In fact, we have to make a decision about so many little things! Should we wear clothes or go naked? Should I take a really great opportunity? We barely acknowledge these as decisions, but they ARE decisions none-the-less. It is just that we are so clear about the choice. In other words, the option we are not choosing is undesirable enough that it does not feel like an option. But it actually might be an option someone else would take. Some kids have no trouble missing school for the day.

Just make a decision

The decisions that are hard to make are ones where both or multiples options are feasible. There are benefits and risks to each choice. Should I work out or watch TV? Which concurrent meeting should I attend? This is where it got harder. There wasn’t clarity. Most of these kinds of decisions have very little risk. It is not as if we are dismantling a bomb and have to pick the right color wire or we’ll be blown to smithereens. Worry has us seeing the risk as higher than it is. Sometimes our decision is arbitrary, because the next day we will be have opportunity to make the same decision and we can change our mind.

The word decision means “to kill” as we are killing the choice not taken. Sometimes we feel grief for what we pass up even though the decision is clear. It is a loss. But it also frees us. Once we make the choice we can now commit to the option we pick. There is no RIGHT choice, we pick something and then MAKE it the “right” one. You have the control.

There is a freedom when you make a decision

The problem comes in when one ruminates over decisions from the past that are arbitrary or that did not seem to pan out. This regret only serves us to the point that brings awareness into our next decision. After that it no longer serves us. Instead it causes anxiety and unnecessary but all too common torment.

Even allowing regret and worry to torment you is a choice. You can make a decision to look forward from all decisions always knowing there is another chance to chose something else next time. Deciding not to let worry and regret get under your skin can be the most freeing decision yet!

buy you 1 anxiety 0 by Jodi Aman

8 thoughts on “Just Make a Decision”

  1. TheWritingReader (@WritingReader)

    Even the thing that looks like a bad decision now can turn out to be exactly the right decision down the road. I’m not sure who coined the phrase “failing forward”, but there’s a lot of wisdom in that. Sometimes we can only learn the lesson we need by “failing.” If we could stop labeling decisions as mistakes or failures, we could learn so much more about this journey we’re on.

  2. Brenda Moguez (@BrendaMoguez)

    I am one of those people who doesn’t dally with making a decision. I make it then and there without hours of internal debating, although I sometimes wish I considered the yes or no, now and again. My way isn’t perfect because some of my decisions have left me with battle scars, maybe a broken heart now and again. No way is perfect but I think not making any decision has to be more painful since hours are lost debating and life opportunities are lost.

  3. Angela Orlowski-Peart

    I agree with The Writing Reader – “failing forward” is a crucial part of life and if we learn from our past mistakes, the future decision-making is based on much more solid ground.

    I like the way you reason what a decision-making is: “killing the choice not taken”. Wonderful choice of words.

    Angela Orlowski-Peart

  4. Angela and Writing Reader,
    Excellent points. So if we set our sites that mistakes are to learn from not to ruminate over, we can be constantly improving and never beating our selves up!
    Thanks for the comments!
    Jodi <3

  5. I was wondering how I could apply what you wrote to making really insignificant decisions. I often get stuck on clothing choices. Like yesterday I went to buy a hoodie, and it took me a half hour to decide what color to get. I was happy with my choice in the end but I was not happy with the maniacal behavior I displayed in the process of making my decision..going back and forth to the rack, picking the shirts up, and putting them back etc, etc. I had the option to buy it and return it, but that just seemed crazy too. Why not just pick a color and be done with it?

  6. Why indeed, Naila? That is the question you have to ask yourself. Then decide not to let it overtake you. Like today, so it took you long yesterday, learn from that and let it go. There is no purpose to being upset that it took so long except that it can get you to decide not to make as big a deal of it next time!

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful feed back. I’m already excited about answering my own question so that I can understand and change my behavior. I agree, there is no purpose to being upset, because there are no mistakes, just learning opportunities! = )

  7. One of the things that irritates me most is when someone is not able to make a decision, and even worst when this person starts nagging about a decision he took.
    When I was at school, to write an essay, they used to give us a choice of subjects, and i used to spend most of the time wondering what subject to chose, and i used to end up starting them all, and finishing nothing. So I have learned a lesson.

    Now, I always give myself a time limit to think, then decide. The time limit depends of course on the importance of the decision. Once I have decided, I never regret it, even if I find out i made a wrong choice. Getting upset about a decision i made won’t change the outcome.That’s why I’m considered stubborn.
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