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Dan Silcox
Dan Silcox

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Making positive decisions

Do you ever suffer from Analysis Paralysis? Whether it's on big life decisions like whether to take a particular job, or on the smaller things like what to have for dinner, it can be really frustrating to yourself and to others dependent on your decision when you are seemingly stuck in this loop:

"If I do X then A B C could happen, but wait... if I do Y then D E F could happen which is just as bad... So I should do X... but wait then A B C could happen..." (...forever...)

A friend once described the solution to this with the following analogy which I'm going to shamelessly copy:

It's easier to steer a moving car

I really like this analogy because it's so true - have you ever tried to 'dry-steer' your car? It's way more difficult to turn those wheels, and damaging to the tyres potentially, compared with just heading in a direction and adjusting course on the way.

Once you make a decision to move forward, it's inherently a positive decision - you are moving forward! You're not going backwards or standing still - and you will either win (i.e. you made the 'right' decision) or you will learn from whatever decision you took. But at least you made a decision!

Now don't get me wrong - analysis itself is actually a good thing - jumping head first into a decision (big ones at least) can be catastrophic without knowing the context, the facts surrounding the decision, the impacts of your choice on your life and others' lives, etc. I'm by no means saying skip that step. I'm simply saying that once you've scoped out the impact of, say two options that are more or less equally weighted, that is - two options that are basically both OK, but neither is perfect or an out-and-out choice, just pick one.

Most of the time, you can change your mind later anyway.

Have confidence in your own decision making - for sure, do your analysis - don't go in blind. But once you've got some basis for a decision, just make one!

One practical tip that I've learnt is to use 'pseudo-chance' to help others make these kinds of decisions:

  • Assign 'heads' to one decision and 'tails' to the other, and flip a coin
  • When they see what the coin is telling them to do, if they're subconsciously leaning in the same direction as the coin, or genuinely have no particular preference either way, they will just go with it
  • If however they are subconsciously leaning in the opposite direction, this will likely become clear and they'll deviate from the coin's 'decision'

Can you relate to this? Or do you have any other tips to help those who can? Why not provide them in the comments below?

Top comments (1)

zeslova profile image
Simon Newby

Roll, then direct. Build then correct. Worst case you get a new car / fork and do over.

But you still made the journey.