10 Easy Tricks To Overcome Indecision And Move Forward With Your Life
Over the weekend a dear friend of mine confined in my about how she currently questions everything in her life, making...
Over the weekend a dear friend of mine confined in my about how she currently questions everything in her life, making her indecisive about what actions to take to move forward. What ensued was an openhearted discussion about fear, self-confidence, and breaking free from attractive cages. This post aims to further the conversation I had with my friend, and to offer her – and you – some practical ideas on how to overcome indecision to move forward with your life.
But what is indecision, really?
At it’s core indecision is the inability to make a decision quickly. Often, as is the case with my friend, indecision shows itself as a constant, and recurring questioning of options, without ever (or at least it seems that way) being able to come up with a decision.
The thing about constantly questioning your options is that it all comes down to fear. Yes, I know, here’s the f-word again, but based on my own life, and the work I do with my clients, that’s what I’ve come to believe. When it comes to indecision, the most basic fear is that you’ll make a wrong decision. But that’s not it, really. The fundamental fear that lies behind you being afraid of making a wrong decision, is that you won’t be able to handle the result of what you’ve decided to go for.
From my experience, it’s this fear of losing control that keeps most people from making decisions in the first place.
So here’s clue #1: Indecision is a fear-based reflex, related to:
- Feelings if insecurity.
- Not knowing what you really want.
- Wanting to please others, thus taking them too much into account.
- Rationalizing what you intuitively know to be true.
In all the examples above, fear lies at the root of your indecision.
- What if I make a mistake?
- What if I choose the wrong thing?
- What if people don’t like what I choose?
- What if my intuition is wrong? (I particularly love this one, oh dear, your intuition is almost NEVER wrong!)
As we’ve seen above, the fear of losing control is what really drives us to not make any decisions at all. And the reason why we fear losing control is because we don’t trust ourselves enough to actually handle our lives, and whatever might come our way. So we prefer to stick to the status quo, to what we know, to the life we have rather than the one we know we want to be living. My advice is: don’t. Don’t settle for the attractive cage that you know, but rather go out and seize the life that is yours to live.
There is a pertinent question that can help you to overcome your questioning and tetanizing fear of losing control.
A question that can help open the door of the attractive cage you’ve been living in for so long: What would you choose, if I could promise you the outcome would be all that you dreamed it to be?
Other ways of asking this question include (but are not limited to):
What would you choose:
- If you knew you could not get hurt?
- If you knew you could do it?
- If you knew you could not disappoint anyone?
- If you knew it would end well?
- If you knew it would make you happy?
- If you knew it was the right decision? (yeah, I know, this one’s the kicker)
Well… my guess is, you would simply go out and do it, wouldn’t you?
Clearly, what’s keeping you from making a decision is not your incapability to make sound decisions, or know what’s best for you for that matter, but your lack of trust in yourself.
This brings us to clue #2: Indecision is related to your level of self-confidence.
Bottom line: you don’t trust yourself enough to pull it off (whatever off is), and so you do nothing (or think you do nothing, because staying put is a decision too, more about that below), and you:
- stick to the safe option you’re familiar with,
- or go with what you think people expect you to do,
- or simply do what you think you can handle.
But by doing this you avoid going after what you really want.
In my opinion indecision is a clever way to mask our fears. Basically we can do two things when faced with a decision: we can decide something, or we can pretend we’re not deciding, which – newsflash! – is a decision too, and a terrible one at that. Indecision is giving away the power you hold over your life, giving up on designing it, letting other people take charge of your happiness.
But what if I don’t know what I want, Murielle?
When I talk about indecision to my clients, I often get a “but I don’t know what I want” in return, claiming that that’s the reason why they’re not choosing, and not the fear of making a bad decision. When they tell me this, I simply have to call them out on it, by asking them the following question:
If you were the only person on the planet, would you know what you wanted?
And guess what? Every single one of my clients is crystal clear on what they want, when they’re the only ones inhabiting the planet!
Now the inquisitive mind must ask… but why is that?
It all comes down to the same thing: self-confidence. When my clients imagine they’re the only ones around, there is no fear of being judged, and so no issue with going for what they want. And the more they imagine themselves in action, the more confident they get.
Enter clue #3: Indecision will only be cured by taking action.
Just like the story of the chicken and the egg, who came first: the decision or indecision? We usually have it all backwards: we think the fear comes first, and when we’ll be sure about what to do next the fear will go away. But the reality is we have to act first, only then will we be able to overcome our indecision. I know it sounds and feels so counter-intuitive, but it simply is the truth.
So now that you know where all this questioning comes from…
10 Easy Tricks To Overcome Indecision And Move Forward With Your Life
- #1. Build up your self-confidence: as we’ve seen above, indecision and lack self-confidence go hand in hand. The more you trust yourself, and know that you can handle whatever comes next, the less indecisive you’ll be (and the less fears you’ll have for that matter!).
- #2. Trust your intuition: she usually knows best, and will lead you towards what is good for you. Try and follow your gut feeling whenever possible, instead of waiting for the right decision to show itself.
- #3. Don’t worry about making mistakes: you will never know for sure that a decision is the right one until you make it. By being OK with making mistakes, you’ll allow yourself the flexibility to not know everything for sure before taking action, which will eventually help you to move forward in life much faster!
- #4. Beware of attractive cages: it’s so easy to accept the status quo, especially when the situation you’re in feels safe, and familiar. But how attractive that cage might be, it’s still a cage. Don’t let fear make you settle for less than what you really want, instead use your fear as a signpost that there’s something for you out there.
- #5. Don’t think too much: this is related to trusting your intuition. The more you allow your rational mind to weigh your options, the less likely you’ll be to overcome your indecision.
- #6. Talk to people: indecision can often be nipped in the butt by gaining knowledge. Make sure you talk to people, and ask as many questions as you can about the options you’re weighing against each other. A word of caution here though: only ask advice from positive people that are knowledgeable about the subject matter! There is nothing to gain from asking your overprotective mom, or your doomsday prepping roommate.
- #7. Don’t wait for others to decide for you: very often indecision leads to giving away our power to someone else. We wait, and hope that situations will improve on their own. You have to realize that you’re always in control, and that nobody can choose for you. Keeping this in mind will ease your indecisiveness, because who wants to wait around for what will never come?
- #8. What’s the worst that could happen? I really love this question, and serve it to almost all of my clients when fear and indecision creeps in. It’s also my go-to mantra when I start to feel out of control, and lack the confidence to move ahead with a decision. Almost always, the worst possible outcome is far better than not deciding anything at all. Try it out for yourself, you’ll see.
- #9. Know that indecision is a decision too: a true a-ha moment right there. Yes, not doing anything, is actually doing something. Knowing this allows a lot of people to actually move on, and make a decision. Because indecision in and of itself is really the weakest position you can find yourself in, isn’t it?
- #10. So just do something: doing something beats doing nothing any time. As we’ve seen above, the only way to move past your fears is to take action. The same goes for your indecision. Very often, choosing something, even if it’s the wrong decision, will allow you to move forward and choose the right one down the line.
I hope these thoughts help you move past indecision. Just so you know, this post was first published as an email to subscribers of my bi-weekly Love Notes. If you enjoy reading my work and want to stay informed, you can sign up here.
Hi, I’m Murielle. I created the online course Soulful Productivity™, a 6-week program to redefine productivity and help you get from overwhelm to flow, and I have a private coaching practice where I help ambitious, multi-passionate creatives and entrepreneurs start, grow & scale businesses, and create their freedom lifestyle. PS: I love Instagram. Let’s connect!