Starting a new chapter of your life brings a slew of important decisions to be made. Some will be essential, such as where you will live, but others will be trivial, such as whether to buy shampoo with conditioner or just simple shampoo.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to thoroughly think about a situation and how you might respond to it. But when an obsession over the details clouds the ability to move on, indecision can be destructive and can cause paralysis by over-analysis.
The indecisive are the ones who tend to cling to perfection. Often they feel as though their happiness depends on each decision so, in turn, they may bring in too much information or too many constraints to cloud the ability to make a decision. There are a couple of tricks to fighting indecision while still being able to enjoy yourself in the process.
Give Yourself Less Time
Give yourself less time to make non-critical choices. Yes, that’s right. Less! If you give yourself less time to make simple decisions, you will train yourself to spend less time analyzing the decision and instead spend more time on the steps that follow.
If you’re not totally convinced that you’re capable of making a quick decision, think about what you’d do if you were being chased by a bear. Would it take you long to decide whether you should fight or flee? No! In an instant, you’ll find yourself sprinting for dear life. There are no discussions over tea and biscuits because the physiological response is hard-wired in our brain. We see danger so we react immediately to avoid it.
While most of our decisions are not life threatening, a snap decision may be forced because of time constraints or a lack of patience from others around you. Either way, it pushes you to settle on something. You might surprise yourself how a snap decision can turn out for the best.
The simplest example is the biggest decision you need to make at a restaurant. Everyone at the table has decided on their meal. The waiter takes the orders of each person, and like usual, you are the last to give your order. You hesitate. You’re split between the salmon and the steak. You feel the pressure. What should you do?
Be honest with yourself, will the decision to get the steak instead of the salmon ruin your evening? If it does, maybe your focus is in the wrong place. Why not, instead, focus on enjoying your time with the others around the table and participate in the group conversations?
I’ve always told myself that it doesn’t matter where I am, it’s the people that I’m with. It takes a lot of trust and flexibility to think this way, but you may find your decisions getting easier. Strive to make the best of all situations, even if it’s not optimal. And that means that you’ll just have to make due with whatever happens.
Randomize Your Decision-Making
It must sound odd to “randomize” your decision-making. “Where could he be going with this,” you ask?
Well, if you’ve struggled painfully long enough to decide on a relatively simple issue and you truly have no preference, flip a coin, literally.
Let chance decide between two equally impressive options, then stick to it. If you find yourself resorting to “best 2 out of 3” then “best 3 out of 5” and so on, you already have a conclusion made. You obviously want the other side of the coin, there’s no fooling yourself anymore!
If you’re dealing with another indecisive person, maybe engaging in a winner-takes-all paper, rock scissors game would help, but of course, it will only help if you both decide to honor the result. It sounds silly and unprofessional to base your judgment on a game, but it encourages a result in a timely manner. Besides, doing so just might lighten the mood and, in the end, it may help to train your brain to seek quicker results.
Again, all of this reinforces the point that you must be open and flexible. Re-focus your mind on what’s important instead of what appears to be important.
In most cases, a snap decision won’t drastically affect the rest of your life, but of course, success hinges on your reaction. You can consciously decide to let a small err in judgment ruin your day – or not. That’s one decision you will have to make.