Too Many Choices

Have you ever found yourself torn between a sea of options, unable to make a decision?

It’s frustrating right? As you swing from one option to another, riddled with uncertainty, the battle between options consumes every thought, every moment. Your mind is filled with confusing thoughts like ‘what if’, and ‘I just don’t know’.

In a world where there is so much choice available to us, sometimes it can be difficult to choose. Yet, in the western world, we find ourselves inundated with simple choices to make on a daily basis – what to wear today, what to eat for dinner, where to go on the weekend, who to see, when to go to bed, what time to get up, which type of exercise to do, which movie to see, which shampoo to choose…the list goes on.

If we let ourselves get caught up in the task of choosing between small, insignificant things then we lose valuable energy that we could be using to do other things, other things that really matter and really make a difference to our lives.

I have been lucky enough to attend the world’s largest human gathering (over 100 million people) in India  over the last few weeks and during my stay here at the Kumbha Mela I have had the great pleasure of meeting a renowned world humanitarian leader (and close colleague of the Dalai Lama)– Swami Avdheshanand Giri Ji.

There are many, many enlightened people here at the Mela and let me tell you – they offer much practical advice to us struggling westerners. I’d like to share with you Swami Avdheshanand’s approach to tackling indecision because I admire his, to-the-point, no-nonsense way of telling it like it is.

“A test of mental strength is the ability to take firm decisions. Indecision is always a sign of mental weakness. It shows there are unresolved conflicts within you. And conflicts undermine the integrity of the personality. If we remain in a state of indecision for a long time, instead of gaining strength we become weaker. To remain in a state of indecision and then to try to make your mind strong is stupid.

We must be very decisive about small things. Then we find it easier to take decisions about bigger things. Even the smallest thing in life is to be done consciously, intelligently, decisively, coordinating all of the faculties – feeling, thinking, and willing. Cultivate good habits early in life. A well regulated life is of great help. If we follow a strict routine every day, many of the little problems in life will not create indecision and worries. Then we get more energy and time for bigger things.

We must not lie in bed and go on thinking for half an hour, ‘Shall I get up or not?’ Either get up immediately or sleep for another half an hour, but do not remain in an indecisive state. Indecision is very harmful. Let not the little things of life nag you constantly and dissipate your energies.”

Swami Avdheshanand raises some valid points here – and I think it’s interesting that in the Eastern world, where there is so little choice available, life is somewhat simpler. I’ve noticed that many people here in India don’t concern themselves with the minutia of life like westerners do. They may have less money, material possessions, tech gadgets and so on, yet in some ways they have more freedom. There minds are free from the insignificant worries that many of us create on a day-to-day basis.

So today perhaps you might reflect upon how much indecision is affecting your life – and just how much energy you are giving away to such a detrimental habit.

Simple Life Strategy: 5 Steps to Overcome Indecision

Inspired by Swami Avdheshanand, I have put together a simple 5 step process to help you overcome indecision.

1. Spend a few days noticing when you are caught in the clutches of indecision – what types of things are bothering you? Are they small things or big things? How much time do you devote to make simple decisions?

2. Pick one thing to focus on, something that you constantly struggle with (it could be what time to get up in the morning, what to eat that day, what outfit to wear). Make sure it’s a small thing to start with so you don’t make it too difficult for yourself.

3. Next time you find yourself struggling to choose on your chosen subject, remind yourself mentally “I am a decisive person and I will not waste my time and energy with this.”

4. Now – simply pick one option. Make a decision quickly and commit to it. It doesn’t matter if it’s the right decision or not – just do it.

5. Let it go. Refrain from labouring about whether you made the right choice or not and move on. Do something immediately that really does matter to you – and if possible something that will make a positive difference to your life or to the lives of others.

Know someone who can be a little indecisive from time to time? Share this article with them!

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