CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Do you make snap judgments? Or are you the type that takes forever to make a decision?
Although careful consideration is warranted in most situations, many of us take too long and end up with "analysis paralysis." And then there are those who shoot from the hip.
What happens when the two extremes find themselves in a close relationship? Consider the case of author Leigh Newman. She describes herself as a "gunslinger" when it comes to making decisions; she says she wants to get the decision-making process over as quickly as possible.
"The wrong choice is preferable to considering all the options and doing nothing at all," Newman says. "At least if I end up executing that wrong choice, I get to feel regret instead of panic."
Her husband is just the opposite. "He'll take five years to build a deck because he can't decide between a wooden or metal support structure," she says. "Meanwhile, the building permit expired after 90 days."
Most of us fall somewhere between these two extremes. And it's helpful to know there's one sentence to guide us toward getting into action without regret. But first, let's consider that the main culprit behind indecision is fear.
We all know what fear feels like. It doesn't feel like doubt or uncertainty, Newman explains. ("Hmmm ... I'm not sure which is the best option for me.") It feels like a ghost is rattling through your brain, knocking books off shelves, breaking vases and destroying all human logic in its path ("OhmygodIdon'tknowwhattodoOhmygodIdon'tknowwhattodo!")
So, here's something to try on for size. The next time you're faced with a decision and feel a shudder or tremble of fear, you're no longer allowed to decide. You can sit and whistle. Or stop to pet a dog. But no deciding.
You can struggle, deny the issue, whine, curse and bore everyone you know with the ins and outs of the dilemma. But only when you can re-approach that choice without that particular feeling, then -- and only then -- can you move forward to make the decision.
Using this approach may mean you'll miss some opportunities. But you'll also miss all the inevitable and unpredictable disasters that occur only when you're choosing because you're terrified of what might happen (or what hasn't happened yet or what could actually happen if you just went ahead and did the one thing you actually want to do).