Sunday, January 6, 2008

That Was Easy!

Have you ever met a "Decider"? A Decider is a person that makes choices so quickly and effortlessly you wonder how they do it.

I had a friend, Brian, who would walk into a car dealership and commit to buying a new vehicle within minutes. To him, it was not a spur of the moment or impulsive thing. He simply had the ability to surmise his options and make the right choice for himself very quickly with serenity and calm conviction.

He lived his entire life that way, making both big and small decisions as if he was deciding what to have for lunch. Brian was always intelligent, thoughtful and had tons of common sense. He was a wonderful source of advice on practically any issue. I am still amazed by his "gift".

Conversely, one of the common themes of many ACAers is difficulty in making decisions. This makes a complicated task requiring consistent focus and multiple steps quite daunting. No wonder we "Have difficulty in following a project through from beginning to end."

My friend Brian's behavior inspired me to make my own decision making more efficient. First, I had to examine the process I had been using to make decisions. I found that I have allowed fear and negative emotions to cloud my ability.

"Judge themselves without mercy."

I know in my own life it is the fear of making a mistake that paralyzes me and freezes my ability to act. If I can't be sure it is the perfect decision, I am often not willing to make it. Have I considered all the options and ramifications? What if I regret my choice?

In reality, the "perfect" choice rarely presents itself. And the obsession with being perfect and wanting desperately not to ruffle other's feathers often makes choosing a painstaking task. I know if I fall short I am subject to "Judging myself without mercy."

Sometimes to avoid taking the risk of making a choice- I procrastinate. I tell myself I'll decide later after I gather more info. Then I promptly forget about the issue until it is "crunch" time or until it is too late. While waiting for some divine signal to guide me, opportunities have passed and deadlines have expired. Often with accompanying penalties. Then I am worse off than if I had just made an arbitrary choice and gone with it.

I am now much more aware of this game I play. When I catch myself doing it, I try to "reparent myself with gentleness, humor, love and respect". I remind myself that there are no perfect decisions. I come to grips with the fact that sometimes NOT making a decision is the worst decision of all.

"Lock themselves into a course of action without giving serious consideration to alternate behaviors or possible consequences. "

I've heard it said that successful people make important decisions quickly and easily. When I first heard it, this axiom was a real challenge to my way of thinking- I have actually waxed and waned tediously over what kind of toothpaste to buy. But after a while it made more sense to me.

Once a decision is made, action is initiated and the task at hand is that much closer to being accomplished. And one's mind is then free to respond to what's happening in the here and now. Fearful procrastinating only enables avoiding living in the present. Sometimes making ANY decision is better than none. And I have the power to make decisions work for me.

My logic tells me that most decisions are not that critical and that I can create a positive outcome out of nearly any path I choose. When I catch myself agonizing over some small thing, I remind myself that, in reality, it hardly matters. The worst outcome could not possibly match the level of anxiety I am attaching to it. When I realize this, it frees me to actually have fun with decision making and take a risk. I know I can make the best out of it no matter what.

I give myself the freedom to be wrong, make mistakes and even learn from them. If I mess up, so what? I made that decision promptly with the information I had at the time. And saved myself the grief of prolonged struggling over it.

Staying in practice helps on bigger issues. If I need to, I do a "gut check". This usually involves being still, having silence and relaxation. By not letting fear overwhelm the part of me that already knows the answer, I free myself to make a fitting choice.

I may not surpass Brian's ability to instantly see things with crystal clarity but I have seen positive results after committing to improve my own decision making capacities.

Thanks for listening,


Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

1 comment:

Ris said...

Reading your post was like reading something I had written. I can completely identify with your struggles to make decisions. When I was young, I never seemed to have any trouble making decisions. As I got older, however, and one of my parents developed an addiction problem, my whole life changed. Now, I am always so afraid of making the wrong decision that I, too, often procrastinate until a decision is automatically made for me (which usually means I've missed out on everything). So many people have no idea what kind of stress and turmoil this can cause. It is comforting to see that someone has the same difficulty as myself and is making progress to make their life better. Good luck and thank you for posting this!