10. How do I become more decisive?

  1. Instead of trying to determine the decision with the best results, view life more as an experiment, where the results are unknown and you just have to go for it.
  2. You will choose food that doesn’t taste good and activities that aren’t worth the time and money. You will waste time and effort and energy in choosing something that is not optimal. This will happen no matter how much you try to make the right decision, because you simple don’t have all the options available to you right away.
  3. View decisions as an ability to learn: choose a good option, and then learn if it’s right or wrong for you while you are doing it.
  4. Be patient. Large decisions can take time, and that’s okay. Don’t force yourself to make important decisions you aren’t ready for.
  5. Stop trying to maximize the value you get for your money, and instead just call something good enough.
  6. Set limits, like only looking at the first page of search results when shopping online or only looking in a single store. Purposefully narrow your options so that the decision becomes easier.
  7. Let someone else make unimportant decisions, or decide by default.
  8. Make decisions ahead of time instead of making them in the moment.
  9. Have a fallback that you go to when you can’t decide.
  10. Pretend you are making a decision for someone else.

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

Challenge the voices you hear

I read a few articles lately about people leaving their 9-to-5 jobs in order to live the life of their dreams. And it sounds like a good story. It makes me question for a minute: would I be happy if we were financially independent and self-employed in some creative task?

I think the answer is no. I enjoy having my husband’s predictable income, sending him to work five days a week, and having the safety of good benefits.

Some people like to take risks, but I don’t enjoy it much. I’m not afraid of it and I’m not limiting myself through my fear; I just prefer stability. It’s like when I go to a theme park and I feel pressured to ride the intense ride. Sometimes I do. And it’s okay, but I don’t enjoy it enough to actually pay money to go get motion sick.

I always wanted to be a writer, but in my adult life, I realized that I despise promoting myself. Which means that I would also hate being a successful writer.

I get caught up in what other people think is successful. It might be nice to go to nice schools and get high-paying jobs. It might be nice to travel all over the world. It might be nice to get a homestead and work from home. But just because someone else loves their life doesn’t mean I would love their life.

I have to be careful: I asked myself the other day if I wanted to pursue graduate school because I actually wanted to be in that environment or because I felt it would be prestigious. Did I want to tell other people I had a specific degree, or did I really want to actually get that degree?

I really enjoyed working as a legal secretary, even though it was a low-paying job that didn’t require many qualifications. I have to look at myself and what I want to do instead of just copying someone else’s success.

Being true to yourself sometimes that means abandoning dreams. Sometimes that means being completely normal and boring and eating vanilla ice cream because you like vanilla.

There are things that I know about myself: Money does not motivate me. I never want to be famous. I don’t enjoy taking huge risks. I like working on computers. I like spreadsheets and math and paperwork. I like being told what to do. I like teaching and I like creating as well.

Ultimately, I want to live in a way that helps other people in small and simple ways.

If that means my life is boring, then I’ll live a boring life.

It’s okay to make a decision even if you are uncertain

Recently, I’ve been making some decisions about my life. If you know me well, you know I am not the most decisive person in the world. I feel a lot of uncertainty sometimes, and it’s difficult for me to make a decision.

Part of this is that I see pros and cons without being able to measure them very well, and I focus on the fact that even good decisions aren’t perfect. I can’t see the future, so I’m not exactly sure if I will really enjoy something or not. I don’t know if it will be worth it. But I have to make that decision anyway.

I want to be 100% certain of something before I decide to do it. But I’m rarely very certain of anything.

So instead of just going for it, I languish in the land of uncertainty.

The other day, as I was rethinking a decision yet again, I realized that I could still make the decision and be uncertain about it. I didn’t have to make a complex calculation of what was best and if it would be worth my time and money. I could just go for it and see.

I think that’s what decisive people are good at: they aren’t certain all the time, but they are willing to make decisions and go forward even with the uncertainty. If it feels and sounds mostly right, that’s enough.

I want to know exactly how things will turn out before they happen. I’m afraid of making mistakes. But we will make mistakes, and it’s okay. We just do the best with what we have and go forward without fear.