Life is full of opportunities to make decisions that steer the future, moment by moment. Yet, instead of feeling excitement for such opportunities, sometimes fear takes over. We’re so afraid to do the wrong thing. Making a decision requires strength. It’s not always easy to exhibit strength when you’re feeling weak, in a moment of crisis or as anxiety is gripping your senses challenging you to either give in to it or fight back.
Your survival depends on you and how well you protect and defend yourself, and sometimes how well you fake it until you make it. “Faking it” may conjure up negative connotations, but sometimes taking a position or acting as if your strength is fully present can be just like putting on a coat. Try it on and see how it fits. If you don’t like it, you can take it off. Deepak Chopra, author of The Book of Secrets: Unlocking the Hidden Dimensions of Your Life, wrote, “If you obsess over whether you are making the right decision, you are basically assuming that the universe will reward you for one thing and punish you for another. The universe has no fixed agenda. Once you make any decision, it works around that decision. There is no right or wrong, only a series of possibilities that shift with each thought, feeling, and action that you experience.”
Chopra suggests putting theory aside to look at the facts. “…Every significant vital sign- body temperature, heart rate, oxygen consumption, hormone level, brain activity, and so on- alters the moment you decide to do anything… decisions are signals telling your body, mind, and environment to move in a certain direction.”
Could it be as easy as checking in with your state of being to know whether or not you’re doing the right thing? The answer is yes. Try these things to test yourself.
- Play the tape forward. True fact: We often overthink decisions when thought is not always the best gauge. However, if you find yourself attempting to decide using facts, figures and guestimates about what the future will become if you choose either A or B, try this. Visualize yourself a week post-decision. What has happened? See yourself in your mind’s eye behaving as if you made your choice and now must stick with it. Do you regret it? If it’s still not clear, do the same with the alternative, but try to play it like a movie in your mind and see and attempt to feel whatever you might feel under those circumstances.
- Forgive yourself. For what? You may make the “wrong” choice, it’s true. Face that fact and then realize the world won’t likely come to an end if you do. Self-judgment can often be worse than what we do to ourselves. Why not give yourself the break you deserve? Forgive yourself in advance for making whatever decision you make.
- Give yourself credit. Before you even make your decision, you’re either coming from a place of strength or weakness. Choose strength. Know that you already know what the “right” thing is. Know that you are intelligent enough to follow your instincts and trust your own judgment.
- Meet in the middle. Sometimes the answer is somewhere between A and B, or a combination of both. You want to use a combination of common sense, gut instinct, and past experience to figure out what to do.
- Don’t panic. Timing is everything, so take your time. Regardless of how many people may be waiting for your decision, don’t let them rush you. RIGHT NOW may not be the right time to make a choice. If you are that uncertain about which way to turn, perhaps it’s because you don’t have enough facts, the right figures, the right experience, or simply don’t have enough time to think rationally. Don’t be in a hurry to make a decision you’ll regret. Slow down.
- Abandon the issue. What? I can’t do that! I’m already late with this decision! Temporarily abandon the issue. Put it out of your mind and instead exercise your mindfulness skills. Relax and go from one moment to the next realizing that you have the power to change things. Pay attention to your breathing. Slow it down. Know that you will come to the right decision at the right time. The truth can take time to reveal itself. Have patience with yourself.