It’s amazing and pathetic how much of my life is the way it is because I don’t/didn’t want to make a decision.
What I don’t often realize is that not making a decision is a decision. Not deciding if you’ll have another kid means you’ve decided to not have kids that are close in age. Not deciding where you want to move means you’ve decided to stay in the same house. Not deciding if you want to grow your hair out means you’ve decided to keep it short. Not deciding how to do your new website means you’ve decided to keep your old one.
Why are decisions so hard for some people? What is so paralyzing?
For me, it’s fear. Fear of commitment. Fear of getting it wrong. And unless I really internalize the fact that I AM making a decision whether I actively choose it or not, I’m going to feel safer just waiting — aka, defaulting to whatever will happen if I don’t act. It’s passive decision-making. And if you don't actively participate in your life by making proactive decisions, you'll be watching other things and other people affect your life while you stand on the sidelines. And that’s no way to live.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve been *experimenting* with approaching my decisions as experiments. Experiments don’t need to be perfect. In fact, the point of an experiment is to try something new — possibly even ridiculous or extreme — and learn from it. It’s not supposed to succeed or fail, and that takes the pressure off. No big deal.
The other wonderful thing about doing experiments is the low committment. I’m naturally interested in a wide variety of subjects, and I’ve been historically self-conscious amidst so many people who have their one or two strong interests or things they do forever. The idea of doing the same thing for 30+ years sounds like prison to me. Experimentation allows me to play with an idea or a hobby without feeling like I have to become it.
When it comes down to it, few decisions are so massive that they can’t be undone or changed later. Hair can be cut or grown out again. Moves can always be made again. Websites can be changed again. It’s not as scary as it seems. Yeah it’s frustrating that you put a lot of work into a decision that’s later changed, but oh well. It was an experiment. You learned something. You did something. Action. Forward motion. And that’s far better than scrolling through Facebook while your life decides itself.
What experiments will you do?
Until next week,