Thursday, April 10, 2008

Difficult Decisions

Sometimes when you need to make a big decision…YOU CAN’T! You are paralyzed with indecision. You think and think, you moan and groan. You ask your friends what they think and every one tells you something different and everything sounds right, and then wrong.

How do you decide the really big stuff when it seems impossible to decide. Should I marry him? Should I leave her? Should I move to Montana simply because I like it there? Should I go to this graduate school or take that job? Not to mention all the serious issues you will be confronted with about health, relationships and money.

Here are some thoughts that have helped me and now, maybe you.

The power of a pencil and paper. Write things down. Make lists. Sometimes the simple fact of committing things to paper can help you to see them more calmly and clearly. Writing things down reduces the question at hand -- to facts, to visual and quantifiable things. Instead of lots of emotions swirling around, you can look at the words in black and white. Write a list of pros and cons. Make a list of your feelings, your fears, your expectations, a list of why and why not’s. Writing things down is such a simple concept that we often overlook because you think, how can this possibly help? But it does. Try it.

Letting go. When a big decision is absolutely paralyzing, sometimes it helps to stop trying to force an answer. Focusing so hard on a problem can make the answer even more elusive. So, stop.

Instead, focus on the details of your daily life, and it is entirely possible that the big answer will float up to you and make itself marvelously clear. Instead of obsessing about the issue at hand, think about what to cook for dinner. What you need to prepare for the meeting tomorrow. About taking your car to be serviced. About what to do this weekend. What to bake for the church sale. Calling the dentist for an appointment. Cutting the grass.

By not focusing so much on the big question at hand, you are giving the answer some space to make itself known. You open your heart to receive the answer. “Of course!” you will suddenly realize as you fold the laundry. “Yes!” you will say as you walk the dog. Letting go so that the decision can float to you is sometimes the only way forward.

Making no decision is sometimes a good decision. It takes the pressure off. Not yes, not no. Not you, not me. Making no decision leaves you open to all options. It gives you the space to see the answer.

Worst Case Scenario. When in doubt, you can always fall back on the model of “worst case scenario” to free you from the fear of making a mistaken decision. Say, “What is the worst thing that will happen if I do this?” Fully understanding the consequences and the worst possible outcome, can free you to take a risk more comfortably.

In the end, there is really no such thing as a mistake in life, just a life well lived with all its twists and turns, ups and downs, and righting yourself as you bobble in the water.

1 comment:

mayajuliana said...

Once again, great advice that I don't practice nearly as often as I should, especially the "letting go" part. Keep it coming, E!