You would think that a smart person would find decision-making easy. But, no. It’s often quite the opposite.
There are gazillions of reasons for this. Well, maybe not gazillions. But lots. Here are just a few:
You want to make the right decision but you can think of arguments for all sides of the issue.
You see how everything is related to everything else.
You’re not sure which choice is the most in line with your ethical stance. And ethics matter.
You want to choose the right thing but then you have to let go of all the other things you didn’t choose. And that’s painful.
You’re concerned about how your decisions will affect others. Not just family members. Everyone.
You’re easily overwhelmed by the number of options.
You feel pressure to do the right thing because that’s what everyone expects and you can’t disappoint them.
From the time you were a toddler, you were tuning in to what others needed and trying to please them. You’re still trying to please them.
You have a pile of books by your bed but you can’t decide which one to read first because you want to know everything– NOW.
You grew up in a chainsaw family so it was life-threatening or humiliating to make a wrong choice.
You care deeply about social justice so you want to be fair to everyone.
You are a multipotentialite.
You like keeping things open-ended because there’s always new information on the way.
You believe that you’re a complete failure if you make a wrong decision.
You’re terrified of screwing up your children.
So, what can you do?
You’ll find some ideas in this earlier post. The emphasis there is on developing and trusting your intuition. Writing dialogues with parts of yourself. Meditating. Tai Chi. Time in nature. Building a spiritual practice. (Be sure to read the comments.)
Those ideas work well for big decisions. What about the every day choices?
This is tricky. But I’ve made a list of mantras that you can say to yourself when you need them. Keep the list handy. It helps to breathe, too. When faced with a “simple” choice or decision, say to yourself one or more of these:
~ No one will die.
~ Mistakes will make me more likable.
~ I can change my mind at any time.
~ Perfection is over-rated.
~ Maybe I was never prom queen/king, but I’m still an extremely cool person.
~ My kids will grow up healthier if I model resilience.
~ I can comfort the child part of me who is the one who is freaking out. The adult part of me knows what to do.
~ It’s all a grand experiment.
~ I am a dynamic work of art. In process.
~ No one else will even notice.
~ I’m more critical of myself than anyone I know.
~ My memoir will be much more fascinating if I make some ridiculous decisions.
And, if all else fails, remember the wisdom of Donald Antrim:
“The simple question “What color do you want to paint that upstairs room?” might, if we follow things to their logical conclusions, be stated, “How do I live, knowing that I will one day die and leave you?”
To my bloggEEs: A person on a Facebook site about giftedness said that she thinks that the comments on this blog are the best comments on the whole internet! I have to agree. Keep ’em coming. And thank you. What decisions are hard for you? What helps you make them?
(Oh, and you may have noticed that I have some new photos. If you want to see my latest look, go to my About page! You can even see my over-excitable, effervescent hair in its free state.)