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Overcoming decision paralysis



We often get paralyzed when we have to make decisions. What is the best option before me? What if I make a wrong decision? These thoughts stop us from making decisions from the mundane to the vital ones. We suffer from decision paralysis and often postpone decision making itself. Not making a decision is also a decision and there can be a cost for it. This is something we don’t realize. We erroneously believe not making a decision is playing safe. There could be a price to pay for not making a decision in time. If I have to take a medical test and I am not able to decide whether to do it or not and keep postponing the decision I may be making a mistake. A quicker decision to take the test could lead to finding and solving a medical problem earlier.


One way to overcome this paralysis is to understand if our decisions are reversible or irreversible. The actions that cannot be easily reversed we can term them as irreversible decisions. Quitting a job, formalizing a relationship, dissolving an existing relationship through a divorce, buying a property with a big investment, Shifting geographically, having children, adopting a pet are all decisions that are difficult to reverse once the action is taken. Difficult, not impossible. So it is wise to take such decisions after a lot of thought and consultation with others involved. These decisions should not be taken in an emotional fit, on an impulse, in anger or when our emotions are hijacked.


That leaves us with reversible decisions. We don’t have to keep postponing these kinds of decisions which can be reversed easily without too much of a cost. Taking up a course, learning a skill, joining a voluntary organization, becoming a member of a support group/club, joining a sports activity etc. These decisions can be taken quickly and the outcome can be judged by us. If we like the outcome we can continue on the path and if we don’t like the outcome, we can quickly reverse our journey and get out of the commitment without too much of a cost.


Life is about discovering the people we like, the activities we love, the work we enjoy. We cannot do that without discovering the opposite of that. There is no shame in reversing some of our decisions when we find the outcome makes us uncomfortable. So differentiating between reversible and irreversible decisions empowers us to overcome the decision paralysis and endless analysis of the consequences of our actions.

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