The pain of (not) making a decision

The pain of making a decision is often harder than the result of making it.

Recently I’ve had to make several big decisions in life, of different natures, with different consequences.

One of these decisions was whether to go on holiday or not. A big holiday. It’d be expensive, but it’d also be the holiday of a lifetime. A lot could happen in the time between my decision and the holiday, let alone whether I would be able to find the money. These, amongst other reasons, were making the decision really difficult.

I ummed and ahhed about it for weeks — for months maybe! The anxiety grew, as did the pressure to make a decision. Then, one day, I just booked it. All of a sudden the pressure went away and I could enjoy the build up what would be a really positive experience in my life. The anxiety wasn’t from the thought of taking a month off work and spending all that money. The anxiety was just in making the decision.

In a different experience, I had to decide whether to quit my job or not. Months went by of weighing up the options; doing the maths; asking hundreds of “what if”s and “maybe”s. It was crushing. It’s possibly the hardest decision I have had to make. There was so much uncertainty and plenty of risk. I drove myself to the point of feeling ill. Then, one day, I just decided to quit. All the risk and uncertainty remained, but none of the pain was there anymore.

Quite often big decisions can occupy too much of our minds, and, in some cases, even make us ill with worry. But the best thing we can do is just decide, then our minds can turn to planning what will happen next.

The pain of making a decision can be worse than the outcome. Just decide.