Why do we have a hard time deciding something?
You have moments when you NEED to know what to do, and quickly analyze the situation and can confidently say: I’m gonna do this!
Like when you drive: you see a person crossing the street, you brake! If you don’t brake, you could injure or kill someone. You don’t overthink, like “what if I just take the foot off the gas and he might have enough time to cross?” or “what if he goes back?” or “what if he falls and I don’t brake and run him over” or “what if this person stops and actually wants me to run him over?” 🙂 Kidding, don’t ever think that! But if you would overthink, you’d never end up braking on time, right? Your body instinctively knows the right option before any overthinking, so… why do we overthink in other situations?
… you have moments when you know you have to take a decision and yet you keep going back and forth between options and can’t seem to pick the right one.
It’s easy: your brain blocks you from it. A quick analysis is usually all it takes and you know already what is right. If you overthink, your brain starts to pull back entering into self-protection mode and the more you think the more you will NOT be able to decide anything.
What can you do to know you took the right decision?
Well, first of all: what feels right? That’s mostly the right thing.
Second of all: what was your first choice? Your first choice is usually the best thing because under quick evaluation your brain and heart eliminate irrelevant motives from the scene and hence take an objective evaluation and make the choice as is: the best objective choice for you at that point. Usually the choice that “feels” right comes second. And if such an option appears, then this is the right one with the conditioning that this second option showed up right after the first one, and didn’t take you ages to think of it. If it took you ages, then it is not the right one simply because it got subjective and nuanced. The more time it took to get to it the more it means you altered the actual facts into something you might accept better, but that doesn’t make it a better decision. Mostly, not at all.
Overthinking will add a lot of factors to the initial solution and will also bring you further from the truth by adding subjectivity and nuances. You know what you have to do in your subconscious, you already took the decision inside your mind, but overthinking and prolonging it will simply take you further away from the reality and from solving the problem, only complicating it more and, possibly, complicating your life more until you finally come to the same conclusion like you did initially. Only difference is time. And here again: how much time will you want to lose for taking a decision? Do you actually have that much free time in your life to allow days or weeks go by without taking a decision? Wouldn’t you better allocate that time to doing something you love? This causes stress and you know what stress does to you: it shuts down your whole immune system and puts you in fight or flight mode, which actually blocks your healthy thinking and your judgment capacity as well as your creativity. So one single decision can alter your life for a long time for absolutely no good reason, and on top of it all, since you are in the fight or flight mode, you won’t actually have all your capacity to find a better solution to it anyway.
So yeah, take that damn decision already! 🙂 It’s for your own good, from all points of view. Your first choice was probably the best choice. Unless choice #2 felt better. But if you have to go to choice #3, #4, … #99, don’t! Go to choice #2 or #3 if this comes up as quick as #2 and stop there. Trust me, you’ll feel much better after that and you would end up with that same choice anyway after all the weeks spent thinking. Don’t believe me? Think of similar situations you found yourself in, how long did you spend in deciding? At the end of that, did you come up with a different solution than one of the initial first couple solutions?
So the answer to: how to make the right decision is simple. Don’t overthink, just do it. You’ll know what it is from the start, you already made that decision you’re just blocking yourself from acknowledging and accepting it.