Have you ever wondered why we struggle to decide even about the little things?
Why asking your other half what he wants for dinner can turn into mission impossible, and why no matter how much we want something in life we just can’t seem to get from knowing what to do to get it, to actually taking the necessary action?
So why can’t we make our minds up?
From my research and talking to friends, colleagues, and like minded souls it seems there are several usual suspects, or common decision making demons:
1. We’ve got too many options:
And they aren’t all clean cut either. We’ve got a million more choices than our ancestors ever had and as a result we’re much less happy, and completely overwhelmed.
The decision between a new job with a huge hike in salary, a private pension and access to the company car vs one which has a reasonable salary a four day week and access to an on-site nursery may not be quite as straight forward as we’d initially think. There are so many more factors to take into consideration these days. And of course living in the relative luxury we do in the western world we’re quite literally spoiled for choice.
This of course means that the old hat tips and tricks of pro/con lists and flipping a coin just aren’t cutting it anymore.
2. We want it all or nothing:
We were raised to believe we could have it all and to take no prisoners in our pursuit to get it. As a consequence compromise has become a four letter word.
Why have we become so adverse to settling? And trust me I mean settling in the most positive sense. Finding peace and contentment with what we know to be right for us in our lives can never be a bad thing. And simply knowing when enough is good enough can be a giant leap forward in finding lasting satisfaction in life.
3. We don’t know how to prioritise our own needs:
We struggle with the idea of putting ourselves first. We’ve been bought up to consider it to be self centred and self serving but in reality this belief in fact leaves us less able and less effective in helping both ourselves and others.
Remember the aeroplane safety spiel you get before a flight, about placing your own oxygen mask BEFORE attempting to help anyone else? Well I’m thinking those guys have quite possibly got exactly the right idea!
It’s not in the slightest bit selfish to make a choice that directly benefits you if in the long term it ultimately benefits others too.
4. We’re scared of the consequences:
Whether it be the negative implications, or possibly and more often surprisingly so the positive ones, one of my all time favourite quotes by Marianne Williamson and used by Nelson Mandela illustrates my point much more eloquently than I ever could.
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, but our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
5. We’re trying to do too much:
To do too much, to be too much for everyone and anyone when in reality we each have a unique and singular purpose in life and the more we focus on fulfilling that the happier we will all be.
Pareto’s Principle/the 80/20 rule states that 80% of our most valuable output comes from just 20% of our input. So what’s your 20%?
6. We don’t know how to ask for help:
As everybody else’s go to girl, cheering squad, accountability expert and agony aunt we’ve got so used to doing these things for everyone else that we’ve forgotten to take our turn and reap the same rewards.
7. We’ve got tunnel vision:
Seeing things from someone else’s perspective can be immensely enlightening and lead us to answers we would never had considered on our own.
As Einstein once said – “You can’t solve a problem on the same level at which it was created” Or in other words you’ve got less chance of finding a solution to a problem with the same mind that created it.
The point is to recognise your own favourite decision making delay, accept it for what it is, and find ways to take action in overcoming it.
Don’t make the mistake of dismissing the impact your own potential can have if only you were to let it – we are all more capable of greatness than we will ever know. And now is the time to pursue it!
Why not aim over the next week to notice your own decision making demons, and consider ways to push past procrastination paralysis and move forward to a more fulfilling future.And check back here later on in the week for some of my own hints and tips on how you can do that.
– What have you found to be your usual decision making delays? Have you found the magic wand to making your mind up with clarity, consistency and congruency? – I’d love to hear how your own meaningful decisions happen. Please comment below, get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow me on Twitter @zoegoode, or friend me on Facebook.