Decision Making a Mystery?

When it has come to making decisions, I ruminate about each and every one to the point where I talk myself out of making any significant changes to my life. When I was young, decisions were pretty much made for me and I was such an obligatory child that I did what I was told without question or input. One such example is when my family and I would go out to a restaurant. I would look over the menu for 20 minutes, unable to decide on a choice. Over time, this became such a normal part of my behavior that my parents were considerably patient. I would always end up ordering something exotic that I had never had before, like a pesto dressed linguine or many times, boiled shrimp for some reason.

I would be warned by my mother that my selection I would not like, but I was allowed to order it anyway, perhaps because the lengthy indecision was at least over and the rest of my family could finally order. Typically, I never liked what I ordered. I love pesto now and also love trying new recipies, but at such a young age, I suppose my palate wasn’t developed enough. So my mom and I would trade plates. And the cocktail shrimp thing – well this was not done out of spite, however, but I would get my platter of seafood and look at the vein left in the shrimp. I refused to eat this unappealing dish time and time again. So ususally I would eat of everyone else’s plate.

Now I know that deveining a shrimp is the correct preparation, but back in the early 80’s restaurants didn’t do this, at least not the ones I was taken to.

But as I’ve gotten older, my difficulty with making decisions has thwarted many attempts to change. You could say that I was born this way, with decision-making a lacking skill or perhaps it’s just natural and comfortable to keep the status quo. Yet I desire change. I know that I want to be confident in my decisions so that I may grow and move forward. Obviously, life is filled with decision-making in practically everything we do. But some of us, like me, can sort out the right from the wrong.

There is not only an internal influence at play, but external influences can bog us down. Do you know why? Because those around you are also afraid of you changing. Then they will have to adapt to a new you. They want to keep the status quo as much as your brain does.

To overcome the seemingly limitless choices you can make and deciding on a plan of action, you must first realize that it’s not going to come floating out of the sky, that it’s not going to be easy at all and that your anxiety may try and keep you down, maintaining the homeostasis that ultimately your brain seeks.

Seem like an overwhelming thing to tackle? Of course it is, if you are anything like me. So here are a few helpful tips on getting your feet moving in a direction you are confident in:

  1. Be confident in your choice. This will come out in how you express it to others and you will see that they will naturally become more confident in you (at least this is what we hope for.)
  2. Don’t tell your big change decisions to those you cannot trust. If that means telling no one, then keep it to yourself.
  3. Remember that you’ve probably dealt with indecision or been called mercurial (every changing) all your life. It’s not going to be easy to be totally comfortable at first with big decisions.
  4. Once you’ve gotten to a point of making a decision and following through with action, then let trusted people know about it. It will help keep you accountable.
  5. Realize that you’ve got to move out of your comfort zone to grow. Again, it may be distressful I’m sorry to say.
  6. Use your anxiety to a useful purpose and treat it as the energy you need to keep going.
  7. And the last thing is, visualize the outcome. Make it as big as you want. I would suggest making it a little above what you think your capable of. Visualization is a powerful tool that you can come back to. It’s your soul and will anchor you in times of worry about finalizing that decision or even change that you’ve been putting off for so very long.

I do hope that any one of you struggling with indecision finds this post useful and shines a light on the curious nature of indecision – coming from your brain’s natural instinct and external influences selfish desires, as confusing you, making you question yourself and keeping you stuck.

Do something every day that brings you closer to your goal and keep visualizing yourself moving in unfamiliar territory. I will admit, it is still a learning process for me to sort out the tangled mess of decision-making, but like any skill, practice makes perfect.

Please share with me your thoughts on this topic. Your hopes and dreams, big or small, I would love to hear about. Until later, I thank you all for your attention. Best!

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