Pursuit of Happiness

Trust yourself

Thinking too much about a decision may complicate matters

"The time for inaction is over,” a patient once told me toward the end of one of his therapy sessions, and then added, “I will make my decision tomorrow.” I knew he would say the same thing next week and, of course, he knew it too. Talking about action was enough to ease the anxiety of inaction, and so he continued to hold back from making this important decision that could change his life.

Most of us, during the course of a lifetime, will have to take many life-changing decisions. Of course, it can always be argued that all decisions are life-changing, especially the ones we don’t make consciously — if you hadn’t been late by five minutes for that train, you would not have met the person who became your life partner, and so on.

But there are times in our lives when we know that the decision we have to take will have far-reaching consequences. Should I get married? To this person or to that? Should I move to a new place or stay here? Should I take this job or that? And so on.

If you have a difficult time with such decisions, if you are stuck, then it is probably because you are thinking way too much.

Decisions that force you to choose between ambiguous outcomes are difficult to make. Your rational, theoretical brain will not be able to find a solution and will often spin in a close-ended loop. And the more you struggle with the decision, thinking about it and weighing your options, the more the ‘correct’ decision eludes you.

That is because your decision will not feel like the ‘right’ one unless it resonates with the emotional centre of your brain. When you make the ‘right’ decision, you will not question it; you will instinctively know it.

The right decision is often made in an instant and so, in order to make the right decision, you have to learn to trust yourself. Trust your instincts, your emotions, your gut, and you will have made the right decision. It’s really as simple as that.