I know I am repeating myself with this post, but I was Skyping a friend and we were discussing decisions, and I remembered this post and recommended it to her. I immediately realized I could benefit from its wisdom, too. I know it’s quite bold of me to recommend and to suggest that my posts are full of wisdom, but bottom-line is, I truly think they are! :-) (I’m sorry but it’s true, and don’t forget I’m often sharing the ideas of wise folks, other than me, so that sort-of works in my defense . . .)
I’ve used the method detailed below, many times, and know first-hand it works. I’m happy I mentioned it to my friend today, because in the next few months I will be facing tons of decisions, and rereading the post was great for me, too.
I would like to start by saying, please don’t let decisions make you crazy. Rather than worrying about deciding, take some quiet time to tell yourself you can do it, and remind yourself it is not the end of the world. Many of us, myself included, have a way of over-dramatizing the impact of the decisions we make – seldom are they as life or death as we make them seem.
Take a deep breath, and remind yourself that sooner or later the dilemma you are facing will be over and done. Picture yourself looking back, and without being specific about the course you took, simply imagine yourself comfortable with the outcome; the decision has been made, and you are smiling about how much time you spent worrying for nothing. Now, feel that for a bit.
You can use a past decision as a starting point. Remember when you thought _____________ (fill in the blank) was a huge decision? (Finding/picking a girlfriend/boyfriend, car, job, school, college, major, house, school for our kids, wedding invitations and venue, etc.) In the end, did it matter as much as you thought it would? It may have turned out differently than you expected, but probably did not impact your life all that much one way or the other. (I’m not saying our choices don’t impact our life – they do – but ones we agonize over seldom have the impact we predict.)
So relax, take a deep breath and read or reread: “Instead of either or”
Do you have a hard time making decisions? When faced with two equally positive or negative options have you ever felt stuck?
Most of us at sometime in our lives have been paralyzed by the thought of having to choose between door one and door two. Here’s an idea that might help:
Instead of either/or, add one more
Huh? I know it sounds odd, and is counterintuitive, but it works . . .
Instead of either/or, add one more!
The idea is not mine, but making it a cute little rhyme is. (And, as silly as the rhyme sounds, it’s more memorable, and I think it’s a line worth remembering.)
Instead of either/or, add one more.
Picture this, you’ve inherited a huge sum of money, never have to work again, and have been house hunting for months. You finally found two homes you love, and although they are very different each offers you a lifestyle you have always wanted. You can’t decide whether to go with the brownstone in Manhattan or the cattle ranch in Colorado and rich as you are, you can’t afford both.
Or, you have two great job options, life coach in Florida or actress in Hollywood – naw, that one is way too easy, I’d choose being a life coach, anywhere! But, I digress.
I was recently reading brothers Chip and Dan Heath’s book “Made to Stick”, and their comments about the paradoxes of how we decide things, led me to come up with my little ditty:
Instead of either/or, add one more.
The decision-making research they cited reveals the value of adding one more choice to an either/or mix. Adding “one more”, helps us prioritize, which makes it easier for us to recognize what we truly prefer. We tend to think that by making things black or white, or narrowing down our choices to just two – this or that, we are making things easier on ourselves, but the opposite may be true. It appears that is easier for us to choose, when we look at and compare three options rather than two.
EX: Brownstone in Manhattan, cattle ranch in Colorado, and beach house in Florida. Did the picture get any clearer for you, it did for me.
Comparing three options rather than two, changes the way we think, and may lead us to faster and maybe less regrettable decisions. (It’s easy to spend our lives regretting either/or decisions; I think comparing three options reduces the drama, which may in turn reduce lingering regrets.)
So what would you choose, brownstone, ranch, beach house? There are no wrong answers, pick what appeals most to you.
Try applying the rhyme this weekend if you are faced with any either/or dilemmas. It works well on the big or little stuff.
My most immediate dilemma is, do I want coffee or tea? Adding one more, a Mimosa sounds good, it’s Friday, and the weekends begin early on the Southwest Coast of Florida . . .
I chose the coffee, adding the Mimosa sounded wonderful, but within seconds of adding the option I realized that a perfect cup of coffee was what I really wanted.
PS I also recommend, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”. It’s a great book.