Most of us spend a ton of time and energy stuck in limbo the stress and delays that come with it are pretty incredible.
One thing I pride myself on is my ability to make decisions very effortlessly. This is not to brag – sometimes that comes at a cost, and it took me a while to develop this kind of confidence in myself. But overall, I think it has served me very well as a leader and entrepreneur.
So how did I come to make this huge stress into something easy in my life? Well, you can guess that training is a big part of it. But several psychological changes have also been important.
In this article, I am going to talk about those mind shifts, how to practice, and how to make decisions. But first, I’ll talk about distractions.
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What keeps us trapped in uncertainty?
Uncertainty costs us dearly – we spend a lot of time stuck in uncertainty, going back and forth, questioning our decisions, asking others for their opinions, avoiding thinking about the decision, etc. Stress costs us a lot. It delays projects. It makes us feel guilty because we put things off.
It is usually more costly to not decide than to take decisive action and sometimes to be wrong.
“There is more to lose from uncertainty than from a wrong decision. Uncertainty steals opportunity. It will blind you. ” – Cicero
So what keeps us trapped in uncertainty? Usually, fear.
We are afraid of making the “wrong” decision, we worry that it will make us look bad, that we will be judged, and that we will not be given the validation we seek from others. We are stuck in fear, so we put off dealing with fear rather than letting it go.
What does the art of effortless decision-making look like?
Imagine that we can make decisions and act without fear. I’m not saying we can be completely free of fear, but I ask you to imagine what it would be like to make decisions without fear.
Without the fear of doing the wrong thing and being judged…you’ll simply make decisions based on the best information you have and your gut. You will choose from the heart rather than overthinking. You may make mistakes, but you will learn from them and make changes.
This way it is very simple – simply choose from the heart. trust. take action Clean up any messes that are created if things aren’t working as you hoped.
Fear comes, of course. You simply deal with fear, with breath and love. It doesn’t have to be a blocker.
Sometimes a decision is a big one, and the consequences can be very expensive. In such cases, you can pay more attention to it, sit a little with uncertainty, research, ask other people’s opinions, then breathe … and choose from the heart. And be careful with the result. This is where confidence comes in – you learn to believe that you can handle whatever comes your way.
The mindset changes
You will see in what I have just shared that there are several mental approaches that are helpful. The three transitions I recommend include:
- Overthinking vs. Choose from the heart. When we get caught up in thinking, it’s because we think thinking can solve that uncertainty. Thinking can be helpful, and when fear takes hold it rarely gets rid of uncertainty. A different approach is to choose from the heart – ask yourself what your heart wants in this situation. For example: Do I want to write a blog post or work – there is no right answer! I can’t think long enough to come up with an answer. Choosing from the heart means believing that you really want what you want.
- Confidence vs. Wasting Brain Cycles. I’ve seen people spend a lot of brain cycles thinking about things, then decide… only to worry that their decision isn’t right. They make a decision, then think about it some more. What if we could trust only ourselves and be free from so many thoughts, worries, and second thoughts?
- Learning vs. getting it “right”.Most of the time we get stuck in uncertainty because we want to make the right decision, but it’s not very useful, because you don’t know what the right decision is. Of course, there may be no right decision. What if instead,, we could see it as a learning process where we try things out and see how it goes? Learn from the process. This learning approach frees us from getting it right and allows it to be a more powerful process.
You can see from these shifts in mindset that decision-making becomes more relaxed, less rigid, and more confident. Effortlessly, almost.
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How to practice
So how do we practice these shifts and this effortless approach?
I don’t recommend starting with very tough decisions like whether or not to quit your current job. Practice with easy everyday things to start with until you develop more and more confidence in yourself.
So things like: What should I work on next? How should I reply to this person’s email? Do I want a veggie burger or a lentil salad? Do I want to say yes to this invitation or not? Do I want to take charge of the clutter in my garage?
With each of these decisions, see if you catch yourself overthinking, and see if you can practice choosing from the heart. If you start to doubt your choice, see if you can get used to trusting your choice. Notice if you’re worrying about whether you made the right decision, and see if you can get into the habit of seeing it as a learning process instead. Ask yourself if you could make these decisions more effortlessly. See what you can discover through this type of training.