For many, making a decision is an arduous, painful and agonizing process. Why is it so difficult for someone to make a decision? What makes this process of making a decision or decisions so painfully hard?
There are few factors that can impact someone's capacity, confidence, ability, and comfort level to JUST DECIDE and MAKE A DECISION.
Difficulty in making decisions can be attributed to the following:
Self-doubt or low confidence
Over researching for the "right" answer or trying to 'avoid' the wrong answer.
Fear Outcome of the Decision
How many of you can relate to being anxious around needing to make the 'right or the safest' decision? This leaves many trying to seek out from others or within yourself the best options to 'play it safe' in the decision-making process. This might look like:
"Is this the right decision…"
"What would you do…."
"Do you like this or not…."
"I really don't know what I should do?"
Being stuck in the search for inner safety through seeking out the safest decision can easily paralyze one's ability to actually make the decision. The more decision options one seeks out, the more confused, overwhelmed, and fearful this type of person can become. All options have some dimension of a positive and negative component to them, but the fearful decision maker only sees the negative outcome within option, creating always more fears, especially for example there may be five option to your decision, and yet all your brain sees and processes are the many negative aspects of all five options, with less emphasis on the positives.
Learning to become mindful and strengthening the prefrontal cortex would shift the anxious state, which generally lowers the activation of the fear response from being triggered and then derailing the mind. Mindfulness can strengthen the brain's ability to vets out distractions and reactive responses from fear and allows the brain to make more grounded decisions. Without this type of training, the brain is likely to remain "reactive", "rigid" and negatively 'fixed' in being "stuck" in the indecision mode.
Over researching for the "right" answer or trying to 'avoid' the wrong answer
The more you research, and research and research and then google search, and then call all your friends and then try to measure all findings to weigh out your decision, in hopes of avoiding the 'wrong' decision leads to the 'crippling effect'.
The first thing you need to let go of is 'outcome', and especially your crystal ball to search out the 'worst outcome decision'. Doesn't it make sense to stop making decisions for what you don't want and shift your decision-making process to WHAT YOU WANT instead. What would it be like to make decisions for what you really want rather than what you do not want to see happen. How would this shift your decision making process for you?
Self-Doubt & Low Confidence
Listen, sometimes people believe that there is a wrong and a right answer to be found. Approaching decision-making through the lens of a "right" and a 'wrong" answer leads people to remain stuck in searching for which option is the 'right' or 'most right' answer.
Here's a novel thought - What would it mean to you if you know that just because there are choices and options, it does not mean that there is a wrong choice, but instead whatever decision you make will lead to its own pathway. When you are stuck between two decisions - it's important to realize that neither decision is wrong, but instead just different. Your ability to build the resources, environment, and plan around either of the two options is what matters. Each path for both optional decisional choices can lead to a different journey, with equal amounts of learning and new growth regardless as to what each outcome will look like.
Low confidence and esteem
Have you ever felt not capable to making a decision? Was the paralysis of the decision triggered out of the fear that making the decision will result in something 'bad' happening. You might feel incapable of making a decision to 'protect' yourself, trying to keep yourself safe, leading to the internal fear response alarm system going off in your head - warning you that you are inadequate to make sound safe decisions. The more you become paralyzed from lacking confidence and belief to make a decision, the more you will experience thoughts and feelings of low self-confidence. It just becomes a big downhill rolling snowball getting bigger and bigger of self-doubt.
How about this thought! Start to 'act as if' I can make decisions. 'Act as if'….there is nothing to worry about and 'whatever decision I make will be the right decision.' "I can make this decision and regardless, I will be fine…and after making this decision, I can make other decisions regardless." Learning to make decisions on your own is what builds esteem, confidence and self-efficacy, which is the belief in yourself to be able to make your own decisions and stand by them!
Get Rid of 'Perfectionism"
Being a perfectionist make decision making at times impossible. You just sit and over think and over think…..it's exhausting to do this. It leads to a form of decision fatigue, impairing your ability to make an actual decision. With any situation, there is more than one way to an outcome and within the situation, there are many routes and decision-making options to an outcome. It is not about making the perfect decision for every situation, it's more about making a decision, and letting it lead you to your next step and allowing the process to be more important than the decision.
Become a master decision-maker by:
Lower your expectations and understand that nothing is PERFECT and all decisions have positive and negative aspects to them.
Minimize or reduce your options to a few and set a time limit for how long you will ponder your decision. Don't defer making the decision endlessly
Minimize obsessive ongoing google searches or ask every known person connected to you as to what to do.
Become spontaneous - maybe even impulsive and just GO FOR IT…..make any decision. Flip a coin, draw straws, play rock paper scissors.
Limit your "Reading Reviews" - this can be traumatizing, paralyzing and leading to more doubt and questioning yourself. Just filter out the highest reviews and decide!
Decisions are like a menu…if you're going to eat, you need to decide off the menu or you'll starve.
Remember, more in-depth thinking doesn't lead to a better outcome, just wasted time in an anxious state.
If a decision doesn't work out - that does not mean it was the wrong decision. It just means you've ruled that decision out and now you can move on to your next opportunity to make another decision. Always remember, you cannot plan for the unexpected, so work with it when it arises and accept that this is just a part of the process in all decision-making situations.