Fun fact: The above quote is not a Tony Soprano/David Chase original but is originally attributed to Marcus Tullius Cicero who said:
More is lost by indecision than wrong decision. Indecision is the thief of opportunity. It will steal you blind.
The most pernicious effect of procrastination is wasted time. A great way to procrastinate is by wallowing in one’s indecision or flip-flopping between conflicting decisions and never committing to either.
To decide, from the Latin decider, literally “to cut off”. When you make a decision you are cutting yourself off from a myriad of alternative possibilities. This is why making decisions can be daunting, especially in proportion to the potential impact it will have on your life.
The only failure is quitting. Everything else is just gathering information.
- Jen Sincero, author of You are a Badass
The illusion of infinite choices can be detrimental, one can spend a lifetime frozen by analysis paralysis. We can resist making decisions for fear of making the wrong choices. We can try to do everything. Either will assure that nothing gets done. You were born into a specific set of circumstances, embrace your constraints and build from them. Learn from your mistakes.
Indecision is one of the most popular tricks for staying stuck within the boundaries of what’s safe and familiar. Which is why a common trait of successful people is that they make decisions quickly and change them slowly.
- Jen Sincero
The important thing is to build a habit of immediately facing the decision making process, rather than stressing about knowing exactly what to do the second a decision presents itself. Here are several tips for building your “decision making muscles”:
● Develop a habit of making decisions quickly, starting with little things.
● Set time constraints for making decisions.
● Once you’ve committed to a decision, stick with it. Don’t negotiate with or undermine yourself.
I’ll leave you with an example: you’re picking a movie on your streaming service of choice. Don’t spend two hours trying to optimize for the “best” possible selection. Give yourself ten minutes to decide. Follow your intuition, or a trusted recommendation, and commit to your decision. Even if you end up hating it, you can now think about why you hated it. You now have this experience to draw from the next time you’re deciding what to watch.