One of the great advantages of living in this day and age is the array of choices that we have on offer.

One of the great disadvantages of living in this day and age is the array of choices that we have on offer.

What’s the difference?

Some people have learned how to set goals and prioritise, enabling them to take action on the choices on offer that will get them closer to their aims.  

Others seem to get lost in the wide array of options in front of them.  You know the people, they’re blocking the aisle at the supermarket, standing in front of the 200 kinds of breakfast cereal, genuinely conflicted and unable to choose.

Seth Godin calls this the paralysis of unlimited opportunity.

What can we do to become more decisive?

Remember that making a wrong choice is better than making no choice.  Sometimes you just have to choose something.  People can get stuck in paralysis by analysis, over-thinking every decision until life comes to a screeching halt.  Life rewards action, so make a choice and if it doesn’t work, make another one.  If you stand in the one spot looking at the supermarket shelf for too long, life will just pass you by.

Do whatever is hardest.  One of the reasons that we can get stuck making a choice is that we know what we should do, but are looking for a reason to do something else.  Most actions can be defined as goal achieving or tension relieving.  Whilst there’s a time and place to take it easy, when you have an inner conflict, the best long-term decision would be to choose the action that takes you closer to a meaningful goal.

Should I go to the gym or watch TV all night?

Should I eat a home-cooked, healthy meal or drive through at McDonald’s?

Should I go to work today or call in sick?

Should I do my homework or spend time on Facebook?

We all know what the correct answer is, but so often we take the easy option.  Make the tough decision, do the hard thing and watch the benefits flow.

Know your values.  This is a crucial element of decision-making as it can guide us towards decisions that we will feel better about in the long-term.  Knowing what is genuinely important to you will also stop you from being swayed by the expectations of the people around you or society in general.

If you truly value your family life, then make career decisions that are aligned with that value.  If you value your health, then make decisions that will maintain your health in the long-term.  If you value your faith, then make decisions that will help you grow in spiritual maturity.

Life’s too short, make a choice and run with it.  As Seth says, “But no matter what, don’t do nothing.”

What strategies have you used that have been helpful?

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