In any moment of decision the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing. Theodore Roosevelt
Over the past few months, I’ve been helping a client select new carpet for her home. It’s been a stressful process because she’s been unable to make a decision. With endless color, material, pattern and quality options, she fell into a state of anxiety — fearful that if she selected something, she’d miss out on something “out there” that might be a better fit. Even with a budget and professional help, she’s elected to stay in a state of indecision.
I talked to her about the benefit of making a choice and moving on with the rest of her home renovation project. Eventually, we agreed upon a carpet selection and ordered it. I left hoping she felt some relief. A few hours later, she emailed me and said that she’d called and cancelled the order. I respected her decision, but knew we would have to start the deliberation process all over again – which would not only add to her existing stress, but also prohibit her from making other decisions for her home.
If you put off everything ‘till you’re sure of it, you’ll get nothing done. Norman Vincent Peale
Our lives are chock-full of choices, options and possibilities. Too many options often render us motionless – causing us stress and keeping us stuck in our own indecision.
Why is it so challenging for us to decide? Patterns of perfectionism and procrastination certainly play a part. We deliberate, evaluation, assess, analyze, solicit the opinions of others – and often stay in the “process” far longer than necessary because we desperately want to get it “right.” While there is definitely value in weighing our options, there is also immense value in choosing. Whether we get it right or wrong, the act of making a decision is empowering in itself.
How are you using indecision to add stress to your life? Are you postponing something you need to address? Are you creating drama where it could be avoided? Or, do you truly need to gather more information?
As the Emperor Napoleon said, “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”