MaistakesI was chatting to someone recently – a girl at work – it was all rather embarrassing actually as I caught her having a good blub in the toilets. Bawling her eyes out, poor lamb. She was upset about a minor *altercation* she’d had with a guy she is dating.

(Without boring you with the details he likes her and wants her to meet his family. She likes him – a lot – but is having a bit of a dither about it all. It would appear the more he pushes her to say yes, the more she delays making a decision…)

I don’t really know her, but for some reason I got the full nine yards. And I mean the FULL nine yards. All the gory details. Mid chat she fessed up to something that nearly made my eyebrows fall off the top of my head. She was scared of making a decision. Then – yup, you guessed it – I got asked for my opinion on the matter. What would I do in her position?

I’m not scared of making decisions. Oh. Wait. Hang on. That’s a bijou fibette. I am actually. Petrified. Well, sometimes I am, but most of the time I am not. This is largely because I firmly believe that NOT making a decision is a cardinal sin. Even when I am feeling at my most lost, topsy-turvy or just plain confused about life in general, decisions will always get made. Dawdling simply isn’t my style.

But I am mindful that not all people are like me. Truth be told I know a few people that couldn’t make a decision if their lives depended on it!

To me the *fear* bit doesn’t really come from the decision making process itself, but from the outcome. The fear of the unknown, the fear of making a mistake, the fear of success, the fear of being judged, the fear of what others will say or think – we always seem to be caught up in some sort of fear, which ultimately leads to a fear of decision making.

At the heart of all fear is the dread that something might be lost. Someone who has trouble making a decision may fear losing their options. But every decision we make in life, by definition, means losing other options. No matter what you do, there is always another kind of life you could have lived. The trick is to choose the right options to lose.

But what I find really ironic here is that the fear of making a simple decision sometimes masks a desperate desire for exactly what that the person can’t seem to decide on. Sometimes what we we fear the most is what we want the most.

I’ve had the chance to reflect on what she told me, and this is what I’ve offered her today. Not exactly pearls of wisdom, but she did ask for an opinion… 🙂

Name your fear What exactly are you frightened of? If you make a bad decision what will you lose? If you make a good decision what will you gain? If you don’t make a decision and continue to faff what will happen? Write yourself a list. It’ll make it feel way more manageable. Trust me.

Decide to decide Indecisiveness is simply a habit you’ve got into. Stop it. Step away. Start a new habit. Make some decisions. Start small, and build your confidence. Even if you get it wrong, keep at it. Only by making mistakes will you learn what is right for you. Make sure that you listen to your heart; it knows what is good for you.

Imagine the fear is dead Sometimes we can get so caught up in what could go wrong / badly / pear shaped – and the infinite permutations there after – that we forget to look at how right things could actually be if we made that decision. Imagine a life without that fear.

And always, always, always remember that trying not to make a mistake may actually be your biggest mistake.

2 thoughts on “Decide-o-phobia

  1. Thought-provoking post. Probably means I’m avoiding some decisions…
    Very few decisions are irreversible: in this case, four (or some N) weeks later how could she measure whether it was a good decision? That could even just be “do I wish I made a different decision?” I find that often making a decision helps flush the right (or a better) decision out of your subconscious.

    • Decisions are indeed irreversible, however once the decision has been made it doesn’t mean that you are bound to it in perpetuity, or that you can’t find some way to atone for it (by that I mean changing tack) if necessary.

      Life isn’t about a single decision – it’s about the infinitesimal number of decisions we make. This is what helps to form who and what we are as human beings. I’ve made some terrible decisions in the past. And some bloody brilliant ones too. This won’t change in the future. There will undoubtedly be more of the same. (You know me, so you know this to be true!!)

      We – me, you and everyone else on the planet – are wired to seek comfort, and as a result much of our daily life is focused around familiar patterns and habits. When something threatens to break those habits, we feel uncomfortable and nervous. These negative feelings are easily avoided by continuing to live life the same way, rejecting change. If given the chance to enter uncharted territory, a situation where life’s future is unpredictable, people often prefer not to change, clinging to a comfortable situation.

      But sometimes we need to make those decisions – the gnarly horrible ones that challenge us mentally, emotionally and physically – and yes that might feel a bit risky. It does to me when I have to face up to stuff that shoves me out of my comfort zone. My view is that if we cling to familiarity in all aspects of our lives, there’s no opportunity for real growth — personally, professionally, or financially.

      And ftr she made her decision and has met the potential outlaws. I’ll keep you posted on when you can buy your hat 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s