Just Take Action, and Fix It Later
The key to stop worrying about making decisions is to just move forward into doing them
I had a revelation the other day when I was helping a colleague who was stuck on a large work issue. He knew he had to make a decision and take the next step, but was paralyzed as to how to go about it.
Or perhaps it was more an issue of confidence…What would happen if it were the wrong one, and it wasted time and resources? It would take a long time to recover, if at all, so there was a sense of paralysis that halted all progress.
This reminded me of the lack of confidence that sometimes occurs when one faces a once-in-a-lifetime decision.
These super-important decisions seem to come along once or twice in a blue moon, leading people to freeze in the terror of needing to decide but being unable to make a tough call. Should I do x, y or z?
You know, like selecting a college. Getting married. Having a child. Moving for a job. Publishing their first story.
How do you feel when facing a once-in-a-lifetime event?
The Truth About Once-in-a-Lifetime Events
Ready for the truth? Everything we do is the first time we do it.
You go to work the same way each day, right? Well, it may be a similar path, but it is not exactly the same. There are different people around, different weather conditions, you have different thoughts in your head, etc.
In other words, remember those words of that ancient Greek dude Heraclitus, who said you cannot step in the same river twice? Yeah, that one, who questioned how things flow and hold together in the universe?
We think we do the same thing every day, but life’s magic topiary reveals something more diverse each day than we often acknowledge.
We may repeat actions, but there are always differences.
Consider this as I type these words. I typed words yesterday, and on the surface for somebody who cannot read, or perhaps chooses not to read what I wrote then, it may all look the same. However, look a little more closely, and it will be clear this is something a bit different. It may relate to what I did yesterday, but the content and intentions and experiences are different.
On the surface, the same. Though with intention, it is different.
This is not to flatten or oversimplify complex or difficult choices — far from it. If anything, I find it a comfort that our big decisions can be somewhat diffused from anxiety by removing the once-in-a-lifetime awe that sometimes comes with it.
Think about it, if we make the wrong decision, our life will be over. Remove some of the drama by thinking about how one choice today is only one choice today. All things we do are done anew and for the first time.
What Action Did He Take?
Back to my colleague… the one who was so afraid of making a decision, lest it be the wrong one. Remember?
He was paralyzed into taking action, and I suggested he simply choose and move on. Try it out. If it does not work, then stop and choose again.
After all, it is not unlike selecting the wrong college… something will be learned and you will have new experiences, yet you can always leave. The future always has new opportunities.
And it is not like getting married… you can always get divorced if nothing can be resolved. The future always has new opportunities.
Moving for a job? Yeah, I suppose you can always quit it or move again or find another one, right? The future always has new opportunities.
The point is, sometimes decisions sit with us like they are life and death, and, well, very few of them are. They are choices that need to be made and then action taken. You can always change later as the future always holds more opportunities than the past.
My colleague did take one course of action, and while it did not work out as he intended, it did put him in the right place at the right time that would never have happened otherwise. That led to new opportunities and a much brighter place than he ever imagined as he was stuck in place at the time.
Everything We Do Is The First Time We Do It
Just take an action. Do something and move on.
Of course, be as informed as possible. Do your planning. Consider alternatives.
But for the love of all, then take the action and move on. You just may be surprised how often things work out for the best.
At least you will learn something in the process and the experience itself. Who knows, it may just work out better than you imagined…
How have you experienced this, namely that the future always has new opportunities?