Which ... drum roll ... leads to the million-dollar sentence. This sentence, Newman says, is not for use in life-and-death situations. If you're hanging off the edge of a hot-air balloon and you're not sure whether you should try to swing your leg up and plop yourself back into the basket or keep hanging on in hopes you'll be rescued, do not use this sentence. This sentence applies only to nonfatal situations and those with reversible consequences.
Here it is:
"Most decisions can be undone."
While this phrase sounds simple, don't underestimate its power. If you're deciding between two schools for your child, you can always realize, "Hey, if I pick the wrong school, I can always switch to the other school." This puts you in a more neutral posture, so you're not likely to be as hysterical about the process.
The truth is, you'll never know if a decision is a good or bad one until you actually commit to a choice. There's that fear of commitment! In many ways, though, the idea of making a decision is an illusion. It means you feel as if you've done something when, in fact, the real action, and answer, is in the deciding.
Sometimes undoing the choice may be painful. After two short weeks of living in Florida, for example, you may move back home and have to buy your old house back at a horrible loss or rent a creepy apartment. It may be really hard, and it may cost you. Or it may just be slightly embarrassing.
On another note, it may be that after you cut off your hair, choose your new man or woman or move across the country, you could just feel at peace for the first time in your life. You won't know until you commit all the way, and that's what decisions are for -- to usher us into the possibilities of life, and to allow us to move into the disorientation of the change at a slightly different pace, with less fear and a bit more perspective.
The choice of approaching each decision as it comes up, thankfully, is yours. Not to decide is to decide. When you move past this dilemma, the action steps fall into place.
You wouldn't want to develop the crutch of keeping that back door of options open on a continual basis because that just fosters noncommitment. However, you can still take comfort in that one sentence to get you past the fear and into action.
Most decisions can be undone.
Linda Arnold, M.A., MBA, is a certified wellness instructor, counselor and chairwoman/CEO of The Arnold Agency, a marketing communications firm with offices in West Virginia, Montana and Washington, D.C. Reader comments are welcome and may be directed to Linda Arnold, The Arnold Agency, 117 Summers St., Charleston, WV 25301, or emailed to livelifefu...@arnoldagency.com.