It was Elbert Hubbard who said:
“It does not take much strength to do things, but it requires a great deal of strength to decide what to do.”
Indecision is the root of failure.
The failure to make a choice leads to a failure to act. And there has never been results without action.
All of us are victims to indecision at one time or the other. For many of us, it is a daily battle. Even when it comes to matters so trivial, we sometimes end up failing to make a decision.
The worst part is when our failure to make a choice takes an opportunity away from us. It is okay if we had grabbed it and then failed to get results even after putting everything in to it. Your conscience will rest knowing that you have done your part. But when you lose an opportunity because you waited too long, because you were not bold enough to take a decision, your conscience will have hard time reconciling with it, to get over the regret.
So what makes it so hard for us to decide?
The seed of indecision is choice.
Sometimes we have too many choices for the way ahead that it becomes hard for us to decide which one to take up. Each one looks wonderful on its own that we are afraid to take up any one choice and end up losing the benefits of the other choices.
Other times, and in most cases, it is a matter of only 2 alternatives. Yet we find it hard to choose one amongst them. This happens often when the choices are equally good.
Every choice will have its own set of benefits. If the benefits were comparable, then it would be easier for one to choose. The problem arises when the benefits are not comparable.
For example, suppose you were given an alternative of working from a desolate place, but with a heavy paycheck and of working from a beautiful country side location with fresh air, but with a much leaner paycheck.
The choice of Money vs Happiness is a common cause of indecisiveness.
Another very common difficult choice is that of Instant needs vs Purpose. It happens when you are faced with two conflicting choices, one which will solve your current problems and one which best aligns with what you consider to be your purpose, your true calling.
Again the choices need not have the biggest effects on your life to be tough. Even small choices like buying a shirt can be hard even if the alternatives are equally good or bad.
So how do we get over the indecision phase and make a choice?
These choices are not called hard without reason. It is indeed hard to make decisions at times.
Yet, the first thing you must do is to look at the possible effects of not taking any decision.
You’ll most likely see that indecision can cause you even more distress than if you go through with one of the choices. That understanding of the harmful effects of your failure to decide can be your biggest motivator in going ahead with making a choice.
Another method is to bounce your choices off your principles.
In most of the cases when people are faced with difficult choices, they make their choices based on their principles on life.
Most of the time, this action happens subconsciously and the person might not be aware of what influenced his decision. If you learn to phrase your principles in your mind, like a personal mantra, then this action can be consciously performed, the benefit being added clarity to the decision and lesser regrets.
Here is a popular Ted talk on how to make hard choices:
Accept the consequences
One of the qualities of a refined individual is the ability to accept the consequences of his or her choices.
You can never expect every choice you make to be right, all the time. Yet the only way to make more correct decisions is to gain the experience of making decisions.
As far as you have applied your principles to your decisions and as long as you made the choice because the cost of indecision was higher, you can rest your conscience. As we gain more wisdom with our life experiences, our principles are ought to change and so are our decisions.
So there is nothing called a right decision even from the perspective of an individual. A choice made at the age of 20 might seem so stupid when looked back at the age of 60, but then if it was your conscious choice, there is no room for regret.
These choices, small ones, simple ones and hard ones alike make the mix for all the possibilities in our lives and our role as the protagonist of our life is to keep the ball rolling. So don’t let your fears get in your way of making choices.
Good or bad, all the experiences in life add up to its beauty and in the end, you are only going to regret the decisions you didn’t make.
P.S. If you would like to learn more about making choices, I recommend you watch the videos in this playlist.
Image Courtesy: Matthew