Decisions, Decisions, Decisions...
Decision-making is one of those concepts that can be so easy for some, yet so incredibly difficult for others. Personally, I've fallen in the 'incredibly difficult' category for the majority of my life, and am still transitioning to a state of being more comfortable with it being 'easy'. It's not so much that I'm incapable of making a decision -- rather, it's that I truly excel at making things more difficult than they need to be.
This is also a very common issue, as complicating matters for ourselves often arises when our head (logic) attempts to determine the "best" course of action. I get stuck in my head a lot, and while not always a bad thing, it can lead to some real hang-ups, especially when making a decision. I've run the gamut from blowing things out of proportion, to giving into innumerable fictitious "what if?" scenarios, to outright bogging myself down with analysis paralysis. None of these help make decisions any easier; quick side note: making life more difficult for yourself is no fun at all. Who'd have thunk it?
These frustrations lead to all kinds of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm in my life, and next to zero decisions actually made; that, or a reaaaaaaally long process in order to come to one. I've started incorporating some new strategies in my life to help with decision-making, and want to share them with you:
Think Beyond Black & White
Black & white thinking -- also referred to as either/or -- is where I lived. There were no shades of grey in my mind, and that both simplified and complicated things for me. Presented with only two options was better than myriad in front of me, however if neither of the options were particularly pleasant, then deciding between them wasn't very appealing. That's without even getting into the in-depth complications of the implications each decision may hold moving forward, and the impact on my life and others that could have serious ramifications.... Whew... see what I mean about being in my head?
By limiting my view and scope that there were only two possible outcomes for any decision, I became limited. Opening my mind to other potential possibilities -- even if I wasn't aware of what they were -- helped ease the burden, as I didn't feel backed into a corner any longer. Of course, when more options are presented, analysis paralysis can quickly set in. That's where my second tip aims to please.
Trust Your Gut
I've had a tough time trusting my intuition, as though its volume was never high enough to hear. More than likely, I was turning knob up on my own static rather than actually paying attention to what my gut was telling me. Ever had a gut feeling of unease before making a decision? Then make the decision, and have exactly what your gut was warning you about go wrong? Yeah, I don't think there's enough blog space for me to recount the number of times that's happened.
Trusting our intuition -- our gut -- isn't always right, but it's kind of shocking how many times it is. Our conscious, logical brains argue away against all kinds of evidence, rationalizing decisions to fit some end. Knowing that our brains would rather be right than happy may be enough evidence to trust our guts on that alone. Trust the inner voice, as it's much wiser than any of us give it credit for.
Seek Outside Input
Ask for help. So simple, yet so difficult. As a people-pleaser, and one who often feels he is "bothering" another by reaching out and asking for help (an entirely different limitation all on its own), I often internalize my decision-making. Given other limitations, you can probably see how that's turning away from an incredibly valuable resource: other people. A second set of eyes and ears on the problem may just be what you need in order to bring clarity to the decision-making process. Everyone carries a unique perspective, and asking someone else for help may provide some of those additional possibilities you may not have been aware of in the first place. I'm really learning that it's absolutely worth the time to do so!