“The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision” -Maimonides
I just finished a mini-makeover for my hall bathroom-new flooring, baseboards and toilet. The labor took little more than a day. Selecting the flooring took several weeks. In the end, I chose the pattern I preferred on day one. Thank goodness I had the deadline of impending company forcing me to make up my mind. If not, I might still be comparing floor samples.
I don’t think of myself as indecisive, but as I chide myself for wasting weeks choosing the flooring, I have to be honest. When buying my house, I gave myself two years to research. After a year and a half of looking at houses, my husband had had enough. Within a week we bought a house we’d seen on the first day of looking. It has truly become home.
When I was ready to get rid of my minivan, I waffled for seven years because nothing stood out as the one car that was right for me. I finally went to an end-of-year sale at a local dealership and bought the best deal I could find. I’m still glad I did.
Friday is my favorite day to dress for work. On the other weekdays, I choose a blouse and pair of pants and hope that it passes as professional attire. But on Friday it’s spirit day and everyone wears the school shirt. No decision to make!
“Once I make up my mind, I’m full of indecision.” -Oscar Levant
So it seems that indecision comes from fear of choosing the wrong option. I want all the information before I make a final commitment, but how will I know when I have it all? What if I decide and then find out that I’m wrong? Perhaps waiting a little longer will uncover a better choice. At what point does weighing options give way to over-thinking the issue? Such are my thoughts when trying to decide.
I’ve had no trouble telling others, especially my children, how to make decisions:
- Do whatever research you can.
- Weigh the pros and cons.
- Decide and be ready to live with the consequences of the choice.
- Nothing is set in stone however, so make changes as you go along.
“May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” -Nelson Mandela
Of course, these simplified steps do not take into consideration other factors that muddy the waters of clear decision-making.
While long delays are undesirable, decisions can definitely be made too quickly. We’ve all watched people, young or old, charge into an impulsive endeavor and cringed while we waited for them to come to their senses. Sometimes it was a relationship; other times it was a get-rich-quick scheme. In any case, it sounded too good to be true and was.
Perhaps my delays are simply over-the-top attempts to be sure I am making wise, thought out conclusions. As Elvis sang, “only fools rush in.” I don’t want to make uninformed decisions or pick an option for the wrong reasons.
There is not always one singular correct choice. In many instances there are several viable options. Any number of cars, houses, or appliances would fit into my lifestyle. Even where to live or what career path to follow may have a variety of answers. Decision is really just committing to one path and following through.
I have also come to understand that not every decision needs to be made. I’ve accepted that some issues are larger than me or are not for me to determine. Can we really be sure about controversial theologies? Do we ever know exactly what is in another’s heart? I do not always have a knowledge base large enough to come to a wise conclusion; and I’ve given myself permission to abstain from deciding in such cases.
So I leave you, dear reader, with advice that I hope I heed. When faced with a decision that must be made: weigh your options, say a prayer and take the plunge.
“Indecision is often worse than wrong action.” -Henry Ford