If an area of your life is lacking, you can bet your bottom dollar it’s because of an unmade decision.
Yup. When we find ourselves getting stuck in a rut or caught in the grips of ground hog day, there’s usually an unmade decision calling for our attention.
If you think about it – life is just a serious of decisions. And everything about your existing situation can be tied back to a string of decisions that were made.
Resistance to making decisions is a really common issue because it can be hard to get the clarity we need to move forward. Plus, what if we make the wrong decision? There’s so much pressure.
So often it feels like the easiest option is to ignore the decision. Put it to one side for a while and just keep on going.
The problem with this approach is – no decision is still a decision.
By stalling, you’re effectively choosing to maintain the status quo…to keep going…to stick with your current situation.
The truth is, sitting on the fence isn’t really ‘buying you more time to think about it’. Because by making no decision you’re actually saying YES to everything in your life, as it is now.
Something to chew on for a bit huh.
Why is it so hard to make decisions?
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve struggled with decision making like the best of them.
I’ve been caught in the grips of over-analysis more times than I can care to remember. And I feel for you because I know first-hand how much it sucks!
So why do we find it so hard to make decisions in the first place?
Well, it all boils down to that one human trait that gets us in hot water time and time again – habits.
As humans, we like habits because they feel familiar. And when something is familiar it makes us feel like we’re in control. We got this. We know what’s coming! We’re all good.
The danger with this is that it’s a trap.
Because it keeps us stuck doing the same things that have been making us miserable for a while now.
What we really need to do….is just make the decision.
Fear of failure
After our desire for control, the second reason why we hesitate around decision-making is a fear of failure.
If we don’t make the decision then we’re safe. No chance of making a wrong move. But again…this is another trap. By choosing to stick with a life that’s making us miserable, we’re failing on an even bigger scale. It just doesn’t feel that way.
A while ago I interviewed Stanford Professor Bob Sutton…(you can catch the interview here) and he said something very interesting about decision-making. He said that a recent study had shown that the most successful entrepreneurs all had one thing in common; fast decision-making.
But get this, interestingly these entrepreneurs did not make any more successful decisions. They just made them faster and for the ones that failed, they simply moved on quickly. What they gained from making faster decisions was not more success, but more time, because they weren’t effectively wasting time over-deliberating all of their decisions.
Fascinating stuff eh.
Another reason why we freeze, instead of making the decision, is that we worry about what others will think of us. And this is especially true for women. We naturally want others to like us and therefore we anticipate all of the various outcomes of us making a specific decision.
The problem with this is we’re fighting a losing battle. As someone very clever once said:
“You can’t please all the people all the time.”
Trying to please everybody is a recipe for disaster. You end up pleasing no-one and completely frazzling yourself in the process.
If you think about it, a decision is nothing more than a temporary commitment to take a certain path. And this in and of its-self can keep us stuck.
Just the word ‘commitment’ feels scary. It commands a seriousness that makes us really question if we’re making the right move.
But consider this.
“No decision is that important that you can’t recover from it.”
And besides, you can always change your mind down the track. Decisions are not forever. Try it out and if you don’t like it, then change it. Simple eh?
The last issue that lies behind indecision is a basic lack of trust in yourself. If we need to consitently look to others for advice before making most of our decisions, this can indicate that we don’t trust ourselves to make the right decision.
The irony is that the only person who knows the answer is you. And the more you seek advice from others, the more likely it is that you’ll make the wrong decisions. So this is a process of learning to trust yourself. In my experience the best way to trust yourself is by listening to your intuition. It’s highly probably that you are more qualified than anyone else to make this decision! And if you’re not, then gather the info you need and then don’t hesitate to make an informed decision!
Simple Life Strategy: 10 Steps to Successful Decision making
Below are 10 secret steps that fast decision makers use to get out of indecision and into ACTION.
- Stop for a moment and be still. Quiet your mind and get centered. If you try to make a decision from a place of overtly chaotic mental activity, you’ll struggle. Take a breath, pause and only THEN, begin. (if you have a meditation practice, definitely spend 5 minutes in quiet meditation before making any big decisions)
- ONLY make decisions by focusing on what you DO want (not what you don’t want). Too often we make decisions based on fear and this moves our focus from what we want to achieve to what we want to avoid. Trust me, this is not a great way to live. And you get what you focus on. Remember that.
- Get SUPER clear about the specific outcome you want to create as a result of this decision. The clearer this is, the easier the process will be.
- When you first ask yourself the question, be aware of any initial intuitive answers that pop up. Usually our intuition already knows the answer, we just over-complicate it with too much thinking (note: your intuition never uses fear-based language).
- Get clear about what there is to GAIN from making this decision? How important is this gain to you right now? Do you really want to live a life where this outcome doesn’t come true?
- Consider what it will COST you to make this decision? Is the GAIN worth the COST? (if it is then you’ve got your answer already!)
- What ACTION are you required to take as a result of making the decision? Are you willing to do what’s necessary as a result of this decision?
- Refrain from too much mental analysis. When you try too hard to figure out a decision, you’ll end up banging your head against a brick wall. Instead, simply go through the steps and then let it go. You’ll be surprised when the answer comes to you during an unexpected moment (think in the shower or while you’re doing the dishes!)
- What’s the alternative? If you’re still stumped after the analysis stage, then ask yourself this: ‘What’s the alternative if I don’t make this decision?” This can help you to gain clarity and the momentum you need to move forward.
- Energise the result. Once you have made your decision, reinforce it by imagining that you have made the right decision! See your result come to life! Picture it as if it were a movie playing in front of you. The more specific you can get with this, the better!
Et voila! There you have it. Some simple steps to help you make decisions faster and with ease.
And if you’re not a linear kind of person, then feel free to mix up the order of these steps. Do whatever works for you.
Now take a moment and look at your life. Ask yourself honestly, where do I not have the results I REALLY want? And what decisions need to be made in that area?
Where are you not committing? Where are you uttering that indecisive little word; ‘maybe’?
Here’s to a decisive Wednesday people!
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. Tell me what decisions you’ve been avoiding and how you will move forward today!
PS: Want to work with me?
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