How to Reduce Anxiety Through Decisiveness

Michael Weeks
Absolute Zero
Published in
5 min readAug 1, 2019

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Anxiety-inducing menu

Often we find ourselves deciding. And most of us loathe decisions. Which restaurant will we eat at? What job will we take?

We live in a world where we’re constantly bombarded with messages, ads, and information, so our default reaction has become to ignore everything. No more decisions, order a pizza for the night and stay in to watch TV. Stay put in our current job because we’re too scared to take a risk.

It’s why there are more employees than employers/entrepreneurs in the world. It’s why the business of convenience, services, and simplicity have become so big. Netflix, UberEats, Tax Accountants, and the list goes on.

We’re so deep into it that we’re under the false illusion that no decision is better than any decision these days. It’s why call to actions (like time limits) are put on buying products. The world wants us to make decisions, businesses want us to make decisions, and our significant others want decisions.

Whole Foods

How did Whole Foods end up here? For some reason, every time I tell someone I go to Whole Foods, they immediately feel the need to explain to me why they don’t go to Whole Foods (it’s too pricey). Personally, I disagree. It costs just as much for 80% of the items in the store and the quality is significantly higher (no I don’t work for Whole Foods).

So why do I actually go to Whole Foods? It’s less decisions. I can trust Whole Foods to curate a few, quality options for each category. I don’t want 50 different options for BBQ sauce. Give me the one quality option so I can get the hell out of the store quicker. It helps you and it helps me.

It’s clean, it’s organized, and there’s no foul play. I can easily discern what I need.

When I go to most other grocery stores I feel bombarded. Anywhere they can stick a product they do it and I absolutely hate it. Huge discount tags overlapping each other “BUY 1 GET 1 FREE, SAVE 50 CENTS IN VALUE”. It’s hell.

More decisions are not better! Less decisions are increasingly getting better.

Seriously, who likes this?

Less Decisions Over Everything

People are exhausted, they take a hiatus and they never come back. We need to come back but we’re running low on patience and we don’t know how to return.

We forget how much ‘why’ matters. The ‘why’ is the reason you do anything at all. You support a family, you fight for those in need, or maybe you believe in something bigger than the industry default.

We must remind ourselves that the difficult decisions are the ones that bear the most fruit. The most difficult decisions today typically create an easier future tomorrow and vice versa. The hardest decisions save us the most time and heartbreak even if we don’t think we can handle the pain of the present.

Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.

So it makes us question the very demonization of decisions to begin with.

Don’t forget what the root of making hard decisions brought you. There was a reason why, a reason behind everything and you let the world’s decisions ware you out.

Instead, look for better ways to manage indecision hell. When a decision comes your way, stick with your gut feeling and mission and decide. Startups win with speed, not clairvoyance.

Perfect SAT score

Perfection is the Enemy

Make decisions faster. Make actions faster. Especially if you’re a perfectionist. Quality doesn’t matter if you make one version of something because your first version of anything will most likely suck.

Quality (as much as I love it) usually means sitting around theorizing about perfection. It evaporates into thin air. True quality is found through countless repetitions, practice, and applying feedback.

Instead, aim for repetitions. How many times will you metaphorically ‘shoot the ball’? Always shoot your shot in life. Ask the person of your dreams out, inquire about the discount, and always go the extra mile to get what you deserve.

An amateur avoids mistakes. A master is someone who has made mistakes until they can’t make them any more.

Level up unapologetically. Other opinions don’t matter. There will always be a dissenting opinion so you might as well do what’s worthwhile.

Do famous photographers take one picture and call it a day? Professional golfers hit thousands of balls a day to be able to win with the fewest strokes in a tournament.

When you see life through this lens, your actions change. You start setting up systems and structure to support you putting in the reps. Focus on the work behind your goals and measure it. Better yet, have someone else hold you accountable for it.

The results will always shock you. What decisions will you make today that will bring you a different tomorrow? One more in line with your aspirations. It could be to add $1,000 a month to your salary or it could be to take your parents on a trip to Italy.

Decisions, as much as we may hate them, determine everything. We just have to spend our time on the ones that matter. Cut out the noise and spend the time on what matters most to you.

The things you dislike about life may very well begin to evaporate. What will you do with your newfound time?

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