Just do it. Wait, don't do it. Well, maybe do it. Why does this have to be so complicated?
We all go through the push and pull of decision-making. We make some choices instantly, and it doesn't phase us, but others knock us on our backside and leave us gasping for air. So what is the right choice? Why ask me? I don't know. All I can do is give you some advice on how to approach decision-making.
So here are a few mindsets that may help when making choices.
Learn From Mistakes
We all make mistakes, even if we try hard not to. Why not learn from them?
If you are anything like me, when we make mistakes, sometimes our mindsets can be:
I failed again;
I can't do anything right;
I am a failure;
I can't do that again;
I don't even want to try again;
I won't ever succeed.
Thoughts along these lines run through my head very quickly. But when I remember that, I can dictate my belief that I choose to turn a negative into a positive. First, allowing the initial thoughts to come, then identify them, decide whether you will accept or reject them, and choose which view will move forward. It looks a lot like this…
I failed again → What can I learn from this? What can I do better next time?
I can't do anything right → That approach wasn't right; which direction is next?
I am a failure → Failing means I have a chance to learn something new.
I can't do that again → I will try again later when I feel ready.
I don't even want to try again → I don't want to try again right now.
I won't ever succeed → I will succeed. I have to reevaluate my steps.
The most helpful advice I can give you is to let those initial thoughts come and acknowledge them for what they are, just initial thoughts or ideas. Yes, we all make mistakes. But it is the way we look at them that truly defines who we are and who we will become in the future.
Delay Immediate Gratification
Immediate gratification is getting a reward for something instantly.
An example would be, freezer meal instead of cooking. Now I understand some of us prefer the freezer meal over our cooking, but for this example, let's pretend we don't. If we want a meal, and we want it immediately, we pop that freezer meal into the microwave and presto; food. But in this example, it doesn't taste as good as a homemade meal. Delaying gratification in this example (called delayed gratification) would look like making a homemade meal. We then experience way more flavors, tickles our taste buds, and gives us a better dining experience.
In this day and age, immediate gratification for so many things is readily available. Social media gives us a sense of connectedness with others, but does it promote deeply connected relationships? Many of us max our cards on things to have them readily available, but does that promote financial peace? We even have apps that allow us to have romantic interactions with others, but does this promote relational connectedness?
I do not know the answers to these questions because everyone decides what is right for them. That is not for me to judge or try and dictate. My only thought is, depending on what you are looking for, immediate gratification can seem rather hollow.
Delaying gratification, at least, deserves a thought. A thought like, "If I wait or decide to do this instead, how will that make me feel? What will that do for me and my self-image/esteem/acceptance?". Don't write off waiting. It may be a more challenging choice, but that choice may have a greater reward and be more fulfilling.
Take Time To Choose
In many situations, giving ourselves time to choose (even if we have to ask others to wait) is a healthy boundary. By not taking time, we are more likely to,
● Make decisions that we may regret;
● Choose something that doesn't align with our core values or beliefs;
● Decide to please others, thus wearing ourselves out;
● Make ourselves uncomfortable;
● Put ourselves in a situation where we are more likely to fail.
Asking someone or ourselves to wait is a skill worth learning. And asking to "take time" is not saying "no." Asking to take time gives us,
● A chance to check in with our core values and desired outcomes;
● The opportunity to evaluate our feelings on the subject;
● Boundaries from the pressure of others;
● A chance to be confident in our decision.
Commit To Being a Life-Long Learner
Learning is hard. But we will always learn or re-learn. Even when we don't consciously register something, we still learn. So instead of beating ourselves up when we struggle through an obstacle, identifying ourselves as life-long learners will help set us up for greater rewards.
When we view our mistakes or negative outcomes as opportunities to learn we allow ourselves This mindset has helped me check my self-judgment, boost my self-esteem, and ground me when facing obstacles.
I truly believe turning negatives into positives, and taking viewing our losses as lessons gives us the opportunity to progress and mature. Life is full of choices. Nobody can choose how you feel or what you should feel. No one else gets to dictate what choice you should make or what is best for you. You get to choose!