My 93-year-old father believes strongly that indecision and uncertainty are the cause of more unhappiness than almost any other states of being. The older I get, the more I think he’s right.

Making choices has been a hot topic in the online business world lately. Jane Pollak recently blogged about feeling overwhelmed with too many choices and the importance of using your values and priorities to help you decide what to do in certain situations. In her case, she decided to put some very important things aside for awhile to do something even more important…spend time with her new granddaughter. “I don’t do well at buffets,” she opined. “Talk about leaving money on the table! Too many temptations, not enough appetite.”

Just this morning, in a video for budding entrepreneurs who have trouble deciding on their business niche when they have many areas of expertise or interests, Marie Forleo addressed the angst of indecision in business and talked about how crippling it can be. “Clarity calls for engagement, not thought,” she said wisely. (This is reminiscent of Laura Roeder‘s advice to me awhile back: “Don’t overthink this, Elizabeth!”) Business owners who try to be everything to everyone often miss the mark completely.

In my own life, I find myself being stretched too thin, simply because I have so many interests, so much ability to tackle problems I see all around me, so much desire to make a difference and share what I know, that often I’m almost paralyzed, simply because I haven’t focused. I spend more time running in place than moving towards meaningful goals. I am trying to remind myself (apparently I’m a slow learner) that just because I CAN doesn’t mean I SHOULD.

Suzy Welch, in her book 10-10-10, dealt with this issue in a very simple and constructive way. She advises that whenever you’re faced with a hard decision, think about the impact of each option in the context of the next ten minutes, the next ten months, and the next ten years. If one of your choices can be more positive than another in most or all of those timeframes, then it becomes clearly the better choice. It is an especially wonderful way to distinguish the “urgent” from the “important.” You can read my review of this book elswhere in this blog.

Face indecision head-on whenever you can. Even dealing with the fall-out from a bad decision can be opportunity for learning and growth. Learning to tap into what’s truly important to you for more effective decision-making is an important part of learning to connect with yourself, your values and your priorities. When these are in synch, you’ll be much happier.

Have any thought processes or tips been especially helpful to you when you’ve been faced with too many choices…or difficult choices? Have you found a way to give yourself a kick in the pants to get yourself out of a state of indecision? Please share in the comment section below.

Photo Credit: Kamil Macniak via iStockPhoto

 

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