“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.
I haven’t written a blog article for some time now. Coming close to a year.
But I decided to come back because I miss being able to find a topic I want to talk about, giving my take and reading your response’s to it.
It took some time for me to decide to start writing on here again. The reason being I was putting too much pressure on wondering if it would be the right move or not.
I recently read an article in Psychology Today that I believe detailed why it was hard for me to come back and why I stressed on the idea so much.
The article was titled, “The Stress of Making the Right Choice.”
It talked about how we can become satisfied with our choices in life depending on our decision-making style.
The takeaway was that we become stressed over decisions we have to make only when we become overly concerned with the possible outcomes and hope we get the one we are working for.
With that being said, I made the connection that in some cases it’s better to just try and see what happens. Then you can decide whether to stay or leave the path you have taken.
The alternate, thinking through choices with much more time backing the decision might, in turn, take more time and stress than just going for one of the options regardless of believing you have made the right choice.
The Perfect Move Doesn’t Exist
The only way a perfect move would exist is if we somehow understood determinism to another dimensional level and could make out exactly what will happen with one decision.
Maybe this is because we do think things through and make decisions and use that as evidence that everything should be thought through with plenty of time.
But these decisions we are making are more subtle and quick.
A short and properly thought through decision might look like this.
- I want to go out to eat today and get something from my favorite restaurant
- If I don’t go out, I will save some money
- My friends and I have gone out for drinks these past couple weekends
- This weekend, we will probably do the same thing
- I should not go out to eat today
Figuring all of that out is an easy and quick decision.
The problem comes when the stakes are higher and we replace the simple split-second decisions with doubts and “what if’s”.
- What if we don’t go out for drinks? Then I will have extra money.
- Maybe I should use that money now to assure I get something I want if we don’t get drinks.
- What if I get sick and don’t go out regardless, will I use the money for medicine?
These thoughts, while ridiculous, will seem much more like real thoughts when you replace the possible meal and going out with friends with things like job opportunities, big purchases, etc.
The bigger decisions we think need more thought, and sometimes they do. But overthinking will eventually lead us to make a decision with a backing that sounds ridiculous later on.
What might be a counter-argument to this is “Those decisions do require more time because more is on the line.”
But more being on the line doesn’t mean thinking through further ahead and looking at every single possible outcome will benefit your choice.
Take buying a car for an example. Replicating the above bullets, the thought process might look like this.
- I need a way to get around town and to work
- My current car is starting to fall apart and needs a lot of maintenance
- I have some money saved up and can buy a new car
- The new car will benefit me and bring me happiness so I should get it
Now add in the possible doubts and “what if’s”.
- What if I get into an accident after a few weeks and have to pay more?
- Maybe I should wait for the newer model.
- How do I know that I’m not about to get laid off and can’t afford the car?
They’re reasonable questions, but thinking through all of them takes a lot of effort. Effort that might not be expended for an easier decision like going out to eat.
It’s a bigger purchase so it does require more thought. But the doubts and what if’s end up making the decisions a lot harder than, “Do I want the car? Yes”.
Don’t make the decision, make a decision
For decisions, big or small, we know what we want to choose and but we don’t know the doubts we have might be very unreasonable.
The anxiety that comes from bigger decisions comes from a place of pressure to make the perfect choice.
Consequences are what we end up thinking about that make decisions harder. But dealing with consequences is a lot more black and white than the initial decision.
There is no proper way to predict the future. There is none at all. And the smaller decisions have smaller consequences that don’t even cross our minds when we make decisions.
At the very end of it all, two people out there have been in your position. One has made one choice, and the other, the alternate choice. Their consequences were controlled by almost all external forces and yours will be the same way.
Thinking about the possibilities of what could happen does not help the decision become easier. It only brings pressure when a decision is made.
So make a decision, move on and worry about the consequences, not when but if they come. Until then, save yourself some time and don’t make the perfect decision, make a decision.