All through your life you make decisions. By their nature, some of those decisions are bigger or smaller than others. Some are so huge they affect the course your life runs as a consequence. At the other end of the spectrum are those decisions you make automatically; seemingly without much thought or difficulty; like switching on a light when you enter a dark room.
It’s important to acknowledge and affirm you make decisions; that we all do, because when you linger over making a choice for what appears too long, you may just say outloud, “Why can’t I make decisions without all this stress?!” And it’s then, at those moments, you have to remind yourself that yes, you do make decisions. It’s just the gravity or importance of what you’re weighing over that has you paused until you choose.
Have you ever considered just how many decisions you make in a day? I’m not surprised you haven’t. You’d likely miss many even if you tried to recall all the decisions you make. What time to get up, to shower or not, turn on the light or stumble in the dark? Which pair of underwear? Slacks or skirt, shave or not? Cereal or toast and if it’s toast, butter, jam or peanut butter? Do the dishes now or when you come home at the end of the day?
Okay, so you’ve given yourself credit over the small ones. Good. Now, to the bigger ones; maybe one you’re fretting over now for all I know. Okay so let’s look at that process. First of all, if you’re upset that it’s taking too long to make your choice, consider on the positive side of things that you won’t be upset with yourself for having made a rash, spur-of-the-moment decision without giving things the time and reflection they require. Every made a rash decision without thinking and regretted it? Hopefully it wasn’t over something huge; yes, hopefully it was choosing one ice cream flavour over another; something with small consequences.
When considering 2 or more options, we generally weigh the pros and cons. We look at the benefits of each choice, (the good) and the negatives (consequences). Can I suggest by the way that we both remove the word consequences as a negative. Make a good choice and the positive outcomes are consequences of having made that decision. Consequences go both ways. Too often someone warns us of consequences in our decision-making and like the word stress, we come to associate it with a negative. But stress and decisions can both be positives.
Okay so you’ve got your pros and cons. If you’re looking for a choice that has all positives and zero negatives, you’re not likely to find it. Just as obvious is that whatever you don’t choose in the end likely has some upside or positives too. Believing there’s an option with nothing but positives, where everything is a win, just doesn’t happen much of the time when you’re faced with 2 or more big choices and you have to decide.
Take choosing a school to go to as an example. Is it the College or University close to home or the one across the country. One close to home might mean you could continue to live with your parents and save on residence costs, but then again, sometimes the freedom to do what you want without the constant scrutiny of your parents would be a welcome positive. You might mature faster by doing your own shopping, washing and cooking. On the other hand, you’ll miss dad’s barbeque and mom’s lasagna. As for programs, they may be similar but one has a slighter better reputation but comes at a higher fee. One’s in a densely populated city and the other isn’t. Maybe your family encourages you to go to one over the other, but the other is close to those ski hills you’d love to get out on. Ah decisions.
Consider that having decisions to make is a privilege. Some on this planet are fighting passionately for the rights you enjoy; the right to choose. Be it school, a political party to vote for in an election or if and whom to marry. Never wish you didn’t have to decide; that others would make decisions for you. Coming to a decision helps you grow. Some of your decisions, yes, you’ll regret those choices. This makes you human. We all make decisions we’d like to reverse, and yes, some of those are big ones. While you hope to learn the lessons that go with those choices you wish you could have back, the key is to look forward and make better, informed choices, not relive and beat yourself up over choices made in the past.
Go ahead and get information when weighing your choices. Pay attention to your gut too. If you flip a coin between two important options, do you feel hopefully of one over the other as the coin is in the air? What does that tell you? Grab the coin and put it in your pocket without looking at how chance might have played out.
In the end, DO choose. Spend the time you need but please make a decision. Don’t run the risk of missing a deadline, losing an opportunity, then feeling bad because you waited too long.
In the end, go with the positives of your choice and feel good!